THE finest entrepreneurs based in Scotland are being sought for recognition by a long-running and prestigious awards scheme.

The Entrepreneurial Exchange, in association with Deloitte and media partner The Herald, is looking for the very best of Scotland's entrepreneurial talent as its annual awards open for nominations.

With just two titles — Entrepreneur of the Year and Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year — the prizes are always keenly contested and recognise the innovation and drive of growth-orientated entrepreneurs.

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Winners since the first ceremony in 1995 include Sir Tom Hunter, Ann Budge, David Milne, Simon Howie, Martin Lightbody, Colin Robertson and Bob Keiller.

Petroleum Experts founder Hamid Guedroudj was named Entrepreneur of the Year for 2013. Mr Guedroudj founded the Edinburgh company in 1990 and developed it from a start-up into a business with an international client base providing oil producers with the systems needed to allow them to manage processes at every stage of the production cycle.

Current holder of the emerging entrepreneur title is Nigel Chadwick, founding director of machine to machine communications specialist Stream Communications.

Mike McGregor, partner and head of entrepreneurial business for Deloitte in ­Scotland and a member of the judging panel for the awards, said: "Scotland is a hive of successful, ambitious business owners, and I believe as a country we need to get better at shouting about our entrepreneurial achievements."

John Anderson, chief executive of The Entrepreneurial Exchange, added: "Every year we get a ­fantastic response from some wonderful contenders and I'm sure this year will be no different.

"Candidates in the past have been successful and resourceful business ­builders whose personal drive and determination have helped them reach commercial success.

"Recognition from peers continues to provide motivation to keep growing for many entrepreneurs in Scotland, particularly during the economic recovery period."

The entry form can be downloaded from The Entrepreneurial Exchange website (www.entrepreneurial-exchange.co.uk) and must be completed and returned by 12 noon on Friday, August 22.

The winner will be announced from a final shortlist of three finalists in each category at the event on November 27 at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow.