The Donegal Enterprise Awards are among the most prestigious awards a small business in the county can win, and with entries now open for the 2017 awards in March, if you are in business then entering is something you really should consider.
When it comes to the Donegal Enterprise Awards, it’s not just winning that counts so here’s 5 reasons why we believe small businesses in Donegal should enter.
Go For It
People will often look at the advertisements and think they should enter – and then don’t. Why not buck that trend this year and just go for it? There is no cost to enter the awards and it is a cost-effective way to thank and recognise employees and to build your brand. What’s more there are cash prizes to be won with the overall winner set to claim €2,500 and each of the category winners winning €1,500. Even if you don’t have employees you can enter – there is a good range of categories and you have as much chance as the next to win one of them!
How’s the form?
The entry form for the awards is straightforward, but there is still much to learn for any business entering because the answers you give must be genuine. For you to provide those answers often means looking at your business with a different perspective and you may well spot an opportunity that prompts improvements. Every year entrants – even those who don’t win – say that the process was invaluable to them going forward because it forced them to re-examine things they do well, but also things they have not done well and that has helped them plan for the future.
The Enterprise Award process is not a popularity contest and a business plan forms part of application. The judging process is rigorous – but very fair – and asking for a business plan gives you the chance to update your business plan or create a new one. Most people start out with a business plan at some point, but it often gets ignored in the day to day running of the business. Irrespective of the final outcome, going back to that document will give you the chance to refresh your vision of where your business is going.
Customers will always look for credibility when they are deciding to do business and in Donegal there are no more credible or coveted titles for small business to win than the annual Enterprise Awards. As a result, even getting short-listed lets people know that you’ve been through a rigorous process and can help shape perceptions of who you are and what you do. The increased credibility can (and has) help secure new contracts, find new supply channels and break into new markets.
Raise your profile
Being on the Local Enterprise Donegal Enterprise Awards short-list is great PR because it demonstrates that your business is excelling. The awards can help serve to highlight areas of your business of which you are exceptionally proud, but even in preparing your nominations you’ll research and write compelling stories of achievement that you can use in other ways. Attending the business awards evening is also a great networking opportunity, and a perfect way of boosting morale as well as just being a great night out. There is no doubt that just attending can create opportunities that lead to business success.
The Donegal Enterprise Awards competition is open to all business sectors in Donegal that employ less than 50 full-time staff, with the exception of previous county winners who are not eligible to enter. A business does not need to have had any previous contact with the Local Enterprise Office to enter the awards.
This year’s competition will see awards presented in the following categories:
• Overall Winner
• Best Established Business
• Best Start Up Business (18 months or less)
• Innovation Award
From these a representative will be chosen to represent Donegal at the National Enterprise Awards Final.
The application form, guidelines for the judging criteria, marking system and competition guidelines are all available to download from the Donegal Local Enterprise Office website: