New awards format due to Covid-19. Click here to find out more.

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 Awards winner, you can elevate your business, propel your brand, and gain high profile recognition of your achievements for you and your team. You will 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 businesses, entrepreneurs and organisations that are based in the South West.

Available to sponsor

Covid-19 Business Hero


Available to sponsor
This special category will honour the businesses that have reacted to the global pandemic and pivoted the way they operate to be a force for good.
Maybe you’re a manufacturer who has been making PPE; or a retail business that has provided food for the community – or maybe you have reacted to the pandemic in a way that has seen you retain jobs or even win new business.

  • How you and your business reacted to Covid-19
  • The story behind your actions and how you achieved what you did
  • A brief overview of your company and the markets you serve
  • The impact of your actions on either your business or the community/ other businesses
  • If applicable information about any new product launches or commitment to innovation
  • If applicable impact of your actions on your employees

Available to sponsor, call 0117 325 7779 to find out more

Enter this award

Available to sponsor

Business in the Community


Available to sponsor
This award is open to businesses or social enterprises that have made a significant positive impact on the community and region they operate in.

To enter, you will be required to submit an 800-word entry that shows how you have organised or been involved in the following initiatives – through your business – or structured the business to have community at its heart.

  • Programmes, events or projects with not-for-profit social objectives
  • An innovative approach to the way the business puts community interests at its core
  • Activities that stimulate interest in the arts, community engagement, encourage enterprise or raise aspirations

Available to sponsor, call 0117 325 7779 to find out more

Enter this award

Bevan Brittan logo

Green Business of the Year


Sponsored by Bevan Brittan
This award is open to companies that can demonstrate a successful commitment to managing their social, environmental and financial obligations. They will have put sustainability at the core of their business.

The award is open to businesses operating in the low carbon economy, or those outside it running green programmes, or have launched a sustainable product or initiative.

To enter you will be required to submit an 800-word entry that demonstrates the following points to the judges.

  • Ethical leadership and stakeholder engagement
  • Clear environmental management systems
  • Overview of the sustainable impact your business, product or initiative has had on the environment, community or business world


Enter this award

Innovation & Technology Award


Sponsored by Thrings
This award is for a company which has a product or service innovation that has led to commercial success or had a significant impact. It is open to ‘tech’ companies operating across verticals such as AI, FinTech & robotics, or companies in other sectors who have used technology to innovate in their business.

To enter you will be required to submit an 800-word entry that gives the following information about the following points:

  • 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 of the product or innovation
  • The measurable impact the technology/innovation is having or will have


Enter this award

Available to sponsor

Customer Excellence Award


Available to sponsor
This award is open to outstanding customer champions – businesses that operate customer-centric organisations where the customer is truly king. It is open to businesses operating in any sector.

To enter you will be required to submit an 800-word entry that gives judges information about the following points:

  • 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

Available to sponsor, call 0117 325 7779 to find out more

Enter this award

Export & International Business Award


Sponsored by Bristol Airport
This award is open to businesses that are trading internationally through selling a product or service overseas. Businesses operating in any sector can enter and will need to show commercial success and a clear plan to develop its international offering.

To enter you will be required to submit an 800-word entry that gives judges information about the following points:

  • Outline of business strategy and objectives for international trade
  • Information about the overseas markets you operate in
  • Information around distribution channels/route to market
  • Barriers and obstacles, and how you overcame them
  • Financial impact of trading globally
  • Information about why you decided to trade internationally


Enter this award

Ashfords

Employer of the Year


Sponsored by Ashford Solicitors
This award is for businesses that have created a stimulating and supportive work environment for their staff and demonstrated a commitment to their welfare. This will have resulted in high staff satisfaction levels and a well-motivated, ambitious and integrated workforce.

To enter you will be required to submit an 800-word entry that gives judges information about the following points:

  • Your company’s leadership and management structure
  • A clear human resources policy that creates a stimulating and supportive workplace
  • Your company values and how employees are aligned with them
  • Initiatives in place to benefit employees
  • Staff retention and development
  • Initiatives to develop staff
  • Health and wellbeing schemes
  • How your company is aligning itself with evolving working practices
  • Commitment to inclusion and diversity throughout the business or organisation


Enter this award

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.

To enter you will be required to submit an 800-word entry that gives judges information about the following points:

  • 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 why it is filling a gap in the market


Enter this award

Entrepreneur of the Year


Sponsored by Origin Workspace
Judges will be looking for individuals who can demonstrate outstanding enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurial flair. This award is aimed at business leaders with exceptional vision and leadership, with a strong financial track record over the last three years.

To enter you will be required to submit an 800-word entry that gives judges information about the following points:

  • 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


Enter this award

Family Business Award


Sponsored by Albert Goodman
This award is open to a business operating in any sector – and of any size – that is family-owned and run by a member of the founding family.

To enter you will be required to submit an 800-word entry that gives judges information about the following points:

  • Understanding of the history of the business and its family heritage
  • 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


Enter this award

Sponsored by BDO

Manufacturing Business of the Year


Sponsored by BDO
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.

To enter you will be required to submit an 800-word entry that gives judges information about the following points:

  • Overview of business and its sectors
  • 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


Enter this award

Business of the Year – 1-10 employees


Sponsored by Four Wealth Management
This award is open to a businesses employing up to 10 employees; and is open for businesses operating in any sector. The business will need to have its HQ in the South West.

To enter you will be required to submit an 800-word entry that gives judges information about the following points:

  • 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
  • Plans to develop staff

Enter this award

Business of the Year – 11-50 employees


Sponsored by Veale Wasbrough Vizards
This award is for businesses employing between 11 and 50 staff; and is open for businesses operating in any sector. The business will need to have its HQ in the South West.

To enter you will be required to submit an 800-word entry that gives judges information about the following points:

  • 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


Enter this award

Business of the Year – 51+ employees


Sponsored by Thomas Westcott
This award is for companies employing over 51 staff; and is open for businesses operating in any sector. The business will need to have its HQ in the South West.

To enter you will be required to submit an 800-word entry that gives judges information about the following points:

  • 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)

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Become a sponsor

Advisory Firm of the Year


Available to sponsor
This award is open to any firm that actively supports or advises businesses – whether that be in a legal, insurance or accountancy context. The judges will be looking at the last twelve months of trading.

To enter you will be required to submit an 800-word entry that gives judges information about the following points:

  • Overview of the firm, its structure and client base
  • Clear corporate social responsibility plan
  • Evidence of how the firm has gone over and above for clients
  • Evidence of commercial performance
  • Commitment to staff well-being and evidence of associated programmes

Available to sponsor, call 0117 325 7779 to find out more

Enter this award

Business Leader of the Year Award


Sponsored by BDO
This award will be given to an individual that has made an outstanding contribution to business and industry through years of dedication and hard work. A titan of the business world, this person has helped to create jobs, employment and growth and inspired others to follow suit. The winner of this award is a Business Leader of unparalleled influence.

To enter you will be required to submit an 800-word entry that gives judges information about the following points:

  • Information on how this individuals has supported the wider business environment (creating wealth and employment where appropriate)
  • Information on any business interests (companies launched/ non-exec roles)
  • Overview of any community or business activity that has resulted in a positive outcome
  • Vision for the future and plans to motivate staff/next generation of business leaders

Enter this award

The 2020 Business Leader Awards


The South West Business Leader Awards is the region’s premier business event and is attended annually by CEOs, directors and professionals. For 2020 we have launched a new Covid-19 Business Hero category which you can view here.

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

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