Last Wednesday (30th March), I tuned into Tech Nation’s “Rising Stars” 4.0 online awards ceremony to learn about the latest and greatest technological innovations in the UK.  It did not disappoint!  From an AI-powered online skincare suggestion service to a free platform that allows grieving relatives to notify all companies in one go after the death of a loved one.  The finalists covered a wide range of technological advances across a plethora of industries.  The full list of finalists is below and they are definitely worth checking out.

However, during the course of the ceremony what struck me was how much of their precious time and resource these small businesses have put into getting to the final.  Therefore, the question swirling around my head was ‘is it worth it?’.

So I did a little deep-dive on why small businesses should enter industry awards, and here’s what I found:-

  1. They give you a natural platform to ‘shout out’ about your product/service – It doesn’t always come intuitively to entrepreneurs to ‘blow their own trumpet’ and doing so can feel a bit self-indulgent. An award entry will organically encourage you to do this, after all it is a competition!  Plus, if you don’t, who else will!?
  2. They help you stand out from the crowd the likelihood is you have competitors, award entries allow you to benchmark yourself against others and reflect on what you can offer your customers that other businesses in your industry don’t.
  3. They offer you PR opportunities before, during and after the event they will give you unique content for your social media and a great excuse to get in industry publications and local (or national) newspapers. Moreover, it’s a much more natural method of advertising than paid promotions.  If you are shortlisted or win, work with the award organisers to help you benefit from this and gain followers (and customers)!
  4. They improve staff morale – awards are a great way for employees to get recognition for their hard work and skill, and gives them a chance to celebrate as a team! It will also most likely, give them huge motivation to carry on their great work.  After all, your business wouldn’t be winning awards without them.
  5. They add value to your business and proposition if you win, it’s a great indication that your business is heading in the right direction. Customers will also be impressed that they’re working with an award-winning business and will speak about this to other potential customers!  If you don’t win, don’t feel defeated, use the experience and feedback so you can come back stronger the next time you apply.
  6. They build your network – A good awarding body will give their winners support and access to an invaluable network of investors, mentors and potential business partners. From what I heard over the course of the ceremony and subsequent research; Tech Nation does this better than any other awarding body I’ve seen!

Having previously worked in a tech start-up, I appreciate the importance of industry awards and the good they can do to give a small business with a new product/service, the experience, platform and validation it might need to grow into its next phase of development.  I also appreciate that they can be an extremely time-consuming process so you must be ready to make the most of the opportunity as the benefits could be huge for your business and your team, especially if you are shortlisted or hopefully, win!

Congratulations to Tech Nation for putting on an engaging, interesting and diverse online awards ceremony.  You can read about it and watch the highlights here:-

Rising Stars 4.0 Winners Highlights – Tech Nation

And moreover, congratulations to all the winners:-

HR Datahub – HR DataHub | HR Benchmarking Platform for Data-Led People Decisions

Kuberno – Governance | Kuberno

KytheraAI – Kythera AI

Myndup – MYNDUP – No single solution to mental health

Naurt – Naurt – The Next GPS. 150 Times More Precise

Renude – Renude – Personalised skincare routines + product recommendations

Settld – Settld – Bereavement Notifications & Account Changes

RDVault – RDvault™ The Best R&D Tax Credit Software Guided by a Team of Experts

XigXag – UK Audiobooks From £7.99 (or less) – xigxag

ZoaRental – Powering Your Rental Business – Zoa (

Natalie Harper

Author Natalie Harper

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