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Is your star going to rise this awards season?

Picture of Charlie Gunningham
Charlie Gunningham

Awards are not for everyone, but can be a great way to get your message out and give you and your team a welcome boost.

Faced with limited marketing budgets – limited everything really – startups have to box clever.

One way to make yourself known, enhance your credibility and give a welcome lift to team morale is to win awards. But which ones should you enter?

Entering is reward in itself

OK, while some among us (cough – the Aussie cricket team) may have forgotten this bit, in many ways the ‘taking part’ is as important as ‘the win’.

What I mean is, if done properly and in the right spirit, you can derive benefits from just entering the awards as they can be a great way to:

  • galvanise the team
  • look back on what you’ve accomplished
  • check on your strategy (where are you going?)
  • receive feedback from industry peers and experts
  • network with high end business people

Win, lose or draw, if your head if screwed on right, you’re ahead.

Startup Awards worth entering

This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some that I have personal knowledge about, in that I have either entered them myself as a startup and/or been a judge.

They are real, the judges and organisers take their jobs seriously, and winning them (or even just being made a finalist) can be quite a feather in your cap.

1. WAITTA Incite Awards

  • Longest running IT awards, now in its 27th year
  • entries have closed for 2018, with the startup category finalists already announced
  • winners are announced on a gala night at the Crown Perth in June
  • everyone in the ICT industry, including Ministers, government attends
  • More info on the Incite Awards website
  • Even if you’re not entering this year, get yourself along to the gala awards night, 15th June.

2. Business News Rising Stars 

  • 13th year of awarding fast growing WA companies
  • entries are now open
  • Startup category  and a few others may be relevant
  • entries are due mid May, $295 to enter (includes ticket to awards night)
  • winners announced in mid June at an evening cocktail event
  • past winners include Health Engine, SEQTA, Injury Connect, Nuheara…
  • high end networking with successful business people attend
  • some people go along to the cocktails night, just for the contacts to be made

3. Telstra Small Business Awards

  • been running 26 years
  • 2018 nominations are closed, but they are taking 2019 noms
  • a State run awards, with state winners progressing to nationals
  • New business award, small business award, various relevant categories…

Many people regard WAITTA, Rising Stars and Telstra as the trifecta

4. Various Council run business awards

5. Business News 40under40 Awards

  • now in its 17th year
  • an individual achievement award, … but it’s the team really!
  • increasingly being won by women and startups
  • nominations open September, close November
  • Gala dinner awards night in March

6. SBDC’s Regional Business Awards

  • usually occurs in November (as they did in 2017)
  • been going 15 years, they have a startup category
  • there’s no info on their 2018 awards out yet.

And Finally…

If you can prioritise awards, be selective and go for the ones that you think are most relevant, you may find they can add cost effective rocket fuel to your promotions.

Bon chance, mes amis.

ALSO READ: Ten TIPS on how to maximise your chances to win Awards.


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Picture of Charlie Gunningham

Charlie Gunningham

Former co-founder, GM, CEO Business News and Accelerating Commercialisation adviser. Charlie has spent 20+ years in Perth's startup scene, as founder, mentor, adviser, writer and investor. There's nothing he likes more than helping early stage tech startups ... and drinking coffee, shiraz or playing in a blues band. Email Charlie here.
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