At Smarta and O2 we know a thing or two about awards. The Smarta 100 Awards has been celebrating Britain's most innovative, disruptive and downright exciting small businesses for four years now, helping to give these fantastic businesses the recognition they so badly deserve.
We do this as we know that an award can help take a business to the next level by giving its pitch that extra bit of weight which might make it resonate with a serious investor, an impressionable customer or a potential partner.
Don't think that because your business isn't the sexiest or that because it doesn't actually make that much cash, it can't win awards. Judges look for individuality and great stories. You need to know how to sell your business to judges and specific ways you can word you application to help you stand out, our second Smarta 100 together with O2 Academy event will help you nail this.
This event welcomes two previous Smarta 100 winners who'll be joining the panel alongside individuals who can spot an award winning business from a mile off.
Whether you're just starting out or planning how you can grow your business further, this event will provide tips and tricks that you can take away and start applying to your business the next day.
Hosted by Smarta founder and author of 2012's best-selling business book 'Stop Talking, Start Doing' Shaa Wasmund, the evening will begin with networking before a panel discussion. Shaa will then take questions from the floor before a closing networking session where all our speakers will be available to approach in person.
Details of the panellists are below
Karen Lynch, Belu
Smarta 100 winner Belu is a bottled water company with a difference. It's 100% carbon neutral and gives all profits to WaterAid, guaranteeing the charity a minimum of £300,000 over three years. It refuses to export its water and uses the highest level of recycled materials possible. The bottles are desirable enough for the very best retail and leisure clients - Raymond Blanc, Sainsbury's and Zizzi to name a few- this shows its ethics don't come at the cost of being commercial savvy.
Calum MacDonald, Highland WiFi
Winners from our first Smarta 100 awards in 2010, Highland WiFi offers fast broadband Internet access to visitors to the Highlands of Scotland via outdoor wifi systems. In fact it's one of the fastest public Wi-fi networks in the UK. Co-founder Calum MacDonald will be on hand to discuss the success of highland wifi since and offer advice on how you can grow a business too.
Ben Dowd, Business Director, O2
Business director Ben Dowd is one of O2's longest standing directors and has overseen major changes in the business during his 16 years there, he also took the thankless task of sifting through 1000's of applications as a judge for last years Smarta 100. Dowd is passionate about helping businesses to succeed and has championed new technologies and ideas, he will be on hand to reveal what he looks for when hunting for an award winning business.
Sir Richard Needham, Dyson
Sir Richard Needham served as minister for Northern Ireland and Minister for Trade during the late 80s and early 90s. He now sits on the board of British business marvel, Dyson, for which he is independent director responsible for international and commercial affairs. With all his years experience, Needham knows how businesses can raise their game and can give stellar advice on just about anything- including how to build an award winning business.
7pm: Panel discussion
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