I found out about the Enterprise Vision Awards 2012 (EVAS2012) when several emails appeared from the awards organisers in my inbox as I had received several recommendations. It made my day to think there were people out there who recognised what I had achieved in starting up my business in a recession and in my fifties. I felt on top of the world and having looked at the website at all the different categories I also nominated some businesses that I admire and two of them have also made the finalist list in different categories.
I now had to complete my awards entry. The EVAS2012 organisers had made the process easier by providing a framework. They wanted to know the inspiration behind the business creation; achievements and challenges to date; future plans and the drive and passion behind the business. They allowed a set number of words to answer the above within the following sections:
- Business Description
- How Business Started
- Future Plans
- About Me
- Why should I win?
We were also requested to submit a photo and one supporting document. I chose a photo of me receiving my Small Business Sunday Award from entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den judge, Theo Paphitis. Also I had been interviewed on BBC News 24 in May 2012 talking about the challenges of setting up a business over 50. I though the photo might intrigue them and the video fitted the judging criteria well.
A few days after the deadline had passed I received a telephone call from the EVAS2012 organisers – I was on the shortlist for New Business of the Year! Well that was a call that made my day – I was through to the next round! Family, friends and business contacts were delighted for me too.
The next round was a trip to Blackpool to do a 5 minutes presentation to a panel of judges followed by a Q and A session – like Dragon’s Den but a lot friendlier and an adjudicator was present to ensure every business was asked the same questions and had the same amount of time.
I found it a really positive, affirming experience where I was asked to share my background, present activities and future plans. It is very powerful to tell other people, strangers indeed, what you plan to do. It makes it seem more real than “it’s just my plans” and in some respect you feel much more accountable having spoken about your intentions in public. I am proud to say that I am one of the 6 finalists in New Business of the Year.
The final round is a public voting round and finalists are listed alphabetically by first name.
Thank you for the whole experience to the Pink Link Ladies Network, Rae Stephenson and Coral Horn, for creating and organising the EVAs and thank you to the interviewers, the adjudicator, the sponsors and finally to those anonymous admirers who nominated me in the first place.
Twitter is busy with EVA2012 fever and great support between the finalists across all the categories. I have been on BBC Radio Manchester too and in the local and regional press. It’s lovely to have something positive to talk about and great to find the local community is right there behind me.
What have I learnt from entering my first business award?
- It makes someone’s day if you nominate them for an award if you are impressed by what they have achieved.
- Treat awards seriously and use all the resources you have to enter; celebrating your success in business – large and small.
- Win or lose being chosen as a Finalist is a major achievement and can attract publicity.
So good luck to all those businesses chosen as finalists in EVAS2012. We will all get to meet at the Awards evening on 14 September 2012. If you haven’t voted already then you can cast your vote here