Best Contribution to Sheffield Visitor Experience

This award recognises an individual, organisation, charity, scheme, project or event, that has significantly contributed to a visitor’s experience of Sheffield. This in turn should drive footfall to the city, generating jobs, economic growth and profile for Sheffield.

Who should apply?

Open to any business with an ‘S’ postcode


What the judges are looking for:

  • Evidence that your activity has increased footfall to the city
  • Evidence of job creation – either paid or voluntary
  • Evidence of economic value to Sheffield
  • Evidence of a positive impact for visitors – i.e, customer service, value for money, entertainment, positive brand image for Sheffield
  • Statistics to support your application
  • What is your USP for putting Sheffield ‘On the map’?

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Business Person of the Year, sponsored by Shorts Chartered Accountants

This award recognises the significant contribution that a person can make to the success of a business. Entrants for this award can complete an application as an individual or a company can complete the application on behalf of an employee or colleague.

Who should apply?

Any individual within a business


What are the judges looking for?

  • Evidence that the individual developed and implemented strategic business plans that have achieved growth and improved profitability
  • Examples of dedicated leadership
  • Evidence the individual has actively taken steps to exceed customer expectations
  • Evidence of how the individual has raised your organisations profile

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Creative Impact Award, sponsored by SIV

This award will recognise a business specialising in creative services such as design, marketing, publishing, film, architecture or the arts, that can showcase how their creative work has led directly to improved business performance. Entries are welcome from all firms, whether in-house or agency.

Who should apply?

Businesses specialising in creative services


What the judges are looking for:

  • Evidence of how creative activities have generated improved commercial performance
  • The level of growth achieved
  • The range of technology used in conducting day to day business
  • Innovative, creative methods that have led to growth
  • How these activities have contributed to the local economy and wider community
  • Evidence of a positive outcome and impact on the target audience

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Digital Transformation Project of the Year, sponsored by Insight

Awarded to a public or private sector entrant for the most outstanding digital transformation project. This project would have led transformation within the workplace and the way in which the workforce operate, enhanced or created a more superior customer experience, enabled the creation of new business streams or helped to automate or increase efficiency of business operations.

Who should apply

Open to all sizes of business within any sector.


The judges will be looking for: 

  • Depth and breadth of technology adopted
  • Upskilling/change management required
  • Future plans to continue/sustain or accelerate transformation
  • ROI on investments made

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Employer of the Year, sponsored by The Sheffield College

This award recognises an organisation that excels in offering the most comprehensive work environment, either through the implementation of a learning and development culture, staff incentive schemes, recognition/remuneration & retention packages or health and wellbeing initiatives.

Who should apply?

Any business from any sector


What the judges are looking for:

  • Why learning and development is important to the organisation
  • Details of the investment, commitment, support and incentives given to staff
  • Evidence of how this culture has contributed to the business achieving outstanding success
  • How these schemes have helped make the organisation an employer of choice

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Excellence in Corporate, Social and Environmental Responsibility, sponsored by Evoluted

This award will recognise a business that shows innovation, creativity and a sustained commitment to corporate responsibility and responsible business practice. Entrants must demonstrate how they have tackled key social and/or environmental issues in their local community.

Who should apply?

Any business from any sector


What the judges are looking for:

  • How your CSR policies have been developed
  • The issues they have helped address
  • The impact the policies have had on the local environment/community
  • Challenges that have been faced and overcome

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Excellence in International Trade, sponsored by Pricecheck

This award recognises the strength of the region’s importers and exporters. Entrants for this award must stand out from the crowd on the international stage and demonstrate that they have generated significant and/or sustained growth in their international activity and/or presence.

Who should apply?

Any business that imports, exports or conducts business overseas


What the judges are looking for:

  • The level of growth achieved in either importing/exporting or overseas business 
  • The percentage of revenue generated from international activity
  • Innovative approaches to entering and establishing new markets
  • Evidence of barriers that have been overcome
  • Impact on overall business performance and projections

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Excellence in Manufacturing, sponsored by Wake Smith

This award recognises a company that demonstrates a modern, efficient and innovative approach to manufacturing. Exhibiting significant growth, improved commercial performance, increased market share and operational effectiveness.

Who should apply?

Any business in the manufacturing sector.


What the judges are looking for:

  • Evidence of how your organisation has generated new or improved products, services and innovative processes
  • Increased commercial growth and/or market share
  • How a sustainable approach has improved commercial performance, competitiveness, employee engagement and customer value
  • Lean methodologies that improve quality, cost, productivity and waste reduction
  • Demonstrate investment in R&D that has generated good ROI

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Excellence in Professional Services

Entrants will need to demonstrate excellence in business management underpinned by a strong financial performance. Entrants must outline how they have shown excellence in their specific sector and show how they have planned for future growth.

Who should apply?

Businesses from the professional services sectors.


What the judges are looking for:

  • The level of growth over the last three years and plans for future growth
  • What activities are responsible for sustained growth and success
  • Details of how you have shown excellence in your specific sector
  • Evidence of new or innovative services introduced over the last year
  • Evidence of excellent customer service

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High Growth Business of the Year, sponsored by CT

This award recognises a business that has experienced exceptional growth in sales, profit, market share, international trade, numbers employed or all the above. Entrants must demonstrate the highest levels of growth underpinned by a sustainable business model for future growth and stability.

Who should apply?

Any business from any sector.


What the judges are looking for:

  • Significant growth in one or all these areas – sales, profit, market-share, international trade, people employed
  • Innovative products, services and/or operations that have led to this growth
  • Financial performance
  • Business plans for sustainable future growth

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Large Business of the Year

Open to organisations employing over 100 full-time members of staff and/or an annual turnover of +£25 million, this award will go to a business that has achieved consistent growth backed by a strong financial performance.

Who should apply?

Businesses from any sector that employ over 100 full-time members of staff and/or have an annual turnover of +£25 million.


What the judges are looking for:

  • Strong business plans underpinned by strong financial performance
  • Sustained growth
  • How the business ensures high service standards and delivers exceptional customer care to drive new and repeat business
  • What differentiates the company’s products/services from their competitors

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Outstanding Business of the Year, sponsored by City Taxis

This exceptional award recognises a business able to demonstrate outstanding leadership and vision, successful performance against business planning, forward plans for substantial growth and be an inspiration to other businesses.

Who should apply?

Please be aware this category is not open for applications. All shortlisted companies will be automatically entered into this award.


The judges will be looking for:

  • An award winner that stands out from the crowd in innovation, diversity, growth, customer service, investment in people and strategic thinking.

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SME of the Year, sponsored by Sheffield Business School

This award will recognise a small or medium enterprise employing up to 100 full-time members of staff and not exceeding a £25 million annual turnover that has achieved consistent growth backed by a strong financial performance.

Who should apply?

Businesses from any sector that do not exceed 100 members of full-time staff and a £25 million annual turnover


What the judges are looking for:

  • Strong business plans underpinned by strong financial performance
  • Sustained growth and plans for future growth
  • Strong managerial and financial performance
  • Innovation
  • Evidence of the business’s commitment to staff
  • What differentiates the company’s products/services from their competitors

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Special Recognition Award

This award will recognise a business, individual, charity, scheme, event or project, that has shown outstanding innovation, leadership, commitment or achievement, while significantly contributing to the Sheffield economy and wider community.

Who should apply?

All of the above


What the judges are looking for:

  • An organisation/person or persons who have made a significant impact to the region’s economy or wider community 
  • An organisation/person or persons who over the course of a decade or more, have exemplified outstanding, significant and impactful professional achievement
  • Commitment to activities above, beyond normal duties and workload

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The Innovation Award, sponsored by Lupton Fawcett

This award will recognise a product or service establishing importance in the marketplace, capturing the interest of the city and really putting Sheffield on the map. The product or service will not only address a need but also seize an opportunity to create a new market or industry. The submitted entry must be in working, marketable condition.

Who should apply?

Any business from any sector


What the judges are looking for:

  • How the business opportunity was identified and developed
  • Understanding of product, market and competitors
  • The use of innovative emerging technologies
  • Success in addressing a need
  • Evidence of how the product has become established, capturing interest from the Sheffield City Region and beyond

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The Sheffield Universities Entrepreneurship Award

Sheffield Hallam University and The University of Sheffield work to support current students and graduates to launch their own start-up companies. Both Universities will select their top entries (a maximum of 3 each) to put forward to this award category for consideration by the judges.

Who should apply?

Please be aware this category is not open for applications. Applications are strictly put forward by both The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University. 


The judges will be looking for:

  • Evidence of a proven customer problem or need and the market fit of the business solution
  • Evidence or clarity of vision for sustainable, profitable development of the business
  • The vision for developing and growing the business in terms of both turnover and employment

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