ICON Awards Entries: Here’s All You Need to Know (Updated)

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ICON Awards Entries: Here’s All You Need to Know (Updated)

After careful consideration and as a direct result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has taken the decision to postpone the planned ICON Business Awards until later this year. Any applications already received up to now will still be valid and we will also reopen entries to the awards for a short time once the event has been rescheduled. So for those interested in applying, here is the low down on all you need to know.


What are the ICON Awards?

The ICON Awards have been created to help further progress the Chamber, following its relaunch in August 2019 and new five-year strategy. The awards provide companies with an opportunity to showcase their resilience, innovation and accomplishments, boasting a variety of different categories backed by nine sponsors and for the first time, will include a public vote to decide on Inverclyde’s Favourite Business.

To see the presentation slides from our launch event detailing the changes to this fresh new Awards – Click Here.


Do I need to be an Inverclyde Chamber Member?

No. The Awards are open to all businesses regardless of Chamber membership. So long as your business is based in Inverclyde or you have a client base here and you fit the category criteria, you are able to apply.


Can I nominate myself or does someone else have to do it?

You can nominate yourself, apply on behalf of your business or someone else can chose to nominate you. This is the case for all of the categories and we encourage members of the public to nominate their top local business for ‘Inverclyde’s Favourite Business’ public vote category.


What are the Award Categories?

Nominations are sought in the following categories (click on the drop-down menu of each category to see the guidelines and criteria for each):

Outstanding Charity/3rd Sector Organisation of the Year
This category recognises Charity and 3rd sector organisations who offer services and support to people within the Inverclyde area. The winner of this award will also be designated as 3rd sector partner for the ICON Awards Dinner and will subsequently receive a donation at the end of the awards ceremony from monies raised during the auction/raffle at the Awards Dinner.

Who should enter?: Open to all charity and 3rd Sector organisations serving the residents of Inverclyde so long as you are a charity or charitable organisation registered in the Inverclyde area.

Previous winners: None – New Category

What the judges are looking for:
Entrants should be able to demonstrate self-sustainability and have a robust board, clear vision and business plan showing social objectives. This award is aimed at organisations who may not be a trading enterprise for profit but behave like one and are not 100% reliant on donations. Judges would like to see evidence of initiatives and support provided to local people and the impact this has on the lives of those individuals as well as the impact this has on public welfare, the local environment and/or the economic well-being of the people of Inverclyde.

Best Food & Drink

This category is aimed at all food and drink led businesses in Inverclyde who not only offer a quality experience and product but also pride themselves on providing exemplary customer service.

Who should enter?:

Open to restaurants, bars, home bakers, food/drink producers and suppliers of any size and any culinary influence who are based in the Inverclyde area.

Previous winners:


What the judges are looking for:

Judges will be looking for clear evidence of good quality and value food and drink products combined with proven customer service success. They will also be looking for clearly identified business goals and objectives, a solid marketing strategy, incorporating innovative ideas to ensure sustainable future growth.

The business must also demonstrate positive financial growth (turnover/profit) and show evidence of adaptation of offerings based on customer demands and external factors. The business must be invested in Inverclyde with a real emphasis on the use of local produce and supporting other local businesses and, in turn, the local economy. The business should also be able to showcase their contribution to reducing their carbon footprint in line with their environmental goals.

Rising Star Award

This award seeks to recognise young Inverclyde talent and celebrate the achievements of an individual under the age of 25 who has shone over the last year within their field and made a significant contribution to the growth and development of the company that they work for.

Who should enter?:

Open to inspiring young people (under the age of 25) working in the Inverclyde area, whether they be an employee, trainee, graduate or apprentice, within any sector or business. Also open to young business owners and entrepreneurs from Inverclyde.

Previous winners:

Carys Knox (Waterfront Cinema) and Claire McParland (Holiday Inn Express Hotel)

What the judges are looking for:

Someone who has gone the extra mile to develop their skills and experience and brings real added value to their organisation. Entrants should be able to demonstrate how their commitment and drive have helped bring a new skill set or perspective that adds value to the organisation they work for.

Our judging panel will be looking for a successful, outward looking individual who can evidence that they have helped to grow or develop the company through a mixture of sound business techniques, use of latest technology or innovation, creativity or entrepreneurism.

Best Tourism Business

This award celebrates the positive contribution of local tourism or hospitality related businesses in encouraging local spend, attracting visitors to the area and enhancing the profile of the Inverclyde area through what they can offer.

Who should enter?:

Any organisation of any size which is tourism or hospitality focussed/led. This includes hotels, food and beverage, retail or leisure activity providers located or based within Inverclyde.

Previous winners:

None – New Category

What the judges are looking for:

The judges are looking for tourism organisations that demonstrate innovative campaigns and strive to offer a great experience to every visitor. Judges will be looking for clear evidence of your business’ unique selling proposition (USP) and evidence that these USP’s encourage spend as well as drawing visitors from out with the area to your business.

You should also be able to show how your business has contributed to an increased number of visitors to Inverclyde and also evidence the businesses’ growth and sustainability strategy for the future.

Best SME Business

This category shines a light on small to medium businesses in Inverclyde who can evidence that they have grown and will continue to grow in light of successes and strong business plans actioned by the company.

Who should enter?:

Inverclyde based businesses with between 1 and 50 employees across any sector.

Previous winners:


What the judges are looking for:

A company with clear goals and objectives and a present and future strategy across all areas of the business to ensure growth. This company should have the ability to identify their target market and have a strong Customer Focus with marketing that demonstrates raising the organisation’s profile and increased turnover.

You should also be able to prove your success to date with evidence of your annual turnover / profit, staff numbers, any recent investment, expansion and/or growth. This should also show your contribution to the local economy, local employment and influence on inwards investment to Inverclyde. There should also be clear evidence of a future proofing strategy and the ability to show how the company has overcome threats / weaknesses and how this has been dealt within the business.

Best Large Business

This category highlights the success of large Inverclyde Businesses who can demonstrate the key to this success and how the intend to continue to grow and further establish themselves.

Who should enter?:

Inverclyde based businesses with over 50 employees across any sector.

Previous winners:

Ferguson Marine

What the judges are looking for:

This category should follow the same guidelines as the Small-Medium business category; but must also show the profitability of the business and a demonstration of some social and corporate responsibility e.g. volunteering, fundraising, community engagement. This must be clearly demonstrated in the positive effect these actions have had on the local community and evidence should be provided on how this has been measured by the company.

The business should also demonstrate excellence through the knowledge and skills of their staff, with a strategic commitment to employee learning and development in the future. Evidence should be provided of the opportunities that are available for staff and how this is effective for staff as well as for the business in general in line with achieving business objectives.

Service Industry Business of the Year

This award highlights the companies who constantly strive to exceed customer expectations and deliver industry-leading customer service standards. Can you demonstrate that customers are at the heart of everything you do? Do you innovate around customer experience, measure customer satisfaction and deal effectively with complaints? Can you show examples of customer feedback and demonstrate how your customer service strategy contributed to? Then this is the award for you.

Who should enter?:

Inverclyde based businesses in the service industry and also open to professionals who provide services.

Previous winners:

None – New Category

What the judges are looking for:

Service Industry businesses or professionals who can demonstrate increased growth or market share, enhanced customer delivery and engagement and effective leadership plus more engaged and motivated staff.

You must be able to evidence what processes are in place to train in order to achieve service levels and how the company benchmarks this. You should be able to show your service level standards and how you measure the results and ensure continued service levels. The company should also have processes in place for monitoring and resolving issues or complaints.

Manufacturing Business of the Year

This new category recognises excellence in companies of any size that excel in manufacturing or engineering performance.

Who should enter?:

Any Inverclyde based business that manufactures at any scale and within any sector.

Previous winners:

None – New Category

What the judges are looking for:

The judges will be looking at the processes in place that help your business achieve success and will require evidence of company growth. Applicants will also have to demonstrate how innovation and technology has improved processes and efficiencies within the business.

You should be able to evidence the benefits of manufacturing in the UK for your business as opposed to outsourcing and manufacturing out with the UK. The company should be forward thinking and have plans in place to overcome any possible external factors (e.g. Brexit). The company should also be working towards reducing their carbon footprint.

Inverclyde's Favourite Business

For the first time, we will be asking the public to vote for an outstanding business, worthy of being titled, ‘Inverclyde Favourite Business’.

In the first instance, we are asking for nominations to be submitted to us in the same format as the other award categories. From here, a panel of local business experts made up of Inverclyde Chamber Board Members and our event sponsors, will work to shortlist 5 companies who will feature on the ICC website and public votes will be submitted. The business with the most votes by the closing date (29th May) will be announced at our Awards Dinner.

To be shortlisted for public vote, the business should have an ambitious vision with clearly defined strategic objectives and a commitment to the wider community. The business will be performing efficiently and effectively and the culture of the company will be entrepreneurial with its innovative approach setting it apart from its competitors.

Customer satisfaction will be at the core of the company’s values and it will be able to demonstrate regularly exceeding customer expectations. The business should be able to evidence growth, sustainability in the Inverclyde area and its success and popularity locally.



How do I enter and how long is the application?

Once entries reopen later in the year, you will be able to enter via an online application form on our website Awards page or paper/word document copies can be requested by emailing membership@inverclydechamber.co.uk

The application is short and will ask for :

  • Your chosen category

  • Your contact details

  • Business name, background details and links to the company website/social media pages

  • A short supporting statement on how the business meets the criteria and why they should be shortlisted (no more than 500 words)


Can I enter for more than one category?

Yes, you can enter in up to three categories. We ask that you complete a separate application form for each category when applying and make each supporting statement tailored to match the category you are entering.


Which category should I enter?

You should consult the criteria for each category to inform your application and reference this on your supporting statement. Category criteria can be found in the drop down menus above and also on the Awards page here. You can also contact us (details at bottom of this page) for an informal chat to find the right category for you.


Who are this years’ ICON Awards Sponsors?

ICC has welcomed two new sponsors to the awards, Diodes Incorporated and the Golden Casket Group. Long-term Chamber sponsors are Auto-Tec Scotland, Holiday Inn Express (Greenock), Inverclyde Council, Riverside Inverclyde, Succession Wealth, Waterfront Cinema and West College Scotland.


When is the deadline for entries?

Entries are currently suspended until later in the year and a new deadline for applications will be set to allow businesses to continue to apply.


What happens once entries have closed?

Going forward, after entries close, all applications will be scrutinised and a shortlist of six businesses in each category will be selected to present to our judging panel made up of representatives from each of the sponsors, ICC Board members and guest judges, who are well respected in their field.


When will I hear if I have been successful in being shortlisted for the next stage?

We aim to inform all applicants of the outcome two weeks after entries close and those who are successful to be shortlisted will be asked to do a short 10-15-minute presentation to put in a final pitch to be selected as a finalist for the ICON Awards ceremony. From this judging process, Three finalists in each category will be selected and informed at least one month before the final awards ceremony.


What Do I Get as a Finalist?

If successful and you are selected as a finalist, you will be contacted separately to make arrangements for filming which will be used at our Final Awards ceremony and for promotion of the event. All finalists will also be rewarded with a framed certificate, a copy of their video to use on your own platforms and 2 free tickets to the ICON Awards Dinner, with additional seats being made available to purchase.

Finalists will receive heightened promotion across our website and Social Media channels through press releases on the run up to the event and will feature in videos and in the programme on Awards Night. There will also be promotion for finalists after the event on the ICC website and newsletter.


When is the Final Awards Dinner?

We are working to reschedule the Awards dinner for later in the year and are hoping to have this confirmed as soon as possible. The ICON Awards Final Ceremony will take place at the Kip Marina, Inverkip and winners will receive a bespoke ICON Award which can be proudly displayed, as well as an Individual press release which will be promoted across local press and our Social Media channels.


Visit our ‘FAQs on ICON Awards’ highlight story on Instagram for more FAQ’s and see our Awards page on our website for terms & conditions and other useful information.

For any further advice or an informal chat, contact our Membership Executive, Shari Workman at membership@inverclydechamber.co.uk or call 07591 197 703.

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