Very few great entrepreneurs manage to get to the top without some kind of sage in the background, furnishing them with pearls of wisdom during their formative years. Equally, many of those who do make it often give generously of their time to mentor the next generation of up-and-coming talent. Now the Queens’ Awards (sometimes referred to as the equivalent of a company knighthood, and not just by the Buck House press office) want to highlight this via the ‘Queen’s Awards for Enterprise Promotion’ – gongs to recognise those who ‘help, support and inspire tomorrow’s successful entrepreneurs’.
There were eleven of these awards doled out this year, and Her Maj is seeking nominations so she can hand out a few more in 2010. There’s no doubt that mentors can add huge amounts of value to an entrepreneur’s business – and in many cases, they get little out of it other than the personal satisfaction. So if you know a mentor you’d like to see rewarded, you can nominate them here.
As usual, there are also Queen’s Awards for outstanding businesses in three categories – international trade, innovation or sustainable development. And it’s worth doing: apparently three-quarters of last year’s winners experienced extra press coverage, while 82% claimed to see an increase in employee engagement and 68% increased recognition overseas. Not bad for filling out an application form, we’re sure you’ll agree.
Speaking of up-and-coming talent, budding entrepreneurs looking for a bit of nice PR (and some cold hard cash) may also be interested in applying for Shell LiveWIRE’s long-running Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. These gongs come not only with all the publicity normally attached to such events, but also a £10,000 cash injection for the winning business. Entrants have to be in the 16-30 age group, with a business that’s in its first 18 months of trading, to stand a chance of winning. Among all the regular financial criteria and business plan stuff, candidates are urged to explain to judges how they have the ‘LiveWIRE factor’ (which hopefully doesn’t involve standing in front of a Simon Cowell-esque judge murdering a popular classic).
Previous recipients of the award include James Watt, co-founder of ultra-alcoholic beer company Brewdog, who presumably spent his £10,000 on developing, tasting and marketing beer (a hard job, but somebody’s got to do it). And since we’re going to need some bright ideas to help Britain drag itself out of recession, it's good to see people shouting about the UK’s top young entrepreneurial talent.
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