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What makes a winning entry for the 2020 Business Leader Awards?


The 2020 South West Business Leader Awards are open for entry – and with just four weeks till they close – businesses and entrepreneurs from across the region are sending in their entries.

The Awards have become the must-attend business event of the year over the last decade – however, with the current COVID-19 pandemic, we have made a few changes.

New process

Here, previous Business Leader Awards judges, ex Dragons’ Den star Piers Linney, CEO & Founder of BizBritain Matt Gubba and CEO of awards agency, August Recognition, Donna O’Toole, share their tips for the perfect Business Leader Awards entry.

Piers Linney

When producing an award entry, it’s always important to step back and try to understand what the criteria for each competition is; and make sure your entry meets what is being asked.

Each awards programme is different, and you need to ensure you’re tailoring your entry to whichever one you’re entering. If it’s asking for you to give specific information, then try to do so or at least explain why you can’t yet provide that information.

Finally – provide examples that back up the claims you make in your entry. If you say you deliver the best customer service – provide analysis and testimonials that demonstrate how.

Matt Gubba

I’ll be judging the start-up and business of the year categories at the 2019 Business Leader Awards and I’m excited to be involved.

For me – I’ll be looking for entries that meet the set criteria but also give a clear description of the business’s plans and sets out a roadmap for how it plans to achieve its growth ambitions.

Showing and not telling is another important part of an entry and backing up any claims with testimonials, statistics and financial information, where possible.

Donna O’Toole

As a specialist in compiling winning award entries, there are some core elements that I will be looking for across the categories I will be judging, but there also some important points to consider before you even start writing an entry:

  • Select the right category: To give yourself the best chance of winning, you need to get in the right race in the first place. There are often multiple categories that your story could fit – but think about what it is that REALLY makes you stand out and enter the categories that play directly to those strengths.
    • Tell a human story: Judges need facts to make a thorough assessment, but they also need to make an emotional connection to keep give them a compelling reason to choose you as the winner. The best entries combine both.
    • Believe in yourself: Too many people who think ‘It won’t be me’ when it comes to winning an award. Well yes, that’s true if they don’t bother to enter, or leave it to the last minute to get an entry together. Don’t rush your entry a few days before the deadline, have confidence, celebrate what you have already achieved, and start preparing your entry sooner rather than later!

There are 16 categories available – enter now!

  • COVID-19 Business Hero
  • Business in the Community
  • Green Business of the Year
  • Innovation & Technology Award
  • Customer Excellence Award
  • Export & International Business Award
  • Employer of the Year
  • Start-up Business Award
  • Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Family Business Award
  • Manufacturing Business of the Year
  • Business of the Year – 1-10 Employees
  • Business of the Year – 11-50 Employees
  • Business of the Year – 51+ Employees
  • Advisory Firm of the Year
  • Business Leader of the Year

If you have any questions, or would like to speak to the Business Leader team about the limited sponsorship opportunities, please call 0117 325 779 or email editor@businessleader.co.uk.