BIBAs competition has been heating-up – literally – as more applicants get visits from the judges

It’s week three of the final interviews that will decide the winners in all twenty categories of the Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs

Volunteer judges have spent the past two weeks touring the county in blistering temperatures and beneath blue skies as part of the ‘BIBAs On Tour’ phase of the competition.

So far, winners have been chosen in half the awards up for grabs, including Start-up, Micro Business, Small Business, Medium Business and Business of the Year, as well as Service, Manufacturer, Construction, Leisure and Tourism, and Digital/Marketing Business of the Year.

This week sees a further 40 applicants in the categories of Professional Business of the Year, Employer of the Year, Scale-up Business of the Year, Innovative Business of the Year, and Family Business of the Year all expecting a final grilling by the judging panels.

At this stage of the process, the judges are not seeking to uncover new information, but are instead looking to corroborate the claims made by applicants by rooting-out evidence in person, while being exposed to the culture of the organisations that are bidding for glory.

“Visiting the applicants’ workplaces gives us a rare glimpse into their company culture and employee engagement practices,” Sara Walker, explained at Business Health Matters. It supports local businesses to improve the physical and mental health of their employees, so that staff are happier, healthier and more productive, and is sponsoring the Employer of the Year category. “The BIBAs On Tour judging allows us to go beyond the traditional interview format and get a genuine feel for the company’s atmosphere. We want to see a strong connection between the organisation and its employees, as well as a supportive and inclusive work environment that fosters growth and success.”

Asked what applicants should expect, Amin Vapari from Two-Zero Lancashire that’s sponsoring the Scale-Up Business of the Year award said: “In this final round, applicants should highlight not only highlight their accomplishments but show them to us too. It’s all about proof at this stage. It goes without saying that we need to see evidence of their ability to seize opportunities and execute the management initiatives behind the double-digit growth they claim to have achieved.” Two-Zero Lancashire is a specialist business support service set up by Lancashire County Council that exists to help equip scaleup business leaders with the tools and skills to grow their business 20% year-on-year.

Denys Smith-Hart is managing director at InterSys Micronics which is again sponsoring the Innovative Business of the Year award in 2023. He said: “As judges, we are particularly interested in verifying and validating the claims of achievements made by the applicants, especially when it comes to innovation and how that’s powered their growth or given them a competitive edge. It’s also an opportunity for us to witness firsthand the impact they have had on their industries and communities.” InterSys Micronics is no stranger to innovation having been formed to develop quality technology solutions and provide reliable IT support to organisations of all types and sizes. It offers complete systems integration in areas such as networking, remote communications, web application development, custom training, and internet solutions.

The Family Business of the Year award is being sponsored by Brabners, an independent law firm. Tom Smith said “During the BIBAs On Tour judging round, we will closely observe how the family business integrates its values, traditions, and heritage into its everyday operations. In the application and at the formal interviews, entrants in this category told us about the alignment between the family’s values and the company’s mission, and how this contributes to success and sets them apart from other businesses. Now it’s time to show us as well.”

Each day of the BIBAs On Tour judging round packs in visits to eight finalists, located all across the county. It’s a logistical challenge for the organisers at the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, especially considering that Lancashire covers an area of 1,189 square miles.

Five more deserving winners will have been chosen by the end of the week, with the final interviews set to continue until the end of June.

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BIBAs competition has been heating-up - literally - as more applicants get visits from the judges
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