LONDON, December 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The UK's best businesses were honoured at an exclusive event last night at London Stock Exchange, for The European Business Awards sponsored by RSM. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161201/444769 ) The 55 firms were chosen by a panel of independent judges, including senior businesses and academic leaders, to be 'National Champions' in Europe's largest business competition, and will now represent the UK in the next stage. At the event, the first in a series of events across Europe, attendees had the chance to speak to leading businesses in their field and hear from guest speakers including Umerah Akram, Head of ELITE UK, London Stock Exchange Group's business support and capital raising programme, and previous winner, Julie Deane, CEO of The Cambridge Satchel Company. Lead sponsor RSM, is the sixth largest network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms worldwide, and has supported the European Business Awards since its inception. Jean Stephens, CEO of RSM said: "The National Champions are stand-out leaders, demonstrating businesses tenacity and commercial excellence. These companies will lead the way forward bringing growth and prosperity across the continent and beyond. I would like to congratulate them all and wish them luck in the coming rounds." Umerah Akram, Head of ELITE UK, said: "High growth ambitious businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy which is why we are honoured to support the European Business Awards. Ensuring that dynamic fast growing businesses have available the support and funding they require is essential to the long term health of the economies in which they operate. We are determined to play a central role in helping UK and international companies and entrepreneurs achieve their true potential." In the next round, the National Champions will put forward a video telling their unique story and explaining their business success. Category winners and the winner of a 'public vote' will be announced at the Gala Final in spring 2017.