Black tie awards gala ceremony with celebrity presenter

Rt Hon Michael Portillo 

Wednesday 13th June, 2018

The Times Business Awards 2018 is set to be an even bigger and better event this year, with new categories alongside some old favourites. There are ten options ranging from Young Entrepreneur of the Year to the Service Excellence award and Employee of the Year, all celebrating the wealth of talent in our local area from established businesses to start-ups. 

In 2016 the Times held its first Business Awards that proved to be a considerable success attracting more than 150 entries from some of the most innovative and successful companies, both big and small, recognised for their exceptional retail acumen and expertise.

The selection process culminated in a sold-out gala night at Salomons in Tunbridge Wells that saw the work of local entrepreneurs celebrated along with the achievements of businesses of every size.

In 2017, Times Local Newspapers added the Times of Tonbridge to its publishing portfolio, and as a result even more businesses and enterprises were attracted to the awards for 2017.

More than 200 finalists and guests enjoyed a night of celebration at the 2017 gala awards ceremony, that were an ideal platform for networking and building new business partnerships.  Being involved, whether it be by sponsoring or entering or just attending the gala evening is certain to raise the profile of your company. 

Sponsors are guaranteed editorial coverage in both editions of Times Local Newspapers.

Category Explanations

  1. Start-Up Business Award – This award recognises new start-ups under two years old at the closing date for entries of May 9 2018, that have translated an idea into a successful business venture. They must be able to detail growth so far and show plans for the continued development and success of the venture.
  2. Creative Business of the Year - Is your business success based on innovation and creative thinking in your strategy and every day operation? This category is for any company over two years old in any sector, that can demonstrate creativity as well as adding value to the success of their business.
  3. Employee of the Year – This is the chance for businesses to recognise exceptional individuals within their company. They can be any age but must stand out from their peers when it comes to ‘professional’ and personal development both within the business and the wider community.
  4. Young Entrepreneur of the Year – This award is open to dynamic individuals aged 30 or under by the closing date on May 9 2018 who are running their own business and are able to demonstrate significant success and drive in growing their company.
  5. Service Excellence Award – The winner of this category will be giving outstanding assistance and advice to those who buy or use their business or organisation’s products or services. They will be able to provide customer testimonials to support their entry.
  6. Business Person of the Year – Entrants for this award will need to show they have a clear vision / strategy for their business and are committed to growing it. Areas such as increasing headcount, developing and inspiring staff, and involvement in the local business community are all good examples of this.
  7. Export and International Award – This will go to the company that has demonstrated significant and sustained international growth, along with a clear understanding of overseas markets.  You will be able to show commercial success and outline any benefits in terms of investment, job creation or supply-chain benefits to your UK operation.
  8. Best Business 1-25 employees – Here we recognise owner-managers and small businesses employing up to 25 people, that have maintained consistent growth and strong financial performance. They must understand customer expectations, have an engaged workforce and be continually innovating to support future growth.
  9. Best Business 25+ employees – This category recognises larger businesses employing more than 25 people and again looks for consistent growth and strong financial performance alongside an engaged workforce and a business plan supporting innovation and future growth.
  10. Outstanding Business of the Year – The ultimate award of all the categories will go to the business that can show outstanding initiative, boldness and imagination in the enterprise, as well as sound management practices. The winner must also be able to demonstrate they have a clear strategy to invest in the skills and development of their staff. They will be expected to prove sustainable growth combined with a degree of commercial success that is exceptional for the size of the business.

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"Recognising Excellence in Local Business"