As 2018 draws to a close, it’s important to acknowledge the progress your company has made this year. Whether you’ve surpassed your personal goals, or you feel that you’re on the road to where you need to be, there’s no better way to celebrate this than by entering Small Business Awards. With 2019 just around the corner, why not start looking into the potential awards you can enter to?
Perhaps you’re new to owning a small business and are not aware of the kind of Small Business Awards you can participate in. Perhaps you’re an entrepreneur and feel like you’re not getting the recognition you deserve. Or perhaps, you’re simply looking for a way to engage with other businesses in this sector.
Fortunately, there are a surplus of Small Business Awards that you can get involved with in 2019 – all of which celebrate the successes of this community.
Small Business Awards in 2019
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have already opened their applications for 2019. Whilst you may assume your business is too niche for an award, they cater to most small business types and have 11 different categories within your geographical area, as well as a national award.
- International Business of the Year
- Ethical and Green Business of the Year
- Business and Product Innovation Award
- Digital Innovation of the Year
- Micro Business of The Year
- Start-Up Business of the Year
- Scale-Up Business of the Year
- Family Business of the Year
- Young Entrepreneur of the Year
- Employer of the Year
- Community Award
These awards give you the chance to reflect on your company’s personal achievements as well as recognising other’s milestones.
Organisations like the FSB make it as easy as they can for you to get involved. You can enter for free and don’t have to be a member of their organisation, they describe their awards as: ‘the leading celebration of small businesses, shining a light on some of the best, most innovative and most determined small businesses’. Category winners will be invited to the UK gala final on 23 May 2019 in London – with all the glamour of a three-course meal and reception, as well as the opportunity to network with finalists and industry business leaders.
Entries for 2019 are now open so make sure you apply soon as closing dates range from January to March.
Awards are not limited to the FSB and online you will find other websites are also encouraging SME’s to participate in their competitions. The Startups Awards also ‘recognise the UK’s most creative, innovative and ambitious new businesses, [providing] a fantastic opportunity for finalists to network with like-minded entrepreneurs’. For a £50 entry fee, you can apply to be shortlisted in as many of the categories as you like.
Small Business Award Examples
The Overall Winner of the 2018 Federation of Small Business Awards was Creative Nature. The company started out selling healthy bars before selling a unique range of baking mixes which are now sold in supermarkets, high street retailers like TK Max and health conscious stores.
Julianne Ponan from Creative Nature, reiterates the benefits of entering, and winning, such a competition on the Federation of Small Businesses website: ‘We’ve gained national and international recognition from winning the award, including an article in the Flybe-in-flight magazine and lots of other media coverage. I would definitely recommend other businesses enter in 2019 as it gives your business so much credibility being a national award, even if you don’t win it’s such a great networking opportunity’.
You can see the progression of their business on their website, in which the timeline marks highs and lows of their journey. They have entered and won many other competitions – their most recent being the Toast of Surrey Business Awards 2018. Since their win at the FSB Awards, Creative Nature's CEO Julianne Ponan performed the London Stock Exchange market opening ceremony. A huge honour, this opened their business up to more media coverage.
From Scale-Up Business of the Year to Young Entrepreneur of the Year, you can check out all the other category winners here.
Why get involved?
By getting involved in these Small Business Awards, your company can benefit in three ways.
Firstly, the awards provide financial benefits. These benefits can give your business the funding boost it may need, whilst also acting as a platform for you to enhance your company’s profile. Through national and local press coverage, you gain publicity – not forgetting the endorsement by the expert judging panel.
Secondly, winners can use this as a benchmark against peers both locally and nationally. Even if you don’t win, websites are prone to publicising those who were shortlisted or runners up. This gives you a point of difference against your competitors.
Lastly, it’s important to stand back and reflect on your achievements. This is a sector that too often does not get the recognition it deserves, so giving yourself and colleagues the chance to grasp how far your business has come, or the potential it has to grow, proves invaluable. These awards also invite outsiders of this sector to appreciate the contribution small businesses and the self-employed make to our economy.
With the vast availability of Small Business Awards out there, what’s holding you back? This exposure could be the leading edge that kick-starts or boosts your small business. After all, everyone loves to be ‘award winning’.