In recent years, North Yorkshire has had an enviable record for business start-ups, but nationally a considerable percentage of new businesses founder within a year or two.
This award aims to recognise a newcomer to our region’s business community that is already making waves and promising to be in the market for the long term.
Entrants may come from any sector, and be of any size, but must demonstrate innovation, dedication, professionalism and drive. Companies must be operative for no longer than two years at the sending time of the nomination process.
Community Initiative of the Year
Most larger employers – and many smaller businesses too – have formulated a Corporate Social Responsibility policy, which may include charitable fundraising, employee volunteering schemes, green initiatives.
This award will go to the business that puts ‘giving back’ at the heart of its company ethos and that can best demonstrate an ethical approach to the communities it serves and/or the environment in which it operates.
Best Rural Business
The winner of this category is likely to have its roots in food, farming or agriculture.
Judges will be looking for a business that contributes to the rural economy and community, has successfully steered its way through the recession and can demonstrate effective marketing and a strong future.
This award will be presented to the organisation that can demonstrate the most significant contribution to improving the district’s offering as a tourism destination over the past year and is open to any organisation connected to leisure or business tourism.
Examples of contribution could be a marketing campaign or strategy which has attracted more visitors to Harrogate District, a refurbishment programme, examples of excellent customer service or partnership work.
The winner will need to present tangible evidence of their specific contribution to tourism in Harrogate and District.
Best Family-run Business
Family businesses are a vital component of the local economy, and this award recognises the best of them.
Candidates need to be businesses that are run by at least two members of the same family, and extra credit will be given for a good original concept.
The judges will be looking for a sensible division of responsibilities and focus, a management structure that ensures fluid decision-making and the wise use of external advisers where necessary.
Best SME (Companies under 50 employees)
This award will be presented to the small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) that stands out from the crowd due to its performance, growth and dynamism.
It may be early in its development and have big ambitions which it is already starting to successfully translate into reality, or it may be a slightly larger business which is thriving and providing employment locally.
This is a large category, so competition is likely to be stiff, but that just means the winner will enjoy that much more kudos!
Employer of the Year
This award recognises the business that has shown pre-eminent commitment to the development and welfare of its people, by encouraging communication, creativity and proactivity throughout the organisation.
The winner will be able to show that it appreciates that genuine commitment to, and trust in, its people leads to success in business, as well as a fulfilling and stimulating working environment.
The winner may well have sought external accreditation of its position by achieving Investors in People or other independently audited quality standards.
Best Large Company (over 50 employees)
This category is aimed at larger businesses which have successfully grown their organisation. The company culture will demonstrate an approach to business based on encouraging employee development, creativity and empowerment.
Employees will demonstrate strong proactive relationships with customers and suppliers and a shared ambition to optimise business performance.
Strong leadership and clearly defined strategic objectives will have shaped the company’s growth and development.
Entrants should be able to present a strong performance record and explain how their business differentiates itself from competitors.
Apprentice of the Year
Apprenticeships are vital in bridging the skills gap that takes such a heavy toll on British business. Ever more employers are offering young people the chance to earn as they learn, but which of our region’s trainees has gone the extra mile and had a positive impact on their employer – and looks set to be one of the business leaders of tomorrow?
Entrepreneur of the Year
Entrepreneurs are the dynamic visionaries who bring change and innovation to our commercial and economic landscape.
Bold, bright and disruptive, they see gaps in the market where others see barriers and exploit them to bring wealth, jobs and opportunity to our communities.
This award will be presented to an entrepreneur who has created a successful business using little more than an idea, lots of energy and total dedication.
Digital & Technological Development
Technology and digital firms are playing an increasingly important part in today’s business environment, and this award will be presented to a company from this sector which harnesses technological innovation to give their firm the edge.
They are leaders, and not followers, in the technological arena, and truly understand how the world of business has changed in the 21st century.
This award will be presented to a business that puts sustainability and environmental protection at the heart of its business model.
It may operate within the environmental sector (e.g. waste management companies) or it may be active in any other sector but will ensure that its environmental impact is kept to an absolute minimum, for example through recycling, carbon offset, water conservation or sustainable energy schemes.
Business of the Year
The ‘best of the best’, the winner of this award will be chosen from the winners of the other awards, to give us a champion of champions.
Judges will be looking for an innovative business model, impeccable business practices and outstanding business performance.