It is awards season and love them or loathe them, entering awards relevant to your business and meaningful to your audience can bring numerous benefits.
Showcase your expertise
Being shortlisted or a winner showcases your success and raises brand awareness, brings local/national recognition to your hard work, increases credibility through 3rd party endorsement and promotes your business to potential new customers, markets and suppliers.
Awards are a chance for everyone to celebrate, to recognise employees’ contributions and their hard work, which boosts morale and motivation, in turn helping you to retain good staff and attract new talent.
The application process focuses you to consider what is outstanding about your business and what differentiates you from your competition. The process encourages you to really consider your business narrative and how to communicate that most effectively. It may also identify areas for improvement.
What to enter
Choose wisely. Consider what is relevant and meaningful to you, your business and your clients. Don’t forget your competitors, what are they entering?
We have collated a list of some of the Kent-based awards. Whilst we have endeavoured to ensure all information is correct at the time of publication, dates and details may change, so please visit the awards’ websites to obtain the latest information.
If you enter, don’t forget to maximise your PR exposure to communicate your successes.
Awards which are currently open include:
FEDERATION OF SMALL BUSINESSES (FSB) – CELEBRATING SMALL BUSINESS AWARDS www.fsbawards.co.uk
Applications need to be in by March 1st, with the awards ceremony taking place on April 12th at Sandown Park Racecourse. Categories include:
Start-Up Business of the Year Family Business of the Year
Micro Business of the Year Employer of the Year
Community Business of the Year Digital Innovation Award
Young Entrepreneur of the Year (aged 30 & under)
Business & Product Innovation Award International Business of the Year
KENT WOMEN IN BUSINESS (KWIB) AWARDS http://kwibawards.co.uk
Completed applications from this year’s nominees need to be in by January 27th. The shortlist is announced on January 30th, with an awards ceremony taking place at the Great Danes Hotel in Maidstone on March 8th, which also happens to be International Women’s Day.
KENT INVICTA CHAMBER BUSINESS AWARDS www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk
Also open to non-members of the chamber, these awards are designed to recognise and reward excellence in business in Kent and Medway. The application deadline is January 25th, with the awards ceremony taking place at Canterbury Cathedral Lodge on March 21st. The nine categories are:
Business of the Year Most Promising New Business of the Year
Excellence in Customer Service Construction Project of the Year
Employer of the Year Entrepreneur of the Year
Exporter of the Year Manufacturer of the Year
Technology Business of the Year
KENT EXCELLENCE IN BUSINESS AWARDS www.keiba.co.uk
Run by KCC and the Kent Messenger for businesses throughout Kent & Medway (excluding those with a London Borough postcode). Entry forms are available until February 22nd, finalists are announced on May 15th and the awards ceremony will take place on June 20th. Categories include:
Family Business of the Year Apprenticeship of the Year Small Business of the Year Technological Business of the Year Start-Up Business of the Year Business Commitment to the Community Entrepreneur of the Year Customer Service Award Employer of the Year Medium Business of the Year Large Business of the Year Manufacturer of the Year Commitment to the Environment Award Construction Project of the Year Valuing Disability Business of the Year
KENT BUSINESS AWARDS www.businessawardskent.co.uk/
This covers three distinct areas:
- Canterbury (including Whitstable, Herne Bay, Margate, Ramsgate & Broadstairs). Application deadline is February 8th, with an awards ceremony at the Broome Park Hotel on March 14th.
- Maidstone (including Kings Hill, West Malling & East Malling). Application deadline is May 25th, the awards ceremony taking place at the Great Danes Hotel on June 27th.
- Ashford (also Hythe, Romney Marsh, Folkestone, Deal & Dover). The awards ceremony takes place on November 28th at the Ashford International Hotel.
See the website for a full list of categories
THE BUSINESSWOMEN EXCELLENCE AWARDS, KENT www.businesswomenexcellenceawards.co.uk/region/kent
Details of this year’s event have yet to be announced, but in previous years categories have included:
- New Business/Start-Up of the Year
- Business Woman of the Year
- Entrepreneur of the Year
- Small Business of the Year
- Contribution to the Community
Other annual awards worth keeping an eye open for, but which have yet to release details for this year’s events include:
THE TIMES BUSINESS AWARDS 2019 www.timesbusinessawards.co.uk
In association with, and widely promoted by, the Times of Tunbridge Wells/Tonbridge. Although details for this year’s event have yet to be released, last year’s categories included:
Start-Up business Business Person of the Year Creative Business of the Year Service Excellence Employee of the Year Outstanding Business of The Year Young Entrepreneur of the Year Family Business of the Year Best Business 1-25 Employees Best Business 25+ Employees
KENT CREATIVE AWARDS kentcreativearts.co.uk/kent-creative-awards
This is a biennial event celebrating arts and culture throughout Kent. It is open for applications from July 1st-August 31st, with the awards ceremony taking place at Turner Contemporary in Margate on November 29th.
RURAL BUSINESS AWARDS, SOUTH EAST www.ruralbusinessawards.co.uk
Entries close on June 19th for the 2019/20 award. The regional awards ceremony takes place in October, with the winners automatically qualifying for the national final, which takes place early 2020.
Kent Health and Beauty Awards
SO Magazine Lifestyle Awards
Swale Business Awards
Kent Care Awards (from which the winners then automatically qualify for the GB Care Awards).
A final note about planning for 2020
It is valuable to start considering and planning strategically for any awards which you may wish to enter in 2020. This additional time allows you to research the awards in more detail, review past winners, and spend more time gathering evidence to support your own entry. In an ideal world, give yourself plenty of time, and start completing the forms 1-2 months in advance or as soon as the nominations open. Some of the awards listed here had closing dates in January/February which is worth factoring into your planning especially if you are busier than usual over the Christmas period/January sales.
Content Updated January 2019
Image credit to Glen Tann Via Unsplash