How to win a Queen’s Award for Enterprise

How to win a Queen’s Award for Enterprise

Rebecca Carpenter

Managing Consultant, Boost

Entering The Queen’s Award for Enterprise

We like to call The Queen’s Award for Enterprise ‘the mother of all awards’. To win a Queen’s Award brings unparallelled prestige, exposure and recognition, with many recognising it as the highest UK official award for businesses. Anyone who could win an award from HM Queen Elizabeth II would certainly be mad not to try. Think what it would feel like to say, “We are Queen’s Award winners”. 

Inevitably such an accolade is highly competitive and requires a lot of preparation. Having personally helped with more than 20 winning entries, I hope this article will help you decide whether you COULD win an award, and if so, HOW to do so.

The scheme

The Queen’s Award for Enterprise truly is the most credible UK award out there. It has an entry deadline of 12th September this year (a welcome 11 days later than last year) and comes with a host of benefits, such as:

  • Being able to fly the logo as a flag above your office for five years and use the emblem on your marketing materials.
  • A site visit from Royal representatives to present the award.
  • Invites for a leader and frontline staff member to a Royal reception at Buckingham Palace.
  • Being given a Grant of Appointment and a commemorative crystal bowl.

All this from an award which has no entry or ceremony fees associated with it. Surely with so much on offer for so little, every business should try and win the award?

Rebecca Carpenter

Managing Consultant, Boost

Entering The Queen’s Award for Enterprise

We like to call The Queen’s Award for Enterprise ‘the mother of all awards’. To win a Queen’s Award brings unparallelled prestige, exposure and recognition, with many recognising it as the highest UK official award for businesses. Anyone who could win an award from HM Queen Elizabeth II would certainly be mad not to try. Think what it would feel like to say, “We are Queen’s Award winners”.  

Inevitably such an accolade is highly competitive and requires a lot of preparation. Having personally helped with more than 20 winning entries, I hope this article will help you decide whether you COULD win an award, and if so, HOW to do so.

The scheme

The Queen’s Award for Enterprise truly is the most credible UK award out there. It has an entry deadline of 12th September this year (a welcome 11 days later than last year) and comes with a host of benefits, such as:

  • Being able to fly the logo as a flag above your office for five years and use the emblem on your marketing materials.
  • A site visit from Royal representatives to present the award.
  • Invites for a leader and frontline staff member to a Royal reception at Buckingham Palace.
  • Being given a Grant of Appointment and a commemorative crystal bowl.

All this from an award which has no entry or ceremony fees associated with it. Surely with so much on offer for so little, every business should try and win the award?

Should you apply for a Queen’s Award?

Firstly… could your business win?

Well, the awards have four categories, and each is looking for something very specific indeed. There is no limit on the number of Queen’s Award winners in each category. We have distilled criteria into four scenarios below; if any of these describe your business then you really should consider entering.

 

  1. Innovation: You invented and manufacture a physical product which has seen two financial years of outstanding sales. The organisers say they recognise service innovation too, but historically almost all of these awards go to product innovations so you would have to have an extremely outstanding service innovation to win here.

  2. Sustainable development: You are the leaders in environmental sustainability within your sector (you can define sector however you wish) AND your business has seen two financial years of strong financial performance.
queen's award

Evidence is key…you need to prove that you are leading your industry in some way. You cannot simply make this claim without compelling evidence to support it.

3. International trade: You are leading your sector in exporting goods or services overseas and have had three financial years of outstanding overall financial performance and growth in exports or six financial years of strong continual growth. (N.B. The majority of last year’s winners were for this category.)

4. Promoting opportunity through social mobility: You have had a social mobility programme running for the past two years and can prove that your organisation has benefited from it financially. The programme has also helped you improve in mentoring youth and providing equal support and progression opportunities.

Should you apply for a Queen’s Award?

Firstly… could your business win?

Well, the awards have four categories, and each is looking for something very specific indeed. There is no limit on the number of Queen’s Award winners in each category. We have distilled criteria into four scenarios below; if any of these describe your business, then you really should consider entering.

 

  1. Innovation: You invented and manufacture a physical product which has seen two financial years of outstanding sales. The organisers say they recognise service innovation too, but historically almost all of these awards go to product innovations, so you would have to have an extremely outstanding service innovation to win here.

  2. Sustainable development: You are the leaders in environmental sustainability within your sector (you can define sector however you wish) AND your business has seen two financial years of strong financial performance.

  3. International trade: You are leading your sector in exporting goods or services overseas and have had three financial years of outstanding overall financial performance and growth in exports or six financial years of strong continual growth. (N.B. The majority of last year’s winners were for this category.)

  4. Promoting opportunity through social mobility: You have had a social mobility programme running for the past two years and can prove that your organisation has benefited from it financially. The programme has also helped you improve in mentoring youth and providing equal support and progression opportunities.
queen's award

Evidence is key…you need to prove that you are leading your industry in some way. You cannot simply make this claim without compelling evidence.

Queen’s Award Winners

One of the great aspects of the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise is the sheer diversity of entrants and winners. In 2018 there were 260 awards given out to a wide range of start-up businesses through to well established multinationals in all different industry sectors. 

The Sustainable Development category for example saw wins for Wessex Water and The Divine Chocolate Company whilst the Promoting Opportunity category saw Busy Bee Nurseries in the childcare sector and five others, win a Queen’s Award.

The International Trade category saw by far the most Queen’s Awards Winners announced (166 by our count) covering a wide range of industries – from Rock School Ltd and its graded qualifications for contemporary musicians, to Gresham Technologies PLC providing data processing and regulatory requirements to the financial services industry. The Queen’s Award Innovation category 2018 had the second largest number of winners at 78, which ranged from established brands like Vitabiotics with its innovations in vitamins and supplements through to smaller younger companies like The Green Sheep Group, who achieved national and international recognition for its nursery products that use natural and organic materials. A link to the full list of 2018 Queen’s Award winners is at the bottom of the article.

So with such exalted company the next question to ask would be…

How to apply for a Queen’s Award

There are three components to the application:

  • The main entry form: This is substantial with a host of financial and business-related fact and stat boxes, followed by lots of sizeable narrative boxes.
  • The declaration of corporate responsibility: This is a big document in its own right (between 1,500 to 2,000 words, depending on the category). In previous years you were able to choose when to submit this declaration (along with the main entry or on shortlisting). However, this has recently changed, and it now must be submitted along with the main form. This is a very important part of the entry and companies not demonstrating corporate responsibility will not be eligible to win an award.
  • Signed endorsement from your accountants: This is required if you are shortlisted for an award. If any errors are picked in your application, then it can hamper your chances, so it is very important that all figures are correct before submitting.

The open-ended sections

Each of the categories has a collection of plain text boxes for you to explain the details of your case for winning.

In these narrative sections, remember that passion and conviction is absolutely welcome, but avoid hyperboles and unsubstantiated marketing speak. Maintain high standards in terms of clarity, prioritise brevity and keep it factual.

Evidence is key here. We often find that clients need additional market research, benchmarking and/or surveys to ensure all their assertions are backed up. The key point here is that you need to prove that you are leading your industry in some way. You cannot simply make this claim without compelling evidence to support it.

Queen’s Award Winners

One of the great aspects of the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise is the sheer diversity of entrants and winners. In 2018 there were 260 awards given out to a wide range of start-up businesses through to well established multinationals in all different industry sectors. 

The Sustainable Development category for example saw wins for Wessex Water and The Divine Chocolate Company whilst the Promoting Opportunity category saw Busy Bee Nurseries in the childcare sector and five others, win a Queen’s Award.

The International Trade category saw by far the most Queen’s Awards Winners announced (166 by our count) covering a wide range of industries – from Rock School Ltd and its graded qualifications for contemporary musicians, to Gresham Technologies PLC providing data processing and regulatory requirements to the financial services industry. The Queen’s Award Innovation category 2018 had the second largest number of winners at 78, which ranged from established brands like Vitabiotics with its innovations in vitamins and supplements through to smaller younger companies like The Green Sheep Group, who achieved national and international recognition for its nursery products that use natural and organic materials. A link to the full list of 2018 Queen’s Award winners is at the bottom of the article.

So with such exalted company the next question to ask would be…

How to apply for a Queen’s Award

There are three components to the application:

  • The main entry form: This is substantial with a host of financial and business-related fact and stat boxes, followed by lots of sizeable narrative boxes.
  • The declaration of corporate responsibility: This is a big document in its own right (between 1,500 to 2,000 words, depending on the category). In previous years you were able to choose when to submit this declaration (along with the main entry or on shortlisting). However, this has recently changed, and it now must be submitted along with the main form. This is a very important part of the entry and companies not demonstrating corporate responsibility will not be eligible to win an award.
  • Signed endorsement from your accountants: This is required if you are shortlisted for an award. If any errors are picked in your application, then it can hamper your chances, so it is very important that all figures are correct before submitting.

The open-ended sections

Each of the categories has a collection of plain text boxes for you to explain the details of your case for winning.

In these narrative sections, remember that passion and conviction is absolutely welcome, but avoid hyperboles and unsubstantiated marketing speak. Maintain high standards in terms of clarity, prioritise brevity and keep it factual.

Evidence is key here. We often find that clients need additional market research, benchmarking and/or surveys to ensure all their assertions are backed up. The key point here is that you need to prove that you are leading your industry in some way. You cannot simply make this claim without compelling evidence to support it.

How to approach your Queen’s Award entry

There are two approaches to applying:

  • Self-nomination: Visit the website, fill in the forms, and hope you did it right and can find the time to do so (it can take anything from 50 to 100 hours to complete the entry, possibly more if you are new to awards).
  • Externally-supported nomination: The same way as you wouldn’t instigate legal proceedings or submit a tax return without expert support, you would be best advised to engage expert help in filling in the substantial paperwork here.

Either way, it is essential that you engage:

  • The leaders within your business, who need to make some important decisions about how to present your case and contribute to their sections.
  • Your Finance Director, who will need to help with the numerous sections of the entry form that relate to finances.
  • Your accountants. As mentioned earlier, they will be needed later, and you can’t risk them spotting an error.
queens award winner

You need to view this like an audit and a project in its own right. Do not enter into it lightly, thinking “This’ll do”. If you drop a couple of marks unnecessarily, then your chance of winning might be delayed for another year – and next year your financials might not be so favourable.

What now?

Please do not think that the 12th September deadline is ages away and you can put this off. A lot of time should be allowed to collect the facts and stats necessary to complete your form, paraphrase it, get it signed off by your leaders and accountants and then submit it.

Your first step is making decisions; firstly, answering the question “Should we apply?” then “Which options shall we select in completing the form?”  

One option taken by a number of businesses is to get their story and financials thoroughly assessed before making a commitment to complete the full application. This ‘look before you leap’ approach is very sensible and will ensure that there are no issues in terms of eligibility or scoring criteria that could mean you should not apply, or maybe leave it a year. If you get the thumbs up, then you can engage colleagues in the processes confident in the knowledge that you might indeed win an award.

If you decide to proceed with an application and have the time and expertise to manage the project and undertake the content writing in house, then click on the link below to go to the application form – and the very best of luck.

If you would like to undertake an assessment or wish to maximise your chances of winning, while minimising the disruption to your workload and workplace, then we recommend you get in touch with us here at Boost. One of our team of experts (mostly full-time payrolled award entry consultants) will be able to help. We’ve been helping businesses enter the Queen’s Awards since 2007, and are more experienced than any other agency in the world when it comes to these awards.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Contact the award entry experts at Boost: http://awards-list.co.uk/contact-boost/

This is the Official Queen’s Award for Enterprise application page: https://www.queens-awards-enterprise.service.gov.uk/users/sign_up

The Queen’s Award blog has many excellent articles and information about previous Queen’s Award winners: https://queensawards.blog.gov.uk/ 

A full list of the 2018 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise winners 2018 can be found here: http://queensawardsmagazine.com/award-winners-2018/ 

Looking for similar awards to enter? Our free list of 3,500+ awards on our Awards List website is the largest resource of its kind. 

How to approach your Queen’s Award entry

There are two approaches to applying:

  • Self-nomination: Visit the website, fill in the forms, and hope you did it right and can find the time to do so (it can take anything from 50 to 100 hours to complete the entry, possibly more if you are new to awards).
  • Externally-supported nomination: The same way as you wouldn’t instigate legal proceedings or submit a tax return without expert support, you would be best advised to engage expert help in filling in the substantial paperwork here.

Either way, it is essential that you engage:

  • The leaders within your business, who need to make some important decisions about how to present your case and contribute to their sections.
  • Your Finance Director, who will need to help with the numerous sections of the entry form that relate to finances.
  • Your accountants. As mentioned earlier, they will be needed later, and you can’t risk them spotting an error.

You need to view this like an audit and a project in its own right. Do not enter into it lightly, thinking “This’ll do”. If you drop a couple of marks unnecessarily, then your chance of winning might be delayed for another year – and next year your financials might not be so favourable.

What now?

Please do not think that the 12th September deadline is ages away and you can put this off. A lot of time should be allowed to collect the facts and stats necessary to complete your form, paraphrase it, get it signed off by your leaders and accountants and then submit it.

Your first step is making decisions; firstly, answering the question “Should we apply?” then “Which options shall we select in completing the form?”  

One option taken by a number of businesses is to get their story and financials thoroughly assessed before making a commitment to complete the full application. This ‘look before you leap’ approach is very sensible and will ensure that there are no issues in terms of eligibility or scoring criteria that could mean you should not apply, or maybe leave it a year. If you get the thumbs up, then you can engage colleagues in the processes confident in the knowledge that you might indeed win an award.

If you decide to proceed with an application and have the time and expertise to manage the project and undertake the content writing in house, then click on the link below to go to the application form – and the very best of luck.

If you would like to undertake an assessment or wish to maximise your chances of winning, while minimising the disruption to your workload and workplace, then we recommend you get in touch with us here at Boost. One of our team of experts (mostly full-time payrolled award entry consultants) will be able to help. We’ve been helping businesses enter the Queen’s Awards since 2007, and are more experienced than any other agency in the world when it comes to these awards.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Contact the award entry experts at Boost: http://awards-list.co.uk/contact-boost/

This is the Official Queen’s Award for Enterprise application page: https://www.queens-awards-enterprise.service.gov.uk/users/sign_up

The Queen’s Award blog has many excellent articles and information about previous Queen’s Award winners: https://queensawards.blog.gov.uk/ 

A full list of the 2018 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise winners 2018 can be found here: http://queensawardsmagazine.com/award-winners-2018/ 

Looking for similar awards to enter? Our free list of 3,500 awards on our Awards List website is the largest resource of its kind. 

Boost – a helping hand entering awards

Boost is the world’s first and largest award entry consultancy, having helped clients, from SMEs to Multinationals, win over 1,100 credible business awards, including many Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. Increase your chances of success significantly – call Boost on +44(0)1273 258703 today for a no-obligation chat about awards.

(C) This article was written by Rebecca Carpenter and is the intellectual property of award entry consultants
Boost Awards

boost award entry writers

Boost – a helping hand entering awards

Boost is the world’s first and largest award entry consultancy, having helped clients, from SMEs to Multinationals, win over 1,100 credible business awards, including many Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. Increase your chances of success significantly – call Boost on +44(0)1273 258703 today for a no-obligation chat about awards.

(C) This article was written by Rebecca Carpenter and is the intellectual property of award entry consultants
Boost Awards

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