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The Best UK Business Awards For Women
Whether you are a freelancer or director of your own company, it can be hard to know where to look to seek recognition for your work. Business awards are a good opportunity for this, but it can feel intimidating to put yourself forward, especially if you don’t know what choices are out there and who your competition is.
Another barrier to self-promotion is cost. When budgets for marketing and events are often kept to a minimum, how can you raise your business profile and stand out like the shining star in your industry? With competition all around you, how do you ensure that your small business stands out from the crowd?
Why should you enter business awards?
Answering this question can often be difficult. It can be hard to find time in our busy schedules to think about marketing and promotion. However, the time spent entering an award is worth it for several reasons.
If you win you will gain recognition for yourself, your business, see more traffic to your website and a surge of enquiries that may lead to sales.
Even if you don’t win, putting yourself forward also enhances your credibility and enables you to benefit from an increase in exposure.
It can be tough to seek out PR opportunities for yourself, especially if you’re not that confident at putting yourself into the spotlight.
Entering a business award will not only give you the chance to shine the spotlight on your own work, but it will build your confidence around speaking about your business in front of others – maybe even on the national stage.
View award applications as an opportunity to tell your story and explain the brilliant work that you are doing and how this benefits others. The more times you do this, the more comfortable you will be at vocalising what you do.
The best business awards for female entrepreneurs
We’ve compiled a list of some of the UK best business awards for small businesses and female entrepreneurs. These are the kinds of awards that business women up and down the country can apply for, whether they are self-employed, freelancing or working for a micro or small business.
This list is by no means exhaustive, as new awards pop up each year and others cease to exist. However, as of February 2019, these are a few of the business awards for women that we believe are worth investigating.
National awards just for women
The following awards are open to applicants from across the country. We’ve highlighted a couple of interesting award categories and tried to include details of application deadlines and important dates where these were available.
1. Forward Ladies
The Forward Ladies National Awards & Summit recognise the achievements of business women in the UK. Forward Ladies are dedicated to encouraging the growth of women with the National Awards & Summit being a national showcase and celebration of the achievements of successful women across the UK.
Regional nominations are now open with the National Grand Final on 29th November.
2. Best Business Women Awards
The Best Business Women Awards recognise, endorse and celebrate women who have successfully launched and grown their businesses. You may enter up to two different categories, provided they are relevant to you and your business.
Nominate yourself or someone you know. You can register for more information on the 2019 awards.
4. NatWest Everywoman Awards
The NatWest everywoman Awards celebrate the UK’s brightest female entrepreneurs, from innovative start-ups to established multi-million-pound organisations while showcasing the achievements of nominees, often in the face of adversity.
NatWest say that “becoming a finalist is an excellent way to raise both individual and company profiles, as well as encourage more women and young girls to consider becoming a female business owner”.
Applications are now closed for 2019. Enter up to three categories. Each entry costs £10. The competition is open to all businesses nationally who commenced business between 1st January 2015 and 31st December 2017.
4. SME National Business Awards
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are businesses whose personnel numbers are 250 employees or less.
Entry is £95 + VAT per application. The closing date for all entries is the Thursday 2nd May 2019 at 5pm. The Grand Final takes place on Friday 6th December 2019.
5. The Federation of Small Businesses
The FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards recognise the best small businesses and the self-employed from right across the UK, from every sector and industry and from businesses of all ages and all sizes.
Entries are free to regional awards. Winners of regionals are entered into the national final.
6. Theo Paphitis – Small Business Sunday
Small Business Sunday was created by Theo Paphitis on Twitter. Each week, Theo rewards small businesses that tweet him @TheoPaphitis and describe their businesses in one tweet including the hashtag #SBS. Only tweets made in the time slot between 5.00pm and 7.30pm each Sunday count. Every Monday night at 8pm, Theo reviews and chooses his favourite lucky six who are then re-tweeted.
The closing date for nominations is Friday, June 7. The 2019 Women in Business Awards is on Thursday, October 3 in Reading, Berkshire.
Best awards for freelancers
If the thought of competing on a national level with large businesses is a little off-putting, there are many awards out there that are perhaps more suited if you are a freelancer or self-employed.
Here are a few ideas:
1. IPSE Freelancer Awards
IPSE (Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed) awards are designed to celebrate not only the country’s best and brightest freelancers, but also all the organisations and individuals supporting the world of freelancing.
The deadline for the applications is Friday 29 March. Applicants that make it to the shortlist will be invited to our judging day event on Thursday 9 May in London. The winners will then be announced at our Award ceremony taking place on Thursday 13 June.
2. Pick Yourself
The PickYourself #SelfStarterStories exist to support small business entrepreneurs and freelancers tell their stories. Each published story will enter into an annual competition where their network will vote for their most inspiring story.
Each published story qualifies for the PickYourself UK Small Business Entrepreneur of the year award, voted for by the public.
Entries close on 15 October 2019, voting takes place from 1 November 2019, and voting closes on 30 November 2019 at midnight. The 2019 Winner will be announced on the Pick Yourself UK website on Saturday, 7 December 2019 at 7pm GMT.
3. The Small Awards
The Small Awards are targeted at the whole small business sector, focusing on businesses often overlooked by other awards.
Awards cost £40 to enter. Entries will close on March 31st, 2019. The Small Awards will take place on May 9th, 2019 in central London.
It’s your time to shine
Whilst this list is not exhaustive, hopefully it’s given you a flavour of the kinds of awards that are out there. Putting yourself forward for awards may seem daunting, or even a little bit icky, but they are a brilliant way of sharing your story with a wider audience and gaining some amazing exposure.
If you know of someone who works tirelessly at their business and deserves a boost, why not nominate them?
Have you spotted an award that looks good that is not included in our list? Have you applied to business awards before and can you share any words of wisdom about the process?
We’d love to hear from you, especially if you have a personal story of applying to a business award.