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Why Awards Can Open Doors To New Opportunities

Start-ups are an important part of the UK economy and bring a range of benefits including innovation, job-creation, disruption, social impact, and economic growth.

Recognising their wider contribution to the economy, society, and their local communities is the reason why I established the Wales Startup awards eight years ago and in 2023, we will again be celebrating the tremendous impact made by entrepreneurs and their new ventures.

Last year’s Wales Startup of the Year was Drop Bear Beer which, since being established four years ago, has attracted over £2m of investment to build the UK’s largest alcohol-free brewery.

Drop Bear is also the world’s first female founded and first LGBTQIA+ founded alcohol-free brewery and the business has been instrumental in challenging stereotypes and bringing more diversity to a traditional industry.

But why should companies enter such awards and what benefits do they bring?

For many businesses that make the decision to enter awards, it is the first time that they get the credit and credibility they deserve for all the blood, sweat and tears they have put in to develop their firms.

More importantly, achieving recognition is a critical step in highlighting the success of the company in a competitive marketplace and differentiating what the business does from rival businesses.

But it is not only about external affirmation. Entering business awards can help to motivate employees by enabling them to acknowledge their own efforts in developing the venture over a period of time.

In fact, for many founders who rarely pause for breath as they are growing their companies, applying for business awards makes them have to sit back and consider what has made their business successful and how they got where they are today.

Awards can also help businesses to stand out from their competitors, particularly if the award is well-respected in the industry as the Startup Awards are amongst entrepreneurs.

They can also assist in attracting and retaining top talent as employees want to work for companies that are recognised for their excellence. Being a finalist at the Startup Awards can also be a great boost to the morale of a business and its employees, as it recognises their hard work and achievements.

Finally, not only future customers will be more likely to choose a business that has won awards, as they may view it as a more trustworthy and reliable option.

So if you’ve entered the Wales Startup Awards and are successful in getting shortlisted, what are the next steps?

Apart from ensuring that you invite your staff and clients along for a great night out, being shortlisted gives you the opportunity to tell everyone that you are up for an award but, more importantly, to thank your employees, customers, and other key stakeholders for their support in getting to this stage.

It is also an opportunity to go after new clients as affirmation after the awards ceremony, because even as a finalist, such recognition can get you further meetings with potential customers, especially if you have been nominated in the same category as a major established business that you’ve beaten to the award.

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And what happens if you win?

The most important thing is to shout it from the rooftops! By making sure everyone knows about it as soon as possible, winning an award is an invaluable way in raising your general profile in the media.

It can also be used as a marketing tool in getting more business from existing customers, attracting new clients, and getting funding from potential investors.

As someone who has been responsible for several business awards, including the annual Wales Fast Growth 50 awards for the last twenty-five years, I am most proud of entrepreneurs telling me that being involved in the awards has made a real difference to their business.

By opening doors to new opportunities and receiving confirmation that they are amongst the best in their industry, winning an award can be a real morale booster for the business, its owner, and its employees with considerable impact on the organisation in the future.

Therefore, entering awards can be beneficial to your business in so many ways although it is critical that you enter the right awards that give your company credibility amongst your peers and, more importantly, within your industry.

Today, there are business awards for nearly every sector, and it is important that the awards are seen as credible with the business community so that, in turn, it adds credibility to your business.

I am proud that the two awards that I am involved with – the Wales Startup Awards and the Wales Fast Growth 50 – are valued not only by organisations in the Welsh business ecosystem but, more importantly, by those that enter with the quality and quantity of entries increasing every year.

So if you are a new Welsh business, get your entries in as soon as possible for the 2023 Wales Start-up Awards. You certainly won’t regret it and, more importantly, you could end up celebrating your success as a winner.