Queen’s Awards for Enterprise: Innovation Category

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise is the most prestigious business awards programme in the world, and as you would expect, securing a coveted Queen’s Award title is not easy. Read on to find out more about what the judges are looking for in each category and see if you’ve got what it takes to become a winner…

What does ‘Innovation’ mean for the Queen’s Awards?

The Innovation category is aimed at organisations who are either innovative in their methods and practices as a whole, or who have created and developed an innovative product or service.

However, one of the biggest challenges of the Innovation category is to really understand what ‘innovation’ means in your case. 

If your organisation has produced something that’s never been made before by anyone else, or offers a service that is not offered elsewhere, this is an innovation.

For example, if you make widgets, and your competitors make widgets, but you have made a widget in a way that is new and different, it uses different methods or materials for instance, and this has increased your sales, turnover and profit, then you can safely say this new and unique widget is innovative and is leading to enhanced commercial performance.

However, if you offer the same service as your competitors, but you think you do it better and you are leading the market, can you think of an innovation that you have created that has specifically led to this success? For example have you created a bespoke software platform that is now the backbone of your organisation, or a new method of service delivery that is unique to your team? Setting best practice is not a strong enough argument alone to win a Queen’s Award for Innovation, you must be able to prove your innovative development.

Ultimately, in order to be considered ‘innovative’ you should think about how your product, service or approach would be considered new and unique. If there are other organisations doing the same as you, then how can you demonstrate you’re your product or service is truly innovative – is there a way of highlighting and differentiating yourself, and can you truly attribute your commercial success to the innovation of your product or service?

Who can enter the Innovation category?

As with all Queen’s Award entries you must have a minimum of 2 full-time (or part-time equivalent) employees and be based in the UK to enter.

Which sub-category of the awards should you enter?

Entries must be made in one of the following sub-categories:

Outstanding Achievement (with growth maintained over 2 years) or

Continuous Achievement (with growth maintained over 5 years)

Entries are made up to the end of the last financial year before September 2018. If you have made investments in your innovation you must be prepared to discuss the impact of these on your finances, particulary if they have created an initial dip in your commercial results, and explain how you have recouped the investment. 

What makes a Queen’s Awards Innovation winner?

Winners are able to demonstrate that they have created a commercially successful business model that is growing in turnover and profit year on year and has a strong business strategy for it’s current and on going success. Winners will clearly identify their innovation, their markets and their strategy, and they will highlight the challenges they have faced as well as the successes they have created.

There are around 65 awards given in the Innovation category on average each year throughout the UK, here are a few examples:

Thermoteknix Systems Ltd won an Innovation Award for developing a miniature, thermal-imaging camera that clips onto nightvision goggles. 

The ANVIL Group International Ltd won an Innovation Award for designing and developing an Employee Travel Monitoring System. 

Grey Technology Ltd (Gtech – pictured above) won an Innovation Award for developing a new type of cordless powered vacuum cleaner. 

When is the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise deadline?

It’s noon on 12 September 2018, but it can take many weeks to pull the information you need together for such a rigorous award, so don’t leave it to late to give yourself a fighting chance, get started today!

Can you enter more than one category?

Yes, so long as you meet all the criteria, take a look at the details here: 

International Trade 

Sustainable Development 

Promoting Opportunity through Social Mobility

How do you get started on your Queen’s Award entry?

If you think you could be eligible for a Queen’s Award entry in the Innovation category and you would like professional assistance we will undertake a free and confidential eligibility check for you based upon your organisation’s commercial achievements over the past 2 – 5 years. We will also discuss what your organisation does and how you might meet the criteria.

Call us today on +44 (0)1444 230130 for more information or email enquiries@awardsintelligence.co.uk to book your free consultation. We had an incredible 82% success rate for our clients in the last round and we want to build on it – so do be prepared for an honest assessment of your chances of success!