One of the many pleasures in taking part in awards is the celebration event – especially the dinners!
It is often one of the big staples of the events calendar. These provide a great opportunity for the industry to come together, to share ideas, to celebrate. It’s a chance to truly let our hair down.
This past year or so, awards celebration nights have gone virtual. That in itself has posed challenges for organisers. How do they coordinate attendance and keep a sense of celebration online?
I think all the awards organisers have done amazingly well in the circumstances. The coordination of interviews, judging and then virtual celebrations have gone exceptionally smoothly across the board. One case in point, amongst many others, has been the range of Sunday Times Fast Track celebrations.
Recently, I attended the 24th Sunday Times Profit Track awards. It was special for two reasons. Firstly, there were some great speakers and insights. Secondly, it was also the final one! In the current climate, changes in awards programmes and a degree of uncertainty led organisers to make the tough decision.
So, it was quite emotional as you could imagine – after 24 years. It also featured some powerful, engaging speeches. The BEIS Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, talked about this awards programme being a community of “100 of the most innovative companies in the country”.
It was a great feeling to be part of such a prestigious list. He went on to refer to it “as a list full of character, quality and purpose!” Powerful and humbling words.
There’s a real diversity of businesses in that Profit Track list. It demonstrates the breadth and depth and range of business success across the country. With gyms and brewers, manufacturers, accountants, consultancies… the range of private businesses is impressive.
Then we heard from Richard Branson himself, founder of the Virgin Group. As a main supporter of the awards for so long, it was again an emotional farewell.
Looking incredibly fit and healthy for his age of 70 years, he talked about the end of an era and the importance of celebration. He reminisced about holding the very first one 24 years ago in his garden with a marquee. In that 24-year period, the businesses highlighted had created tens of thousands of jobs and a network of collaborators.
It was interesting to hear his thoughts. You could sense his priority and passion was now the planet and sustainability. He spoke of how this agenda needed to be at front and centre for every company.
He referred to the importance of government, but reflected that they could only go so far.
This he said was a “vitally important period in our history.” His thinking moved to focusing on a clean energy dividend. He felt it would appeal to businesses more than widely unpopular carbon taxes.
A clean energy dividend, he felt, could “be imposed on the fossil fuels businesses’ use and the carbon emissions they cause. The dividend could be the equivalent percentage that a carbon tax would have been, and based on cutting pollution at the rate the climate science shows is necessary”.
His explanation of the difference was interesting. The dividend would go towards clean energy projects like wind and solar parks, the development of more low-carbon fuels and other innovations that could disrupt the market. This, he felt, would not only reduce emissions, but lead to jobs creation and lower energy costs.
These were thoughts of an innovator and an entrepreneur who has constantly pushed the boundaries and has thought outside the box. That is the inspiration of awards events: the motivation!
This motivation continued again this week when our business and its CEO, were highlighted as finalists in three categories of the prestigious Lloyds Bank British Business Excellence Awards, 2021. The categories were: The LDC Entrepreneur of the Year award (CEO, Fokhrul Islam) plus the Technology Innovation and Mid-Market Business of the Year awards.
Again this is an inspiring period and one to reflect on, acknowledging all the hard work of the business, and not least its inspiring leadership from the CEO.
It’s great to measure success by reaching the finals, and even better to win! But the thinking and actions of businesses are equally important as a measure of their success.
By David Bootle
David Bootle is Global Head of Corporate Marketing for Northern Gas and Power, part of Global Procurement Group. Formally a national news journalist, David has extensive experience of international marketing and an equally extensive network of media, broadcast and advertising contacts. With Northern Gas and Power, David has provided positive brand profile with trade and international media, Chambers of Commerce and the CBI to name a few.