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The Inspire Business Awards – Celebrating Business in Hampshire

celebrating a win at inspire business awards in hampshireAs independent SME businesses, we measure our success in a number of ways. This includes reviewing financial statements, rating customer satisfaction and assessing business growth. However, it can be a lonely business running a small company, even with the support and connections offered by business networking. That’s why awards ceremonies are so important, as they celebrate the success of local businesses and are a superb way for companies to be recognised for excellence.

If your business is based in Hampshire, then there’s one calendar date in the awards season that should definitely be on your calendar – the INSPIRE Business Awards. Winning an award, or being a finalist, is an excellent way to raise your company’s profile. It will also will lend credibility and help your business gain attention from potential customers, investors and business partners.

Here’s more information on the awards ceremony, what is stands for and how it can help local businesses:

Who Runs the INSPIRE Business Awards?

The INSPIRE Business Awards are run by Destination Basingstoke and recognise and showcase business excellence in North Hampshire. First established in 2005, the glittering black tie event takes place annually and is regarded as the premier awards ceremony in the area. It’s always a hugely successful event, with some 500 guests attending each year, representing hundreds of companies.

Who are the Awards for?

The INSPIRE Business Awards is a not for profit event, and has been created with the sole aim of celebrating the success of local businesses in the region, in turn promoting north Hampshire as a key area for business. The awards are open to all business owners in the region, and there are multiple categories available depending on the size and nature of your business (full terms and conditions for each category can be found on the entry forms).

These awards provide businesses with the opportunity to gain the recognition they deserve, offering a superb platform for SME’s to connect and nurture business growth. Receiving an accolade is also a fantastic way to reward the dedication and commitment of the staff. The ceremony does tend to sell out, however, so our advice is to book early!

What Region does the Award Ceremony Cover?

The awards are open to applications from businesses based across North Hampshire. The area covered spans from Fleet and Farnborough to the east of the region, across Basingstoke and to the western edge of the county at Andover. In order to enter you must pay business rates to one of the following local authorities:

  • Hart District Council
  • Rushmoor Borough Council
  • Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
  • Test Valley Borough Council

Award Categories

When it comes to the award categories, there’s definitely something for everyone. Moreover, the awards aren’t just for the businesses, there are also awards for individuals who excel in their field.

Award categories include:

  • Small Business of the Year Award
  • Business and the Community Award
  • Service Excellence Award
  • New Business of the Year Award
  • Medium Business of the Year Award
  • Employer of the Year Award
  • Young Business Person of the Year Award
  • Excellence in Digital Technology Award
  • Hospitality Business of the Year Award
  • Large Business of the Year Award
  • Apprentice of the Year Award
  • Environmental Responsibility Award
  • Innovation Excellence Award

How to Enter

Entry is free, and the forms can be found on the INSPIRE Awards website. There’s also some really useful support information available to help you complete the entry form, with great tips on the best way to showcase the business. You can nominate another business or enter your own company, and each entrance has a 1000 word limit, so choose your words carefully! In order to maximise your chances of success, a good tip is to enter more than one category. According to the organisers, all entries are handled with the strictest confidence and are not made available beyond the judging panel.

Award entries usually open in May and close in September, the first round of judging then takes place and the finalists are announced in October. Round two of the judging then commences, which includes a 30-minute meeting between the finalists and the judges. The winners are announced at the Awards ceremony, which takes place mid-November.

Finalists receive a free ticket to attend the prestigious event, all other tickets can be bought individually or as a whole table.

Sponsorship Opportunities

As is the case for most award ceremonies, the INSPIRE Business Awards encourages businesses to become event sponsors. This is a great way to raise your profile in the business community and be a part of something special that drives excellence in your region. The sponsorship package costs £3,700 plus VAT, and benefits include numerous marketing and publicity opportunities, plus you’ll also be involved in the judging process. A table for ten will also be provided at the Awards dinner. This includes a three course meal, wine with dinner and a champagne reception, so you can enjoy the event as well as do some all-important networking.

For more information on this event, consult the INSPIRE Awards website. You can also stay up to date on proceedings via twitter, Facebook or can sign up to a newsletter.

We think you’ll agree, the awards ceremony is a fantastic way to celebrate and promote business in our region of Hampshire. It’s also well timed, taking place just before Christmas and is a wonderful way to wrap up the year. We definitely plan to go, hopefully see you there!

Samantha Hathway
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