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There are so many overt and hidden benefits of entering awards. If you are a female entrepreneur, business owner, or ambitious women looking to propel your career in the corporate world, then read on. We’ll dive into the benefits of entering awards with Network Ireland. You’ll find out what you should consider and understand the benefits of entering awards. Have a think about what it will do for you and your business.
Some networks have an award strategy for promoting and supporting their members. This is one of a variety of benefits that some networking organisations include as a member benefit. In my role as Vice President of the Network Ireland Wicklow group and the 2020 Awards Coordinator for Wicklow, I wanted to delve into why you should enter awards and explore the many benefits that will ensue.
2020 Network Ireland Awards
2020 has seen a shake up of the Network Ireland awards categories, to take into consideration the new business environment that we are all working in. Its aim is to explore, assess and celebrate the resilience that the female business community has shown in the most dire and trying of business times. There are now six categories, the first five of which are ‘standard categories’. Applicants are only allowed to choose one of these and the choice is largely predicated on suitability. For example, are you a business owner or employee, and then how long are you in business for, e.g. 3 years or more, or 1 year and more? The last category is Power Within, which is an ode to the 2020 theme of #PowerWithin to recognise the amazing achievements of women across the county and across the country.
The 2020 Network Ireland Awards Categories Are:
Online Business Transformation
This category is designed to recognise how a business has moved online or significantly changed its online business presence in order to serve customers whilst maintaining physical distancing.
Not all transformation is about going online, this award is designed to recognise how a business has been innovative in terms of work, operations, process, procedure, financial structures, etc., looking at how a business has adapted to the crisis and become stronger for it.
Emerging New Business
The business entity can operate as a sole trader/partnership or limited company. We have seen new businesses formed, and young businesses evolve, grow and adapt in ways they never thought possible, this category is designed to recognise the amazing work these businesses have done. The business must have been established in years 2020, 2019, 2018 or 2017.
This award is to recognise professional women working as a sole trader/Entrepreneur who has been trading for 3 years or more, without employees. The business entity can operate as a sole trader or limited company.
This category is for the exceptional employee who has initiated a transformation for their company allowing them to work better and achieve more.
Power Within Champion
Juggling life has never been quite so complicated, whether you have children, caring responsibilities, working from home with family around or in quarantine alone the current crises has been turbulent and one can feel quite frazzled. This award is designed to recognise survival, it may not be pretty, it may not be perfect but you are surviving and getting through each day. This category is open to all members to recognise the amazing women they are.
I’ve fielded a lot of calls over the past number of days and weeks around the categories and the questions. I ran two workshops for aspiring applicants in Network Ireland Wicklow to learn more about the process. I shared tips and tricks and to decipher the questions and understand how to frame the answers.
You’ll have to trust me that I network with fantastic people. It’s amazing people who get up and get out, who show up and who engage, who share and support each other each day. Network Ireland is a phenomenal network of supportive, like-minded, forceful, positive, inspiring ladies. They are simply awesome and inspire me to go after my own goals. And yet, when I’m on the phone, there is uncertainty, a feeling of imposter syndrome, a lack of confidence and scarcity in understanding about what each of them bring to the table. I want to shout to the rooftops that they are all awesome.
So Why Does Entering Awards Matter?
- It’s a fantastic way to focus on your achievements, key milestones and your successes. You’ll have way more to celebrate than you realise.
- For most people, it’s a new journey to explore and grapple with. But it’s exciting once there is commitment.
- You’ll learn so much about yourself through the process and that’s always a good thing.
- By entering you are a winner. It sounds trite, but it’s true.
- All applications are judged and assessed independently. You are opening your business to external scrutiny, probably for the first time…and that’s a good thing and a sign that you are ready to grow your business and yourself.
- All applicants then go through an interview process where they speak for 10 minutes about their business. Again, for business owners who aren’t used to having this level of conversation, it’s a great exercise to gather the numbers, show business acumen, convey passion for the enterprise and let these judges enter your world.
- Shortlisted applicants all get promoted via press release and on social media. As I say to all aspiring awards’ applicants, the absolute worst that will happen is that you and the business get a lot of free publicity. Your name is in lights as you are presentated to the ceremony as a finalist.
- And then imagine it now. You win! Wow…wasn’t that two or three hours or so of your time, writing and compiling information worth it? You receive a certificate and trophy. You are in press releases, interviewed on the radio, promoted by sponsors, photographed, and held in high esteem by your network community and your tribe.
- Your confidence has grown immeasurably. I can speak from experience of the elation, pride and ‘I got this’ attitude that I felt, once I had accomplished this goal.
- As a regional winner, you will then go into the National Network Ireland awards, so your brand and profile starts to get publicised nationally. Good, right?
I’ve compiled my top 13 tips for completing awards applications, so have a read of it before you start your process of completing the form.
So now that you are ready to enter the awards, the form is downloadable here.
If you are doing your interview online, have a read of my blog How to Network Online Like a Pro, as many of the points are super valid and they’ll help you feel prepared and ready to take on the world.
If you’d like to chat to me about your awards entry and clarify any of the points above, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be delighted to help you accomplish your goal.