The Pinnacle of Award Success

In the past we have discussed why award entry may just be one of the most effective activities within a PR strategy. The opportunity for exposure is amazing, regardless of the award and category chosen but today we are thinking big and thought we’d discuss what we consider to be the absolute pinnacle of award success.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise

In the awards world, it rarely gets bigger (or better) than this.  We have been following companies for years who have applied for and succeeded in achieving this coveted badge, and we have never seen a business do anything other than succeed spectacularly after receiving this much-admired recognition.

So, why are they so highly regarded?  Well first and foremost they are directly associated with Her Majesty, her office and her Government.  Secondly, and as you might suspect given that Her Majesty’s name is involved in them, they are exceptionally rigorous in terms of the information they ask for (think 31 pages of questions for a start-off), the checks they run on applying businesses and the hoops those businesses have to jump through… but boy oh boy is it worth it!

If you are interested in applying, then what do you need to consider?


There are four categories for businesses to consider entering:

  • Innovation
  • International Trade
  • Sustainable Development
  • Promoting Opportunity Through Social Mobility


The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise asks that you check your eligibility before starting to complete an application.  To apply for The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise your organisation must:

  • Be based in the UK (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man)
  • File its Company Tax Returns with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • Be a self-contained enterprise that markets its own products or services and is under its own management
  • Have at least 2 full-time UK employees or part-time equivalents
  • Demonstrate strong corporate social responsibility


Applying organisations can be businesses or non-profits and each of the award categories has additional entry criteria as follows:


To apply for the Innovation award, your organisation must also:

  • Have an innovation that has not been sold before
  • Have had your innovation available on the market for at least 2 years
  • Have recovered all the investments made in its innovation or show that the innovation will recover its full costs in future
  • Show outstanding commercial success as a result of innovation over 2 years – or continuous commercial success over 5 years

Your innovation should be in one of the following categories:

  • Invention, design or production of goods
  • Performance of services
  • Marketing and distribution
  • After-sale support of goods or services

International Trade

To apply for the International Trade award, your organisation must also:

  • Have made a minimum of £100,000 in overseas sales in the first year of entry and show year-on-year growth
  • Prove that the organisation has achieved outstanding growth in overseas earnings relative to your business size and sector
  • Prove steep year-on-year growth (without dips) in overseas sales over 3 years – or substantial year-on-year growth (without dips) over 6 years

If you already hold an international trade award, your organisation can only use 1 year’s growth from your previous application.

Sustainable Development

To apply for the Sustainable Development award your organisation must either:

  • Show how your outstanding sustainable development practices have helped to improve your commercial performance over 2 years


  • Show how your continuous sustainable development practices have helped to improve your commercial performance over 5 years

Your achievements should be in one of the following categories:

  • Invention, design or production of goods
  • Performance of services
  • Marketing and distribution
  • After-sale support of goods or services
  • Management of resources or relationships with people and other organisations

Promoting Opportunity through social mobility

To apply for the Promoting Opportunity award, your organisation must also:

  • Have had a social mobility programme running for more than 2 years
  • Prove that the programme benefits your organisation (for example, it has improved your reputation or led to savings in the business)

Your improvements should be in one of the following areas:

  • Work experience, careers advice or mentoring for young people
  • Offering non-graduate routes such as traineeships or changing recruitment practices
  • Giving equal support and progression opportunities to all employees


Application to The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are free to enter and you can apply for more than one award.  Applications for 2019 are now closed.

2020 award applications will open in Spring (usually April) 2019 and close late Autumn (usually September) 2019.


What Happens When You Have Applied?

In November shortlisted organisations are asked to provide verified commercial figures.

In March of the following year the winning organisations are notified

In April unsuccessful organisations receive feedback on their applications

In late April the winners are officially announced in the London Gazette

In the Summer of that year, representatives from the winning organisations are invited to attend a Royal reception

Can I Do It On My Own?

The short answer is absolutely yes you can!  Just one example of someone who did just that and won first time around is Marc Wileman of Sublime Science (https://www.sublimescience.com/).  When we asked him how he approached it he said he left himself plenty of time and took it one question at a time.  Fine advice indeed Marc!


I’m Really Interested but Feel like I Need Some Support…

That’s great!  You’re in the right place. Our sister company, The Awards People, write award-winning award submissions before and know just how daunting it can be.  Breaking the process down piece by piece and tackling it across the months available – and of course, having the right level of support – suddenly makes it much more do’able.

Here’s how The Awards People do it: –

  1. We only work with 10 clients who are looking to apply for The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. That way we can give them all the time and assistance they need
  2. We start working with our clients in April once the portal has opened up and we’ve checked if / how the award questions have changed (and they do… subtly!)
  3. In April we work on and complete Section A
  4. In May we work on and complete Section B
  5. In June we work on and complete Section C
  6. In July we work on and complete Section D
  7. In August we complete Sections E and F (these are very simple, short sections) which leaves the rest of August and September for a heavy checking, proof reading and editing period!

The Awards People can even help you to prove the robustness of your claims by helping you put in place the necessary checks and measures required!


Next Steps

Clearly there is a lot for you to take in here but don’t worry.  There is a whole load more information on The Awards People website at www.theawardspeople.co.uk.

If you’re interested and would like to discuss your options in more detail (or generally pick our brains and run ideas past us) simply email rachel@theawardspeople.co.uk or call her on 07976 806 578 (mobile is always the best way to reach her!).

Start seriously considering entering now, put the pieces in place to assist your success and Good Luck!

Further sources / links:





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Rachel Hargrave

Rachel has over 30 years of local, regional, national and international communications experience and expertise across a wide variety of clients including FTSE 100 companies, SMEs, micro businesses and start-ups. She also has extensive charity, Not-For-Profit and Community Interest Company experience and happily offers clients working in these areas a 50% discount on all RDZ PR rates.

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