Judging at the UK Business Awards 2017

Following a successful time as a judge at last year’s UK Business Awards, I was eager to judge again at this year’s awards. It is a fantastic opportunity to network with people who have different experiences, backgrounds and skills and is ultimately a really worthwhile learning opportunity.

Similarly, to last year, I was asked by Awards International if I would like to judge again and once that was sorted, I picked my potential categories, which was a tough given the quality of choice. Last year my categories were Operational Excellence and Sustainability. This year my category was Entrepreneurship and I was asked to chair the panel, which was another great opportunity and a new experience.

As always, the event was really well organised by Awards International, we had the written entries to score in advance of the event and the day itself ran very smoothly. The written entries are the first opportunity for the entrants to showcase what they have achieved, like last year all were of a high standard, well written and clearly showing how what they had done influenced organisational performance.

The awards were held at Wembley stadium this year, which was a superb venue and ideal for the event. Following an early start and arrival at the venue, the judges were shown to our individual judging rooms (each of which had a nice view of the playing field) and given a timetable of who would be presenting. The presentations in my judging category were of an equally high standard and you can only admire the skills of the people presenting. I was also able to watch presentations from other categories when I had a gap in my judging schedule and it was really interesting to see such a diverse range of businesses. We currently live in an age if uncertainty, but one certainty is, based on this event, is that there are some really great businesses out there at various stages of evolution. Entrepreneurship, enterprise and technology continues to challenge and push the boundaries.

You really can learn a great deal, not only about different business but also how to deliver an engaging presentation (I am first to admit presenting in front of people is a development area for me).  I always admire anyone who can deliver a well informed and engaging pitch and like last year everyone delivered to an excellent standard.

So, in terms of what I took away from being part of this event;

  • A valuable networking experience where I met some more great people and met several potential business associates
  • A networking is always what you make of it. If you make the effort to speak to people and go with the mind set of what you can give rather than just what you can get, you will have a worthwhile experience
  • A good written and stand up presentation needs to cover what you do, how you do it and what the result is in terms of measureable added stakeholder value
  • Be prepared for any question the judges may throw at you

There are a lot of networking events out there and as with any event of this kind, you have to feel you are able to add something for everyone else who attends and also feel that you will get something out of it. I believe that you get a massive amount out of taking part in an event like this (I certainly wouldn’t have gone back a second time if I didn’t) and if you are thinking about it, I would go for it, you won’t regret it.