Queen's Awards for Enterprise

Britain is officially at its most enterprising. More companies than ever before receive the Queen’s Award for Enterprise today – a record 194.

The awards recognise outstanding achievements in three categories: international trade, sustainable development and innovation. Achievements need to have been sustained over a few years. (You can find out more about the specifics of the criteria here.)

Applications were also at a record high of more than 1,000 – that’s up 200 from last year and the highest number since the awards were launched in 1966.

It is of course brilliant to see that more UK companies than even are proving themselves as outstandingly enterprising in positive ways.

But it’s also great to hear that so many businesses have applied for these awards.

Awards are a great way to promote your business and prove its worth. You’ll likely be covered in local or trade press – particularly if you get snapped with the lovely old Queen herself.

They also help prove your calibre and impress customers. A poll of last year’s Queen’s Award for Enterprise winners found that more than 75% said winning had given them a commercial boost, with more than half pointing out it had also raised their profile with overseas customers. Some winners have reported sales increases of up to 30% after winning.

Being awarded a business prize can massively boost staff morale too, and it gives you a good reason to celebrate the contributions staff have made.

While business award applications can be detailed and sometimes pretty time-consuming, if you think you meet the criteria and you have a shot of winning, they’re well worth going for. After all, if you don’t try, you’re sure as hell never going to find out.

And even if you get nominate but don’t win, you’ve raised your profile and the ceremony should be a fantastic chance to network.

You can find out more about the main business awards to go for in Emma Jones’s column for Smarta here.

Other than that, keep your eyes peeled (please, please not literally though) when you’re reading trade press and industry websites, and Google awards for your sector.

If you want to enter the 2010 the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, the application process is now open.

Any 'business unit' in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man with at least two full-time employees (or part-time equivalent), is eligible to apply as long as they meet the criteria. You can download an application form here or telephone the application hotline on 08705 134 486. You can apply for one or more of the categories.

Get on it and good luck!

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