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Top 10 small business awards

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Awards are a great way for small businesses to get that all-important recognition and spread brand awareness. Whether you’re a new tech company that has come up with an innovative product or you have an impressive company culture you want to shout about, there are countless categories dedicated to small companies making a big difference.

With that in mind, the UK’s leading company formation agent, 1st Formations, brings you their list of top 10 awards that small businesses should consider and how to get involved.

Top 10 small business awards
Top 10 small business awards

FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards

The National Federation of Self Employed and Small Businesses hosts one of the UK’s most popular and prestigious awards, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The FSB awards span the following 12 categories:

Sustainability award – recognising socially responsible, green businesses

Micro-business award – celebrating businesses with less than 10 employees

Start-up business award – suitable for businesses that have been operating for less than 2 years

Family business award – suitable for businesses owned by families and run by at least 2 family members

Young entrepreneur award – for successful, ambitious self-starters

Community award – for philanthropic businesses supporting their local communities

Innovation award – recognising disruptive start-ups

Self-employed/freelance award – celebrating driven one-man bands

Expansion and growth awards – for new businesses that have grown to 10-250 employees

Diversity and inclusion award – suitable for companies that promote diversity and inclusion at the core of their culture and projects

Service excellence award – for businesses that have gone above and beyond for customers

New for 2024: Franchise business award – recognising a franchisee business

The FBS awards are free to enter. Not only that, if your company is shortlisted, you’ll also receive a free ticket to the awards ceremony.

This event is also particularly well-known for its excellent networking opportunities. If you’re one of the lucky winners, you’ll be invited to a networking event with all the other winners after the show.

If you’re unsuccessful, don’t worry, there are still plenty of positives to take away from this impressive event. Not only will you get a chance to mingle with other leaders and small businesses, but you’ll still get national recognition, which could transform your company.

Entries for 2024 are closed but be sure to keep the FSB awards on your radar for next year.

The Good Small Business Awards

The Good Small Business Awards are “the UK’s first national business sustainability awards”. This event celebrates innovative business leaders who strive to change lives, look after our planet, support the economy, and inspire others to follow their positive practices.

These awards are made up of the following categories:

Tech innovator – for businesses that have transformed the technology sector with sustainable solutions

Disrupting markets – for new enterprises that have disrupted their markets with sustainable business models

Circular economy – for companies that are committed to reducing waste

People-centred – for businesses that celebrate their employees in an outstanding way

Carbon reduction – for businesses that have successfully reduced their carbon emissions across their operations

Community enterprise – for businesses making a difference in their local communities through sustainable, charitable work

Visionary leadership – for business owners who have shown exceptional commitment to and success in transforming our sustainability impact

Manufacturing champion – for manufacturing companies dedicated to transforming their sustainability practices

Construction/built environment champion – for construction companies dedicated to transforming their sustainability practices

Digital & creative champion – for digital and creative companies dedicated to transforming their sustainability practices

Hospitality & leisure champion – for hospitality and leisure companies dedicated to transforming their sustainability practices

Admin & support services champion – for admin and support companies dedicated to transforming their sustainability practices

The Good Small Business Awards are open to all UK-based organisations with one to 49 employees. If you feel that several categories apply to your business, you can enter more than one if applicable.

If you’re a small sustainability-focused company, you could benefit from this national recognition that celebrates your devotion to making the world a better place. Find out more on the Good Small Business Awards website or take a look at the 2023 winners for inspiration.

The British Business Awards

The annual British Business Awards are currently running for the 7th consecutive year. This esteemed award event recognises a wide range of successes among British small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

It also offers both winners and nominees national recognition, industry validation, networking opportunities, media coverage, and an excellent opportunity to celebrate your employees’ hard work and dedication.

Not only do the British Business Awards celebrate start-ups, micro-businesses, and entrepreneurs, but they also shine a spotlight on more niche groups like minority businesses, sustainable organisations, and women-led companies.

Here’s a full list of the 17 categories to consider:

– Black, Asian, Ethnic Minority Business of the Year

– DEI Initiative of the Year

– Entrepreneur of the Year (over 30)

– Entrepreneur of the Year (under 30)

– Health and Wellbeing Initiative of the Year

– Micro Business of the Year

– Most Innovative Business Idea of the Year

– Recruitment Advisor of the Year

– Retail Business of the Year

– Small Business Influencer of the Year

– Small Business of the Year

– SME Insurance Broker of the Year

– SME Marketing Agency of the Year

– Start-up of the Year

– Sustainable Business Award of the Year

– Technology Provider of the Year

– Women-Led Business of the Year

If you’d like to put your business forward, the British Business Awards are free to enter. Alternatively, you can nominate a colleague or another company that you feel deserves this award.

The UK Small Business Awards

This renowned event honours aspiring entrepreneurs and exceptional small businesses around the UK that are making a mark on their industries. With 37 categories to choose from, The UK Small Business Awards aims to recognise a vast selection of sectors, business types, and achievements. Categories include Best E-Commerce Business, Best Tech Startup, Female Entrepreneur of the Year, and Best Creative Arts Business.

Entries cost £12 per category. If you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll gain access to excellent benefits, including a bespoke certificate to shout out about your achievement, a professionally crafted press release template to boost your credibility across local media, and a VIP invitation to the organiser’s annual networking event in Birmingham.

The Small Awards

Since 2017, the Small Awards have been focusing on highlighting strong all-round performance and community engagement among small businesses in the UK.

Among others, this event rewards exceptional high-street organisations that are contributing not only to their industries but also their neighbouring businesses, strong and unique family-run companies, and businesses with a heart of gold that go above and beyond for their local communities.

Short-listed entrants benefit from significant media outreach and recognition on a regional level. Meanwhile, winners are featured in national news pieces in key publications across print, web, and radio coverage, as well as the Small Awards Hall of Fame.

Find out more and enter your company into the next awards via the Small Awards website.

UK eCommerce Awards

With over 30 categories spanning website, software and innovation, campaign, and team, the UK eCommerce Awards welcome organisations of all sizes and from all sectors that are changing e-commerce for the better.

Whether your website boasts a seamless user experience, you’ve launched a creative and original app, or you’re a new entrepreneur disrupting the e-commerce space, these awards are an excellent way to commemorate your achievements.

Entries are still open until the extended deadline on 26 July 2024. You’ll find out if you’ve been shortlisted in August, and the award ceremony takes place in October. More details on categories and how to enter can be found on the UK eCommerce Awards website.

Innovation Awards

The Innovation Awards reward inspirational businesses and individuals who push boundaries and try new things. They are judged on four main categories:

The Innovators – recognising the individual organisations or leaders that demonstrate innovation in the manufacturing, engineering, sustainability, net zero, tech, health tech, defence, and public sector industries.

Individual Innovators – recognising Male, Female, and Young Innovator of the Year.

Innovation Champion – recognising those who support innovative companies and individuals.

Innovation Thought Leaders – recognising those who facilitate the innovation space with finance, inspirational platforms, and advice that drive it forward.

If your small company has created a product or service that stands out from the crowd, the Innovation Awards could be for you. Nominations close on 17 May 2024 and all UK-based organisations and individuals are eligible to enter.

SME National Business Awards

The SME National Business Awards is one of the most credible accolades in the small business world, honouring UK start-ups with up to 250 employees. More specifically, it acknowledges new and emerging organisations, women in business, young entrepreneurs, and exceptional employers who go the extra mile for their staff – and lots more.

You can enter up to three categories and each application costs £98 plus VAT. If you’re shortlisted, you’ll also need to purchase a ticket to the ceremony. Whilst these awards have the highest entry fee on our list, they are one of the most prestigious commendations in the small business world.

There are also regional SME Business Awards, such as London, which welcomed over 300 guests in 2023. Entries are open until 4 June 2024 and the Grand Final takes place in December.

British Business Excellence Awards

Hosted by Lloyds Bank, the British Business Excellence Awards unites businesses from across the nation, no matter the size or sector. Despite being open to both large and small organisations, there are several award categories dedicated to small businesses.

The 2024 categories are yet to be announced, however, last year, they included SME of the Year, New Business of the Year, and the Innovation Award.

Furthermore, with reputable sponsors on board including King’s Business School and The Department for Business and Trade, your small business could benefit from transformative exposure to key contacts.

National Business Women’s Awards

Last but not least is the National Business Women’s Awards. Made up of 22 categories – from Best New Business to Parent and Baby Business of the Year – this prestigious award recognises and supports the UK’s exceptional and inspiring female entrepreneurs.

The panel of sponsors features several impressive names, including Virgin Money, Hilton, and the University of Cambridge, and the event offers excellent networking opportunities whether you’re a winner or not.

Whether you’re a female business leader or know someone who deserves the spotlight for their incredible work, the National Business Women’s Awards could be for you. Entries close on 17 June 2024 and cost £65 plus VAT per application (you can make up to three). You’ll also need to purchase a ticket to attend the awards ceremony if you are shortlisted.

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Entering awards is not just about winning. Being shortlisted or simply attending an event can offer plenty of benefits, such as a brand profile boost and marketing, PR, and networking opportunities.

Finally, business awards are a great way to solidify your achievements as an entrepreneur as well as that of your company. If you’re interested in entering awards but not sure which ones are best for you, use our list of the top 10 small business awards to get started.

1st Formations is the UK’s favourite company formation agent. Specialising in simple, quick, and affordable company formation, they have formed over 1 million companies to date. Suitable for private companies limited by shares, non-residents, limited liability partnerships, private companies limited by guarantee, eSellers, and public limited companies, you can get your new business started today with 1st Formations from just £12.99.


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