Ackrill Media Group Business Awards 2013 launched

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We are delighted to launch the Ackrill Media Group Business Awards

Now in their eighth year, the Awards celebrate the very best of the district’s businesses and enterprising individuals.

Winners at last year's awards ceremony.

Winners at last year's awards ceremony.

The awards are open to companies and business men and women who are based in the circulation area of the Ackrill Media Group’s five newspapers: the Harrogate Advertiser, Wetherby News, Ripon Gazette, Knaresborough Post and Nidderdale Herald.

To enter the Ackrill Media Group Business Awards 2013 click here

Since their launch in 2005, the awards have become a firm date in the local business calendar, with last year’s gala dinner attracting more than 420 business people from across the district and beyond. This year’s event takes place on Thursday April 25 in Hall D at the Harrogate International Centre. Entries are invited across 13 categories and the closing date for entries is noon on March 4 2013.

There will be full details of how to enter, and profiles of all our sponsors in next Thursday’s Business Monthly supplement.

For more information, call Ginny Long on 01423 707 402 or email

The categories are as follows:

Young Entrepreneur of the Year

This is open to those aged 30 years or under on March 3 2013 and seeks the man or woman who has shown a high degree of entrepreneurship and vision for the future. The winner will clearly demonstrate his/her business idea and start-up process, giving evidence of a well researched business plan and forecasts for business performance. The Young Entrepreneur of the Year will, in the opinion of the judges, have excellent potential to succeed in the longer term with a well defined and innovative vision for the future.

Best Rural Business

The winner of this category is likely to have its roots in food, farming or agriculture. Judges will be looking for a business that contributes to the rural economy and community, has successfully steered it’s way through the recession and can demonstrate effective marketing and a strong future.

Tourism Award

This award will be presented to the organisation that can demonstrate the most significant contribution to improving the district’s offering as a tourism destination over the past year and is open to any organisation connected to leisure or business tourism. Examples of contribution could be a marketing campaign or strategy which has attracted more visitors to Harrogate District, a refurbishment programme, examples of excellent customer service or partnership work. The winner will need to present tangible evidence of their specific contribution to Harrogate and District tourism.

Employee of the Year

This category recognises an individual who has made a significant contribution to his or her company, whether through the innovation of a new product or service, through an idea which has led to greater efficiencies in the operation of the company or simply by ‘being the best’ in terms of continually showing unrivalled service to customers and clients. Entrants may nominate themselves or be entered for this category by managers and colleagues.

Employer of the Year

This award recognises the business that has shown pre-eminent commitment to the development and welfare of its people, by encouraging communication, creativity and proactivity throughout the organisation. The winner will be able to show that it appreciates that genuine commitment to and trust in its people leads to success in business, as well as a fulfilling and stimulating working environment. The winner may well have sought external accreditation of its position by achieving Investors in People or other independently audited quality standards.

Best Small Company of the Year (1 to 10 employees)

This award is for smaller businesses that can demonstrate dynamism, commitment to growth and success in achieving planned objectives. Successful entrants will be able to demonstrate a clearly defined vision for developing and growing the business in terms of both turnover and employment. While demonstrating entrepreneurial characteristics, successful organisations will have systems in place to measure performance effectively, particularly financial controls. Staff development and involvement of the workforce will be a key characteristic of the winner, as will strong focus on the customer, with evidence of customer satisfaction and continued commitment to exceeding customer expectations.

Best Medium-Sized Company (11 to 50 employees)

This award will be presented to the company that has passed the initial phase in its development and is now looking to consolidate its position within its market sector. Entrants will demonstrate how they plan to further develop the organisation in terms of both turnover and employment and will also be judged on their achievements thus far in growing their business both financially and in terms of staff development. They will show a creative and innovative approach in the pursuit of further development, including a strengthening leadership and employee base, and a commitment to exceeding customer expectations.

Best Large Company of the Year (over 50 employees)

This category is aimed at larger businesses which have successfully grown their organisation. The company culture will demonstrate an approach to business based on encouraging employee development, creativity and empowerment. Employees will demonstrate strong proactive relationships with customers and suppliers and a shared ambition to optimise business performance. Strong leadership and clearly defined strategic objectives will have shaped the company’s growth and development. Entrants should be able to present a strong performance record and explain how their business differentiates itself from competitors.

Best Company Website of the Year

Judges will be looking for a website that encompasses excellence in content - which is not just text, but may also be music, sound, animation or video - good navigation offering easy access to the breadth and depth of content, good quality visual design relevant to the audience and the message it is supporting, good functionality and good interactivity.

The Harrogate Borough Council Award

Harrogate Borough Council is delighted to be able to demonstrate its support to local businesses and continue its sponsorship of an Award and at this year’s Ackrill Media Group Business Awards. The Harrogate Borough Council Special Award for Community Involvement seeks to publicly acknowledge and celebrate the positive contribution local businesses have made to the district’s economy, community and environment over the past year. In making this award we hope that other companies will be encouraged to adopt a ‘community spirit’ and in turn gain from the many benefits this brings to business and the wider community.

The Council’s strategic vision is, “To make Harrogate district a better place to live, work and visit.” A robust and varied economy, providing employment opportunities for local people, sits at the heart of this ambition, as does our commitment to foster and support the right conditions for business success. Led by the Council’s Economic Development Unit, work focuses on three key areas: encouraging enterprise, increasing investment and promoting regeneration. The Council seeks to establish and develop mutually beneficial relationships between the public, private, voluntary and community sectors. Our broad remit enables us to bring together a wide range of interested organisations to maximise the benefits of information sharing and partnership working with the common aim of strengthening the economy of the district as a whole.

The winner of this year’s Harrogate Borough Council Special Award for Community Involvement will not only have enjoyed success as a business, they will have actively gone that ‘extra mile’ to put something back into their local community. Whether making positive steps to improve the local environment, supporting or participating in voluntary activities and/or engaging with young people, the award winner and all other entrants are to be congratulated on their work in our community.

Business Personality of the Year Award

This category recognises the individual who has made an outstanding contribution in 2010 to their own company or organisation through innovation, entrepreneurship, vision and leadership. He or she will have had a demonstrable effect on their organisation’s performance towards achieving targets. He or she will be focussed on results and successes, and show real dynamism and flair. The individual may also have a high profile in the wider Harrogate and district business community, contributing to the success of business organisations and charity support networks. Individuals may enter themselves or anyone can nominate an individual for this category.

Lifetime Achievement Award

This is our highest accolade and we invite the business community of the Harrogate district to send us their nominations for the businessman or businesswoman who is most admired. The recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award will have been running a highly successful company or companies in this district for a considerable time. He or she may be respected for their vision and tenacity in their early business years, or for their ability to innovate, have a clear focus and continuously stay ahead of their competitors over a long period. He or she may have produced a ground breaking product or service, or be admired for their leadership skills alone. The Lifetime Achievement Award is likely to be awarded to an individual who has also contributed to the wider business community and to the charitable sector as well.

The Green Business Award

This category is open to all businesses in the region which demonstrate a strategic, comprehensive and innovative approach to integrating environmental strategy into all core business processes.

Submissions may include:

details of best practice adopted to ensure environmental awareness throughout the business

ways sought and found to minimise the impact of operations on the environment ways in which the local community has been enhanced or protected any “green” partnerships that may have been forged