The Birmingham Post have confirmed the hosts for 2014.
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls will deliver the keynote speech at this year’s Birmingham Post Business Awards.
Mr Balls will address the region’s premier festival of business on November 26.
The Labour minister will speak to 800 decision-makers and businesspeople at the ICC event – just days before the Government delivers the final Autumn Statement before the General Election.
Mr Balls said he was delighted to play a part in the awards, which have already attracted dozens of applications from successful businesses in the region.
He said: “Birmingham is home to many of our country’s best and most exciting businesses.
“I am looking forward to hearing about the city’s top businesses and about the businesspeople driving the region forward.
“I want to congratulate the Birmingham Post for this great event showcasing the city’s business talents.”
This year’s event will be themed around “Birmingham bouncing back” in light of a major 12 months of growth which have seen more people in work and the local economy in growth.
The likes of Jaguar Land Rover, JLL, Wesleyan and Turkish Airlines are already lined up as sponsors for the event, which is always the highlight of the city’s business calendar.
The different categories include small business, manufacturing, environmental, legal, finance, communications, outstanding professional, property, technology & digital, retail, company of the year and the lifetime achievement award.
Being shortlisted is a great way to raise your company’s profile as its achievements will be highlighted in front of hundreds of the city’s movers and shakers on the night of the awards.
Graeme Brown, regional head of business at Post publisher BPM Media, said Mr Balls would be a big draw for firms.
He said: “Ed Balls is the ideal person to speak at this year’s event. With a matter of days before the autumn statement and months until a General Election, the future for the country’s economy will be on the top of the agenda.”
Stand-up comedian Lee Hurst has promised to add a touch of irreverence to proceedings after being unveiled as the presenter of this year’s Birmingham Post Business Awards.
The comedian, best known as a former team member on the BBC comedy quiz They Think It’s All Over, is a popular awards host – and said the secret to his success was doing no preparation at all.
He said improvising is key to his act and pledged to “make sure everyone has a good time”.
The announcement comes a week after Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls was unveiled as the keynote speaker at the awards.
This event promises to be the biggest and best yet with up to 800 businesspeople and decision-makers expected at the ICC on November 26.
Mr Hurst said: “I am very irreverent. I don’t respect any awards I do, which sounds odd, but I see it as my job to make sure everyone has a good time.
“That is what I have been brought in for. If you are looking for someone to just stand there and stick to the script then a television presenter is the right person – they are used to reading from an autocue all day.”
Mr Hurst was a regular face on television in the 1990s before focusing on stand-up and running comedy clubs.
He said he will try to stay as far away from a script as possible.
“My approach is don’t do anything, just turn up,” he said.
“I don’t like to have too much information because I find you don’t improvise.
“I don’t rehearse – I just turn up and do the basic logistical stuff but I find the less I know the better.”
Post editor Stacey Barnfield said: “Lee Hurst is one of the most sought-after presenters on the circuit. Not only is he a great laugh, he is very experienced with events like this and will bring a real light-hearted, irreverent, atmosphere to this year’s business awards.”