Has your business entered the Media Isle of Man Awards for Excellence?

If not, you still have just over a week before entries close for this year’s Awards.

The Awards offer opportunities for companies of all sizes to enter, and win, and it’s a great way to raise the profile of your business on the island.

There are 16 award categories in all and the big one, of course, is the award for Business of the Year. Last year’s winner was software company, PDMS.

Catriona Watt, chief commercial officer at Douglas-based firm, collected the award on behalf of the company.

She said: ‘We were delighted to receive the prestigious Business of the Year award at the 2022 Isle of Man Awards for Excellence.

'This award celebrated the hard work, commitment and enthusiasm of our team who had worked hard to deliver great digital projects that make a real difference to our clients. 

'Winning the award was a real boost to staff morale who were delighted that their achievements and dedication had been recognised by the judging panel and the evening at the Villa Marina was the icing on the cake.

'The positive PR generated by our award win also helped to raise our profile both within the local business community and further afield – it was definitely the highlight of 2022 for PDMS.

'We were excited to even be shortlisted for the award, given the strong competition in the category.

'The process of putting together our award entry helped to highlight all the great achievements we’d accomplished over the previous 12 months both in terms of delivering great outcomes for our clients and also the support we provide to our growing team.

'It also shone a spotlight on our many different social value activities – all of which have a positive impact on our local community. 'Winning the award was the perfect way to kick start the celebrations for PDMS’ 30th anniversary in 2023!'

The award for Business of the Year recognises an Isle of Man business that has maintained consistent growth and a strong financial performance.

If you are proud of what your business has achieved and how it has weathered the turbulent landscape of recent years then this could be the category for you.

Judges will be looking for a business or organisation that can demonstrate a number of positive attributes including: an established market position; excellent growth, expansion or resilience with potential for sustained growth; innovation in products, services or processes; customer and staff engagement, and an ethical approach to business.

Another category many businesses would love to win is the award for Employer of the Year. Last year it was won by Zurich and its chief operating officer, Mark Cady, collected the trophy.

He said: ‘This award is just fantastic recognition for the management team and everyone at Zurich. It’s so important to us, we’re thrilled.

‘We do a huge amount with our employees. We’ve got a huge wellness programme, including free exercise classes and creating a garden at the offices this year.

‘We offer volunteering days for our team, plus free parking and all the usual things but I think it’s the wellness aspect that the staff have really taken to the most.

‘In 2022 we wanted to do something to celebrate being on the island for 40 years and we reached out to the staff and said: “We want to do 40 acts of kindness – you talk to us about what you’d like to see those acts of kindness being”.

‘Not only did the staff help us with those nominations but we had over 100 staff help us with the events as well so everyone got together.’

The winner of the Award for Digital Innovation of the Year recognises businesses that are empowering and enabling people to thrive in a digital world. It will showcase forward-thinking businesses leading the charge in this innovative space and using technology to tackle some of our biggest challenges and problems.

It might be a tech entrepreneur or someone who can show how they have applied technology to an existing problem, opening up new markets for their business and positively impacted the island’s economy in turn.

The Awards categories are tweaked every year to better reflect business and community life on the island.

This year there are two new categories for business and public sector organisations to enter: Teams Working Together and Excellence in Customer Service.

The Award for Teams Working Together is aimed at organisations which foster a culture where people and teams collaborate, pooling their talents, ideas and resources.

This could be something that is always in evidence, or it could have been demonstrated during difficult and challenging times, or through delivering projects when your team came together to improve and innovate.

Judges will be looking for organisations which have teamwork as one of their primary values; which are structured to encourage people to work together across departments, and where good team players are recognised and rewarded. They will also consider how well an organisation forges external partnerships and actively participates in local business and professional bodies designed to raise skills and standards in the island.

The Award for Excellence in Customer Service recognises what, for many businesses, is the most vital element in their performance, the one which underpins everything.

Judges are looking for businesses where the directors and team continually strive to exceed customers’ expectations and provide excellent customer service at all times, whether online, over the telephone or in person.

It recognises the outstanding contributions of a team and its members to delivering exceptional, outward-facing service and support to its customers.

This includes attributes such as clear core values that underpin their customer service policy; training and development provided to their team; technology and innovation that supports their service and positive feedback or testimonials from customers.

The winner of the Award for Digital Innovation of the Year will be a tech entrepreneur, or a business that is using technology to solve a business challenge or open up new markets.

Maybe you can show how you have applied technology to an existing problem opened up new markets for your business and positively impacted the island’s economy in turn?

The Award for Leader of the Year is different from the other award categories in that there is no entry process. This category is nominated by the Awards for Excellence judges’ panel.

A list of potential candidates is compiled throughout the year to identify industry leaders based on a number of criteria including: raising the Isle of Man’s profile: identifying key challenges for the business or organisation and overcoming them, and delivering a human approach to leadership that is embedded throughout the business.

Last year’s winner was Katherine Ellis, chief executive officer at Boston. As with all winners of this category, had no idea that she had even been nominated. She thought was attending the Awards for a great night out.

She said: ‘I had absolutely no idea. I’m really proud and genuinely surprised.’

Katharine’s career highlights include a management buyout in 2019, the acquisition by Boston of Fidelta Trust, and a refinancing of the business to provide for further growth and acquisitions. Boston employs more than 60 people on the Isle of Man and has further staff at its Malta office.

She said: ‘I’ve been with Boston for 10 years and, when I walked in the door at Boston it was the friendliest company I’d ever worked at.

‘It was a family-owned business and it felt like a family business and it was the thing I loved about it. So when we got the opportunity in 2019 to do the buyout, I wanted to keep the essence and the heritage of the business and keep it like a family business. Making it a good company is how we’ve been able to get great people to stick with the business and stay with us and that’s what I wanted.’

How to enter:

In all, there are 16 award categories at the Awards for Excellence, offering opportunities for businesses of all sizes, charities, public sector teams and individuals.

There are awards for those involved with everything from local food and drink, the community and culture, to digital innovation, customer service and teams working together.

For more information and to enter online, visit www.afe.im

l Entries for Media Isle of Man’s Awards for Excellence close at midday on Thursday, September 14.