Entering its third year, the Rural Business Awards will commence in June as the only UK-wide programme dedicated to showcasing the success of rural businesses.And, the Rural Business Awards has announced that Amazon will join the CLA as a supporter of this year’s awards, with entries now open through 30th June.The rural sector in the UK employs in excess of 3.4 million people in over 600,000 businesses.“We’re incredibly proud that the Rural Business Awards have reached such a great scale, three years from inception, and to have Amazon on board in addition to our long-standing partner, the CLA, is testament to this progress,” said Anna Price, Co-Founder, Rural Business Awards.The awards are organised by rural business for rural business, with winners in the 14 categories - ranging from Best Rural Start-up and Rural Innovation Of The Year; through to Rural Entrepreneur Of The Year and Champions Of Champions - decided by an independent panel of judges drawn from the rural business sector, rural public sector agencies, and rural charitable organisations.'Help shine a spotlight'“We’re delighted to be backing the Rural Business Awards to help shine a spotlight on the best of rural businesses – small and large alike,” said Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon.“I live in a small Yorkshire village and see every day how the internet is unlocking the potential of rural businesses through services like our own Amazon Marketplace, which helps rural companies reach customers across the UK and around the world.“We know how important rural businesses are to the UK, which is why we’re proud to partner with the Rural Business Awards and celebrate their success stories.”Over a hundred rural businesses entered the awards last year, and 2017 is set to be a record for entries.Award organisers will launch a Rural Business Awards Roadshow, touring rural parts of the UK with previous winners, on the hunt for the best and brightest rural business talent to encourage them to shout about their success.'Beating heart'Helen Woolley, Director General, CLA said: “The CLA partners with the Rural Business Awards because we believe that rural businesses are the beating heart of our countryside and make a vital contribution to the overall economy.“The Awards are an important showcase for our most innovative and creative rural enterprises, boosting their profile and recognising their success and hard work.”At the 2016 Rural Business Awards, the overall ‘Champion of Champions’ was Landmark Computer Systems Ltd, from Sussex, which offers tailored software helping agricultural clients manage their business effectively.In a message to rural businesses thinking about submitting for an award, 2016 Champion of Champions winner Nigel Parsons, Founder-Director from Landmark said: “The RBAs are a tremendous way of engaging the whole company in a common goal.“The amount of work involved to apply is well worth the experience of being able to benchmark your product or service, acknowledge and reward your staff, and to involve your customers with the application process. We at Landmark wish all entrants the best of luck for the 2017 awards.”The Rural Business Awards night will take place on 5th October 2017 at Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey. Rural businesses can submit their award entries until 30th June in up to 14 categories here.