Serial entrepreneur and Dragon, Sarah Willingham, is to lead to this year's Nectar Business Small Business Awards, which celebrates the UK's best SMEs and business owners
When it comes to promoting your brand, amassing an army of Twitter followers or running an ad campaign in the national press can go a long way. However, there's nothing like quite like winning an award, seeing your name up in lights and being recognised by your industry peers. Better still, many awards are free to enter, meaning that you can grab a great big slice of positive publicity without having to fork out for a spot on primetime TV. The Nectar Business Small Business Awards are among such awards.
Now in its seventh year, the awards celebrate the achievements of successful small businesses and small business owners across the UK. They are being led this year by Sarah Willingham, the serial entrepreneur who is most famous for building Bombay Bicycle Club into the largest chain of Indian restaurants in Britain. She's also one of three new investors lined up for the new series of Dragons' Den, which will be hitting our screens in the not too distant future. Willingham is joined on the judging panel by Will Shuckburgh, managing director of Nectar; Allan Dickson, marketing director at Brakes; and Melissa Snover, director of commercial at Dulux Decorating Centre and a previous Nectar Business Small Business Awards winner.
Entries to the awards are open until July 24 and winners will receive £2,000 cash and 50,000 Nectar points, along with the opportunity to receive tailored expert advice from Willingham at the Nectar Business Round Table and Awards event to be held in November this year. All SMEs, social enterprises, charities and entrepreneurs that demonstrate innovative and sustainable business ideas are invited to enter as many of the following categories as they wish:
Small Business of the Year - a small business able to demonstrate overall excellence in its field
Innovation of the Year - a small business or individual that has created and successfully brought to market a product or service exploiting a gap in the market
Home Grown Business of the Year - a small sales-based business that has grown from humble beginnings
Entrepreneur of the Year - an individual who successfully launched and continues to run their own business or businesses
Tradesperson of the Year - a qualified tradesperson, defined as a skilled manual labourer, who owns or works in a small business
Contribution to the Community - a small business, social enterprise or charity that is able to demonstrate a positive impact on its local community
“I can’t wait to get involved with the Nectar Business Small Business Awards, helping to discover, support and champion some of the UK’s most brilliant businesses," said Willingham. "I know first-hand the drive, commitment and sheer hard work that’s required to make a small business succeed; and the fact that this dedication makes the eventual rewards even sweeter."
With previous winners including Notonthehighstreet.com and Hungryhouse.co.uk, why not give yourself a chance of joining such illustrious names? It's free to enter after all.