The prestigious Cherwell Business Awards were officially launched on Tuesday, November 20, with a presentation and networking event at Banbury’s Norbar.
Now in their eighth year the awards have become a much anticipated event on the business calendar.
This year’s categories include Established Business and New Business Awards plus the coveted Overall Cherwell Winner, selected from all of the category winners.
New for this year is the Sustainable Business Award which is seeking nominations and applications from companies which promote and support the protection and/or improvement of the environment or deliver a product or service to customers with sustainable principles at its core.
The judging panel will look for evidence of continuing waste or emission reduction, employees who embrace consideration for the environment, management support for sustainability initiatives within the business and the wider community or innovative products or services that are designed with sustainability in mind.
Absent last year but returning this year is the amended ‘Apprenticeship and Training Award’.
Long time champion of apprenticeship schemes and Cherwell Business Award director, Paddy Paterson, said: “We had the apprenticeship award for a number of years through the Oxfordshire Apprenticeships Service. We stopped that last year as the sponsor decided not to renew their sponsorship.
“We had a number of queries as a result, people asking why we don’t have an apprenticeship award as apprenticeships are increasingly being looked at by businesses and a lot of businesses success has been as a result of its ability to upscale employees.
“One of the things that came up when we were running the apprenticeship award was companies saying ‘we train up staff, they’re not on formal apprenticeship schemes but we train them inhouse, some of them get qualifications so we’re supporting training but not within apprenticeships, it’s a shame we cannot be recognised by this award.’”
The new reformatted Apprenticeship and Training Award rectifies this imbalance and is open to a large pool of prospective Cherwell employers.
Paddy said: “We’ve opened it up to companies offering professional accredited training within the business, companies that have really good inhouse schemes that are unique to their business.
“It could be everyone from entry level positions right through to people who are seasoned professionals who recognise that lifelong learning is something they need to embrace.”
The awards have grown exponentially since their inception in 2011 in both the number of entries and the gravitas an award win means.
Placi Espejo, chair of the awards board, said: “We had 130 people at the first awards dinner and last year we had 260 so we have doubled in numbers.
“We have a lot more promotion, we get asked to go and talk about the awards themselves. The category finalists, not just the winners are more enthusiastic about promoting the awards.
“To be nominated is to get recognised for something that you do. To be shortlisted, and I know it is a cliché, but you’re a winner already as we get hundreds of entries.”
Award nominations can be submitted until January 6 while award applications can be submitted from November 27 until January 31. The award gala will be held on May 10 at Heythrop Park.
For more info visit www.cherwellbusinessawards.co.uk