March 16th

Awards entries open

for submission

June 1st

Awards entries

close for entry


Awards judging

process takes place

August 24th

Awards finalists

publicly announced

September 27th

The Awards take place

at Ashton Gate

Award Categories

Do you own or manage an exceptional business? Have you launched an innovative product or service, or ran a successful marketing campaign? Maybe you’ve committed to sustainability, or have just launched a start-up business.

As a Business Leader Award winner you can elevate your business, propel your brand and gain high profile recognition of your achievements for you and your team. You’ll stand out from the competition, attract new customers and gain the respect of your industry and peers.

The Business Leader Awards are free to enter and you can enter as many categories as you like. Entry is open to business, entrepreneurs and organisations that are based in the South West. Please refer to the Award Entry Guidelines for each category.

Sponsored by Sounds Commercial

Business in the Community

Sponsored by Sounds Commercial
This award is open to businesses that have made a significant positive impact within the community and to the lives of individuals within them.
Judges will be looking for:

  • Programmes, events or projects with not-for profit social objectives
  • An innovative approach to the way the enterprise operates
  • Identification of market or end user
  • Activities that stimulate interest in the arts, community engagement, encourage enterprise or raise aspirations

Sponsored by HSBC

Green Business of the Year

Sponsored by HSBC
This Award is open to companies that can demonstrate a successful commitment to managing their social, environmental and financial obligations.
Judges will be looking for:

  • Ethical leadership and stakeholder engagement
  • Clear environmental management systems and efficiencies
  • Full assessment of the environmental and social impact of the products and resources they use and produce throughout the lifecycle
  • Strong financial and commercial performance
  • Sustainable schemes that have been successfully launched

Sponsored by Latcham Direct

Marketing Campaign of the Year

Sponsored by Latcham Direct
The Marketing and Promotion Award recognises a marketing, PR or advertising campaign that has proved to be original, innovative and particularly effective. This can be a one-off campaign or part of a sustained strategy. Open to private and public sector, as well as not-for-profit organisations.
Entry is open to both large and small budget campaigns and companies may enter directly, or marketing agencies may enter a campaign on behalf of a client.
Judges will be looking for:

  • Explanation of the target audience
  • Objectives of the campaign
  • Identification of market or end user
  • Description of marketing activities deployed
  • Evidence of the creative/design
  • Results achieved


Innovation & Technology Award

Sponsored by BDO
This award is for a company which demonstrates a product or service innovation that has led to commercial success or had a significant impact.
Judges will be looking for:

  • The journey that led to the development of your innovation, including details of research
  • The benefits and impact of your product or service to the users
  • Details of patents, copyright or trademarks if applicable
  • The commercial success and financial performance if applicable, or
  • The measurable impact the innovation has or will have

Bristol Audi

Customer Excellence Award

Sponsored by Bristol Audi
This award is open to outstanding customer champions – businesses that operate customer-centric organisations where the customer is truly king.
Judges will be looking for:

  • Methods used to monitor customer satisfaction levels
  • How you empower your employees to ‘delight’ your customers
  • Employee training procedures to enhance customer satisfaction levels
  • Resources and tools implemented to support customers out-of-hours
  • Your process for customer returns, complaints and follow-up

Sponsored by Bristol Airport and BMI

Export & International Award

Sponsored by Bristol Airport
Presented to a company that has demonstrated significant and sustained international growth, along with a clear understanding of overseas markets. You will be able to show commercial success and outline any benefits in terms of investment, job creation or supply-chain to your core UK operation.
Judges will be looking for:

  • Outline of business strategy and objectives
  • Research of the target overseas markets
  • Distribution channels/route to market
  • Relevant branding and marketing
  • Barriers and obstacles, and how you overcame them
  • Impact to UK operations


Employer of the Year

Sponsored by Stannah
This award recognises organisations that have created a stimulating and supportive work environment and a real commitment to the welfare of its employees, resulting in high staff satisfaction levels and a well-motivated, ambitious and integrated workforce.
Judges will be looking for:

  • Positive leadership and management
  • An integrated ethical culture across the company
  • A clear human resources policy that creates a stimulating and supportive workplace
  • How employees are engaged with company values and strategic goals
  • Excellence in staff retention and development
  • Schemes and training initiatives that have contributed towards the development of staff
  • The company will have implemented a successful health and wellbeing plan

Sponsored by Sprague Gibbons

Commercial Property Award

Sponsored by Sprague Gibbons
This award is open to agents, developers, main contractors, professionals, investors or clients who completed a major commercial property deal or project in the region. Entries are open to new-build, refurbishment and regeneration projects that are of particular significance.
Judges will be looking for either;

  • A landmark commercial occupancy deals
  • A major office, industrial, retail or other commercial new-build or refurbishment project
  • An innovative regeneration scheme for commercial or business use

The Bristol Hotel

Rising Star Award

Sponsored by The Bristol Hotel
Open to business owners, professionals and talented managers, this award recognises a young business person under 35. You will be able to demonstrate enterprise, innovation, entrepreneurial flair and show evidence of;

  • Launching or running a business with a proven record of growth, employment and financial success; or
  • A manager or professional with significant responsibility and measurable contribution to business growth; financial performance or the business community in the South West
  • Strong leadership and vision
  • A clear understanding of business and financial planning
  • Evidence of contribution to the community and business in your region


Entrepreneur of the Year

Sponsored by VWV
Judges will be looking for individuals who can demonstrate outstanding enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurial flair. A business leader with exceptional vision and leadership, with a strong financial track record who over the last three years can show evidence of;

  • Identification of a market opportunity
  • How resources and staff were applied to maximise the opportunity
  • Significant growth through new channels or innovative strategies
  • Managing major business change if relevant
  • Strong commercial performance and financial results

Sponsored by UWE Bristol

Start-Up Business Award

Sponsored by UWE Bristol
This award recognises new start-up businesses, under two years old, that have translated an idea into a successful business venture.
Judges will be looking for:

  • Market research including market size, customer profile and competitor analysis
  • A clear, innovative business idea backed by a sound business and marketing plan
  • On-target business and financial performance to date, and a healthy forward order book
  • Overview of how the business launched and investment plans for the future

Barclays bank

Manufacturing Business of the Year

Sponsored by Barclays
This award is open to manufacturers of all sizes in the South West, operating in any sector and in any part of the supply chain.
Judges will be looking for:

  • Overview of business and its sectors
  • Solid growth and financial performance
  • Examples of investment in new technology/factory
  • Information about any new product lines brought to market
  • Export strategy (if relevant)
  • Strategy for developing personnel and investing in apprentices (if relevant)
  • Commitment to innovation

Albert Goodman

Family Business Award

Sponsored by Albert Goodman
This award is open to businesses operating in any sector – and of any size – that is family owned and run by a member of the founding family.
Typically, this award will be open to privately owned businesses and not for profit organisations.
Judges will be looking for:

  • Understanding of the history of the business and its family heritage
  • Solid growth and financial performance
  • Clearly defined management structure
  • Business plan to achieve growth going forward
  • Clear succession plan for future generations of the family or outside leadership
  • Commitment to corporate social responsibility

Sponsored by Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers

Corporate deal of the year

Sponsored by Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited
This award recognises the most important corporate deals across the Bristol City Region and South West. Open to MBO, MBI, M&A and Private Equity Deals of any size, entries are welcome from those involved in making the deal happen, including funders, advisors and professionals.

  • Background of the target business
  • Details of the acquiring business/new stakeholders
  • Those involved in putting the deal together
  • The value of the deal and importance to the region

Castle Business Finance

Business of the Year – 1-10 employees

Sponsored by Castle Business Finance
Entries in this category are welcome from owner-managers, small businesses up to 10 employees and stand-alone, autonomous subsidiaries. The judges will be looking for evidence of:

  • What makes your business stand out from the competition
  • Sustained year-on-year growth and profitability
  • Evidence of a strong business plan and future forecasts

Sponsored by Meade King Solicitors

Business of the Year – 11-50 employees

Sponsored by Meade King Commercial Solicitors
You have a great story to tell and will be able to demonstrate how you’ve successfully grown your business to between 11 and 50 employees. Judges will be looking for:

  • Strong leadership and an entrepreneurial flair
  • An innovative business model with clear USPs
  • A clear focus on customer service/experience
  • Sustained year-on-year growth and profitability
  • Evidence of a strong business plan and future forecasts

Sponsored by Natwest

Business of the Year – 51+ employees

Sponsored by Natwest
Open to larger companies employing over 50 employees and making a significant contribution to the region, the winner of this category will be able to demonstrate;

  • Strong leadership and an entrepreneurial flair
  • A clearly defined management structure
  • Proven industry/sector leadership with strong USP’s
  • A commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  • Evidence of investment and Research & Development (R&D)
  • Solid growth and financial performance (EBITDA)

The 2018 Business Leader Awards

The Business Leader Awards are free to enter and you can enter any number of awards. Entry is open to organisations where the principle activity or head office is based in Bristol, North Somerset or the LEP West of England catchment area. Please refer to the Award Entry Guidelines for each category.

If you have any questions regarding award entry, don’t hesitate to contact us.

View award categories

    2018 Awards Sponsored by

2018 Awards supported by