Listed below are the categories you can enter; we’ve got something for everyone! If you think your business has got what it takes, read the criteria thoroughly and start your entry here.
All companies must fulfil the following general criteria for entry as well as the specific category criteria:
- Have started to trade no earlier than 1 August 2013.
- Be ‘independently owned’. This is defined as a business which is substantially owned by its founders and/or a group of independent investors, is not quoted on AIM or any other stock market; and is not a subsidiary or associated company of another business.
- Be UK based.
For every category the judges are looking for a great business. Those with excellent potential will always rank more highly in the final reckoning. This will be based on revenue growth, profitability, and major client wins.
This category is chosen by the judges as the best of all our other winners; you can’t apply for it directly. Previous winners include Naked Wines, The Cambridge Satchel Company, Glasses Direct, Appear Here and (in 2016) Onfido.
Is yours one of the 46,000 business ideas to have received a government-backed Start Up Loan? If so, we’d love to hear your story: what’s your background, what has your business achieved so far and what makes you a particularly inspirational entrepreneur? We will pick a shortlist and invite the public to vote for their favourite inspirational story.
How strong is your social following? This award is voted for by your business peers and the public out of the the shortlist of finalists from all the categories below. If you’re fortunate enough to make it through to this shortlist stage, then all you have to do is galvanise your community to vote for you. Cornerstone managed to hold on to the accolade for two years in a row!
Could it be you? Find out what we’re looking from the App of the Year
With crowdfunding becoming an increasingly popular source of finance for innovative companies demonstrating great potential, this award is for start-ups that have raised money from the crowd (on any platform) and can illustrate fast-growth and ambitious plans.
With exporting such a key strategy to facilitate business growth, this award commends businesses that are effectively expanding into new markets and growing overseas. To enter, your business must receive at least 10% of its revenue via exporting.
Could it be you? Find out what we’re looking from the Export Business of the Year
This category is looking for a franchisee who has already exceeded targets & delighted customers, doing the franchise brand proud in the process.
This award recognises businesses which either offer a ground-breaking product or service, or that are using an exciting new approach to improve or disrupt a traditional market. Winners in 2016 and 2015 were Pensionbee and Purplebricks, who are respectively shaking up the pension and estate agency market in which they operate.
This award is for a new business which produces exciting and tangible products (doesn’t necessarily have to manufacture the product) with great potential. Examples might be food or cosmetics products, toys, gadgets, furniture, clothing, or even something cooked up in a lab.
Could it be you? Find out what we’re looking from the Product Business of the Year
Whether you’re running a bricks and mortar shop, an e-commerce business, or both – this award looks to celebrate the best of British retail start-ups.
Could it be you? Find out what we’re looking from the Retail Business of the Year
This award is for a fabulous new business operating in a service sector, such as architect, design, law or accountancy firm, therapists, engineers, gardening or catering businesses… if your firm sells a service rather than physical products, this is the category for you. And to clear up some potential confusion about what we’re after here, the quality of the service offered to customers is as important as with any other category, but no more so – a better business with decent service will beat an average business with great service.
Could it be you? Find out what we’re looking from the Service Business of the Year
Thanks to Tech City and tech clusters scattered around the nation, the UK is fast making its mark as a global tech powerhouse. We want to celebrate the best of tech, if you’re in FinTech, FashTech, AdTech, MedTech or are disrupting the tech industry in some way – apply today.
Could it be you? Find out what we’re looking from the Tech Business of the Year
Does your business have a meaningful impact beyond profit?
We’re looking for companies tackling social or environmental challenges with effective and scalable solutions, either directly (through their business model) of indirectly (through business practices and social responsibility). You don’t necessarily have to be the most profitable business today, but we want to hear from inspiring and sustainable businesses that have the potential to make a greater social impact as they grow.
Venture capitalists invest in young companies with enormous potential. This award is for young businesses which have raised money from investors and can already demonstrate signs of achieving real greatness.
Could it be you? Find out what we’re looking for from the Venture Funded Business of the Year
Even now more businesses are started by men than by women – so we want to make a special point of celebrating the great businesses being started by women! Some top entrepreneurs the UK has produced are female, from the late Dame Anita Roddick to The White Company’s Chrissie Rucker. If you’re a founder or co-founder of a fabulous new business, apply here and inspire more women to start new businesses.
If you were under 30 years old when your business started trading and your business is successful, you’ve already accomplished a great deal – and we want to help celebrate your success. Whatever type of business you started; tell us how great it is!
Could it be you? Find out what we’re looking for from the Young Entrepreneur of the Year