Best Start-up Enterprise of the Year Award

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Category Description

This award is aimed at any enterprise with a trading start date no earlier than January 2020 (incorporation date can be earlier if evidence of later trading commencement is provided), which has a purpose driven product or service and a holistic approach to innovative and leadership within their sector.

The product or service can be anything that demonstrates positive social or environmental impact across any sector.

The judging panel will be looking for details on how and why the start-up enterprise was created, its goals and ethos and how the need for the business or sustainable service was identified; with verifiable examples of the business ethos in practice. The business will also need to demonstrate what start-up challenges were overcome and how they were managed.

Judges will take into consideration:- evidence of environmentally-friendlier business practices including waste prevention, recycling, energy efficiency and water conservation; the enhancement of employee well-being within and out of the workplace; supply chain processes; social value and the use of technology (if relevant).

We request a total word count of 1500 words +/-10% (excl. supporting docs). Any confidential data will be treated as such and only shared with the judging panel.


Judges will be looking for evidence of the following points within the supplied application form (weighting percentages in brackets):

  1. Details of the product or service innovation, why and how it was developed, its goals and ethos and how a need was identified for the product or service; (30%)
  2. Evidence and effectiveness of the product or service and the market demand for it; along with the verifiable reductions to the environment, or the positive social impact to the community in which the product or service is delivered; (35%)
  3. Whether it is a unique / patented service or whether it encourages and leads the sharing of best practices; (10%)
  4. Awareness raising to promote and support the environmental and / or social benefits of the product or service incl. market reaction, industry awards won, press coverage gained; (150%)
  5. Potential for further replication / launch of related products or services; (10%)

PLEASE NOTE: The criteria above are different to the questions in the application form. You will need to follow the application questions; cross-referencing these with the criteria to ensure you’ve captured them within your application. The criteria are followed by the judges in order to compare all entries in each category like-for-like, Please ensure you register / login to AwardStage (Opens 1st Feb), select the category and export a PDF copy of the questions. Some category application questions differ. The application questions will be available four weeks before entries open, so if you wish to get them ahead of time please email us.

Are we eligible to enter?

Our awards programme is open to all organisations of any kind… companies large and small, charities, not-for-profits, social enterprises, NGOs, membership and accreditation organisations and government departments including local and county councils. We are all about rewarding sustainability practice – in all its forms. So if your organisation is making a difference, directly or indirectly to people and planet, you’re eligible.

We don’t just recognise businesses that are operating responsibly, or supporting / partnering with worthwhile causes. We also actively encourage entries from organisations that have been specifically set up or adapted to offer a product or service that tackles a social or environmental problem.

Our category descriptions and criteria have been written to guide entrants on what content should be detailed in their entries. However, we do not expect square pegs to fit in round holes… Some of your business activities or dedicated programmes might not fit entirely with any one specific category. In these cases, the descriptions and criteria are open to an element of interpretation and rest assured that our judges will still take into account entries that are strongly aligned with the overall context of the category.

If you have any concerns about the suitability of your entry, or would like to discuss your activities in more detail, we are here to help. Give Karen a call on 07813 718541 or email us.