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Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Searching for the UK's small business heroes

16 February 2021

Small firms are being urged not to miss the 28 February deadline for this year's Small Awards, a nationwide search for the most inspirational small businesses in the UK, across all sectors.

Launched in 2017 by Small Business Britain, the Small Awards have 11 categories that recognise small firms of all kinds - from longstanding family businesses to innovation-led start-ups and social enterprise champions. In particular, the awards aim to recognise firms that actively support other businesses and the broader community.

This year, the Small Award organisers have said that they do not want the experience of the pandemic to deter small firms from applying - and so the awards are open to all small businesses, even if they are currently closed due to current COVID-19 restrictions.

Several of the awards are targeted at small retailers, including the Bricks and Clicks award, recognising "firms that use multiple channels with innovation and skill to develop their business" and the High Street Hero (sponsored by TSB), highlighting small firms that have contributed towards the success of their high street and done something exceptional with their premises.

The other nine Small Awards categories are:

  • Sole to Sole, celebrating the tenacity and drive it takes to go it alone as a sole trader;
  • Legacy, recognising the unique characteristics, challenges and strengths of family-run businesses;
  • Supply Chain Champion, celebrating the best B2B small businesses working within the business supply chain;
  • New Kid on the Block  applauding businesses that started in the last eighteen months and have demonstrated considerable growth and development;
  • Heart of Gold, recognising the small businesses that contribute most to their local communities, such as by working with other small firms, local charities, schools, local councils or their local residents to achieve great things;
  • At your Service, championing the best small service businesses in the UK;
  • Digital Star for small businesses that operate only through digital channels, using the internet to market, sell and promote their product and service;
  • Mission Possible for small businesses driven by mission over and above financial performance, which benefits a group, a community or society more widely;
  • Small Business of the Year Award for the best overall small business.

"The past year has been a hugely challenging time for small businesses", said Michelle Ovens, founder of Small Business Britain and the Small Awards. "While all small firms deserve recognition for the way they have persevered, adapted and supported staff and communities during this pandemic, through the Small Awards we particularly want to celebrate inspiring small businesses that have been leading the way."

Judged by a panel of enterprise experts, the winners will be announced at a virtual event in May, a temporary replacement for the traditional gala dinner. The "early bird pricing" has been kept at £25 per application until the closing date. Applications close at midnight on 28 February 2021.

Pictured: Andrew and Emma Tucker of Modo Creative, winner of the Small Awards Bricks & Clicks award in 2020.

Written by Rachel Miller.

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