The Social Enterprise Awards NI 2019 are now open for entries. David Hunter; CEO of Access Employment Ltd winner of both the Leader of the Year and Social Enterprise of the Year 2018 helped Social Enterprise NI Director, Colin Jess to launch this year’s Awards. Could your social enterprise be a winner this year?
The Awards will be held on Friday 11th October and will be hosted by UTV’s Paul Clark. This year sees the Awards move to the Crown Plaza Hotel, Belfast where 450 + guests from across the social enterprise, private and public sectors will come together to showcase all that is good with Social Enterprise here in Northern Ireland.
If you are a Private or Public sector organisation and either work in partnership with social enterprises or include them in your supply chain you could be eligible to apply for the Stakeholder Award.
The 13 Award Categories are:
• NI Social Enterprise 2018
• One to Watch
• Social Impact
• Consumer facing Social Enterprise
• Education Training and Jobs
• Health & Social Care
• Housing Association of the Year – Community Impact
• Credit Union of the Year – Community Impact
• Social Enterprise Stakeholder of the Year
• Local Council of the Year – Social Enterprise Strategy/Development
• Social Enterprise – Employee/Volunteer of the Year*
• Young Entrepreneur of the Year (NEW)*
• Social Enterprise Leader of the Year*
(*Please note separate forms apply to these categories)
Download the Application form via the Links below and return to email@example.com. Contact Amanda with any queries on completing your application forms.
Have you crossed the line from hobby into business? Have a few hours at the weekend gradually crept up? Are you noticing that the initial pocket money coming in has grown and things are becoming increasingly profitable? It could be time to set new priorities and allocate more time to your activities. Don’t leave things to chance. Through the ‘Go For It’ programme one of our business advisers can help you to put together a business plan. Together we can find out if you have a viable business on your hands. We can help you to set goals, put processes and procedures in place and plan for the future. Did you realise that if you are earning more than £1000 in a tax year you need to be registered with HMRC. If your earnings are less than £1000 but you are employed either part or full time, you will need to make HMRC aware of your earnings. Even if it turns out that you have no tax to pay, it’s best to keep yourself right for peace of mind if nothing else. Depending on what activities you are engaged with, you may also need to register with your local council and notify your insurance providers of your change in circumstances to ensure you have adequate cover.
If you want to ensure that nothing falls between the cracks it’s worth preparing a business plan. This process is much more than number crunching. It’s about looking at your business goals, defining your target audience, identifying your competitors , setting your pricing plan, looking at the legislation that is relevant to your industry sector and making sure that you comply, finding out what insurance cover your require, examining the various marketing options available to you and obviously checking out whether the numbers stack up to make it a viable business venture long term. Our advisers will help you to access market reports for your industry sector giving you valuable insights which will help you in forward planning. Another advantage of ‘Go For It’ is access to a free programme of workshops in areas such as digital marketing and book – keeping.
The ‘Go For It’ programme is on- going so if you feel you’ve reached the point where you could have a business on your hands and you’d like help with a business plan get in touch Tel 028 3839 6520 or email Kirsty.firstname.lastname@example.org and we will book you a FREE appointment with one of our business advisers
Business plan support available through the Go For It programme
With an ever growing number of Awards each year and the time constraints we face juggling a busy workload, can we really justify the time and effort required to submit an entry?
To answer this question, it’s worth looking at what rewards or benefits come from being shortlisted as a finalist or being selected as a winner. Are the Awards in question recognised across your industry sector?; are they valued by your peers and more importantly by your customers? Winning an Award or even being shortlisted as a finalist can equate to a ringing endorsement for your company, positioning your business as a leader or innovator in your field and increasing your credibility. This can help you to stand out amongst your competitors, win new customers and retain current clients You can add it to your list of credentials when putting together bids to win work or investment.
Many Business Awards have a range of categories and no limits to how many you can enter. By all means enter every category you are eligible for, but if you are up against time constraints choose the category which most closely aligns with your business and what it stands for. What do your customers value most? Are they sensitive to environmental impact for example? Show them that you share their values, enter an award that demonstrates your commitment to the environment. Although you may have puts lots of measures in place to reduce your carbon footprint, are your customers aware of this? This is your chance to tell them and to gain the recognition that you deserve.
Do you struggle to attract the top talent within your industry? Winning as Award such as ‘Best Employer’ or ‘Best Contribution to staff training and development’ will make you stand out amongst your competitors and will make you a more attractive employer in the eyes of the talent you are aiming to attract.
Before spending time on your entry have a think about what you want to gain from being shortlisted or winning and put a plan in place for maximum gains. Are you new to the market? Do you want to establish yourself as a leading player? Are you keen to reach new audiences and raise your profile? Reputable business awards can generate significant publicity for your business. Managed correctly this exposure can last for weeks or even months but to take full advantage it’s best to have a plan in place from the outset. Is there someone in place to manage your social channels? Do the Awards have a hasttag that you can use on your posts? How will you link your social posts back to your website, and is your website up to scratch? This could be an opportunity to attract increased traffic to your website – the last thing you want to do is to disappoint potential customers once they arrive there. Find out if there’s a finalist or winner’s logo which you can use in your marketing. Comments from the judges about why you were nominated or why you won can be used as quotes in press releases, however check if you need permission.
Does your business have great customer service? Have you created an outstanding innovation? Or perhaps you are a fantastic employer. Whatever your strengths, you need to shout about them to make sure potential customers choose you over your competitors. That’s where business awards come in.
Awards provide a valuable opportunity to interact and forge new business partnerships or relationships with other business leaders within your sector. They can often put you in front of influential contacts whose attention you might otherwise struggle to attract.
Winning awards also boosts staff morale. If your staff are at the centre of your business success make sure you involve them and give them ownership of the Award. Recognising that your employees hard work and achievements are part of the winning formula is something that can be built into your internal communications. Increased morale and motivation will improve output and will ultimately improve your bottom line.
Research by the British Quality Foundation and the European Foundation for Quality Management has shown that award-winning companies outperformed comparison companies by an average of 17% for sales and 36% for share value after just 3 years so more proof that spending a bit of time honing your Award entry can pay off.
If you don’t win this time, you can use the entry process as a learning experience. Take a look at those companies who were nominated as finalists and those who were crowned as winners. Use them as your benchmark. Preparing your entry will force you to take a closer look at your business, examine what you’re trying to achieve, define your core values and look at where you want to position yourself. As such, it will never be time wasted, regardless of your success.
With all this in mind, you might want to consider entering the Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Business Awards 2019. Entries are open until 5:00pm on Friday 10th May 2019. CIDO are proud to be joint sponsors of Best New Business Award but there are 13 categories in total. Full details can be found on the council’s website
A year on from the start of the Exploring Enterprise 4 Programme at CIDO, we’ve been following up with our participants and have been encouraged by our findings. Over 50% of those who took part in the programme are now in employment or self -employment. Of the remaining participants, a significant number have moved into further training or voluntary work. Of the 24% engaged in job search, a number are currently interviewing for jobs.
In addition to the workshops delivered as part of this programme, and the qualification gained (level one certificate in Understanding Business Enterprise) the one to one mentoring is another invaluable aspect of this programme and is often the final push needed to enable our participants to move on to the next level whether that be employment or further training. Our business adviser Kirsty Watson can assist participants in identifying further training opportunities, fine tuning their CVs, as well as providing guidance with job searches and job applications. Kirsty has also provided assistance and advice for candidates who are preparing for interviews.
Recruitment for the next Exploring Enterprise programme will commence in April/May. If you are interested in enrolling to take part or would like further details please contact Kirsty.email@example.com
More information on the Exploring Enterprise programme can be found here
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