Startup Business Of The Year

This award is open to start-up businesses operating for under two years. In no more than 1000 words, please provide:

  • An overview of why the business launched and the gap in the market at that time
  • Evidence of your business success and progress to date
  • How your business/service/product compares to other start-ups, particularly those in your business sector
  • Vision and plans for future growth

Lifetime Achievement Award

This special award will be given to an individual who has shown a lifetime of commitment to their field, sector, industry or business. In no more than 1000 words, please provide:

  • Description of the individual and career history
  • Overview of their career highlights and achievements
  • The impact they have had on their business or sector, on their peers, employees, the wider community 
  • Supporting testimonials

Entrepreneur of the Year

To recognise an imaginative and creative manager or employee whose individual contribution to the success of a business has been outstanding or who has demonstrated inspired leadership.

Criteria: The judges will look for evidence of improvement to the company directly attributable to the entrant plus testimonials from within and/or without the organisation.

SME Employer of the Year

This category recognises outstanding performance by a company having a workforce of up to 249.  Judges look for examples of business success including outstanding achievements in growth, turnover and profitability; clear vision and plans for the future; innovation and creativity; and overcoming challenges

Business in the Community Award

This award recognises a dynamic contribution a company has made to the local community by supporting local charities, initiatives or other community events. This category is not open to charities, CICs or community focused organisations. In no more than 1000 words, entrants will 

  • Explain the company’s strategic mission to engage with the local community and why this was important to the business
  • What the strategy involves and how this is implemented
  • The positive impact the strategy has on the community; people, places, purpose
  • How the business works with the community in relation to employee engagement, marketing, training and support.

Sustainable Initiative of the Year

This award will be presented to a business that puts sustainability and the environment at the heart of its business. In no more than 1000 words, describe your company’s commitment to:

  • Ensuring its environmental impact is kept to an absolute minimum, for example through recycling, carbon offset, water conservation or sustainable energy schemes.
  • Sustainability achievements in the last 12 months
  • How you are helping to drive wider progress in the green economy
  • Demonstrate your business growth and financial success whilst delivering social and environmental benefit. 

Diversity & Inclusion Award

This award celebrates organisations that have diversity and inclusion at the heart of their business. In no more than 1000 words, applicants should demonstrate the following key points:

  • How the company embraces the benefits of a truly diverse workforce. 
  • Strategy to offer opportunities for employees with different backgrounds and abilities to thrive and be engaged in the organisation
  • Demonstrate the impact of, and positive outcomes from, embracing diversity and inclusion, in relation to the success of the company

Innovation Award

This award celebrates innovation; of products, services, business models or initiatives. If you are doing something different that is creating change or making a positive difference to your clients, customers or staff, then this award is for you.  In no more than 1000 words, applicants will need to demonstrate;

  • An overview of your innovation
  • The process implemented to research, develop and launch it
  • The positive impact of your innovation; covering any or all of the following - business, team, clients, stakeholders, wider community.
  • Future plans and how innovation plays a part in them

Apprentice/Trainee of the Year

This award will recognise any apprentice or trainee who has gone that extra mile and exceeded the expectations of their trainer or mentor. In no more than 1000 words, provide evidence of how your apprentice:

  • Has shown exceptional drive and commitment to their apprenticeship, learning and personal development
  • Is an inspiration to other apprentices and employees in the business
  • Demonstrates an ability to overcome obstacles and barriers in learning or at work
  • Has brought an idea into the business which has had tangible results to the company

Retail, Leisure & Tourism Business of the Year

Open to any restaurant, hotel, café, pub, retail, leisure facility, visitor attraction or similar business excelling in its field and driving positive economic impact for the area. In no more than 1000 words, applications will demonstrate:

  • Overview of your business and top achievements in the last 12 months
  • Approach to team, staff retention and training
  • Approach to customer experience and loyalty
  • Involvement in the local community

Employer of the Year

 This award recognises the business that has shown pre-eminent commitment to the development and welfare of its people, by encouraging communication, creativity and proactivity throughout the organisation. The winner will be able to show appreciation, genuine commitment to, and trust in, its people leading to success in business, as well as a fulfilling and stimulating working environment. An award for a business that has great staff relations, good staff retention, with excellent training and who cares for their employees. The best companies to work for! The judges will look for evidence and testimonials that confirm all of the above.

Rural Business of the year

The Rural Business of the Year Award is open to anyone who operates any type of business in the countryside, whether based in a rural village or somewhere quite remote. It can be on a farm or not on a farm. The idea is we want to encourage all forms of business whatever it is. Greater numbers of businesses being developed in the countryside enhances opportunity for greater employment.

There are no restrictions.

Suggestions that you might consider when nominating either yourself or if you want to nominate someone else. You / they don't need to have done any of these - they are just some ideas!

  • Do you have a new business that has been started up in recent times that you are proud of?
  • Are you a satisfied customer of this business?
  • There are thousands of businesses based in the countryside from traditional tea shops, B&Bs, camp sites, caravan sites, tourist venues, online shops, village stores, pubs, food processors, manufacturers, wedding venues, training centres, education sites, every kind of business!


Family Business of the year

Open to businesses which are run and owned by a family. 

You may want to demonstrate:

  • How the principles upheld by the family and the contributions of its members influenced the progression of the business.
  • The composition of your business's board and ownership structure, as well as the processes involved in decision-making.
  • The essential attributes that qualify your business for this category, encompassing factors like product and service advancement, financial achievements, family involvement, personnel development, innovation, resilience in challenging circumstances, community dedication, succession planning, and governance.
  • Your visions for the business and the extent to which present and future family generations will participate.

Business of the Year

The judges will select the Business of the Year from the winners of the other categories.


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