Express & Star Business Awards


Business of the Year

Sponsored by Express & Star

Open to all sectors of business, the judges will be looking for an outstanding organisation whose track record sets them apart from the rest. The blue riband award will go to the company with an impressive turnover that has delivered a top flight performance across every part of their business and sets the standard within their industry – the very best in the region.


Entrants will need to show strength in the following areas:

  • Commercial performance
  • Leadership and management
  • Outstanding commitment to customers
  • Innovation
  • Investment in staff
  • Commitment to the local community

Business Person of the Year

Sponsored by ArchOver

This is an individual award that singles out business owners, entrepreneurs and senior management for their leadership, contribution and for having a substantial impact on their business in the past year.

The judges will be looking for evidence of :

• High levels of business skills and acumen
• An imaginative and inspirational manager
• Innovative and entrepreneurial leadership
• Someone who has given the business a competitive advantage
• A role model within their own business and beyond

Individuals may nominate themselves but anyone can put forward an individual for this category.


Best Place to Work

Sponsored by Aspray24

Have you created an environment in which employees thrive and are committed to the company’s aims and ambitions because it is a great place to work? Does this mindset translate into positive benefits and achievements for the business?

We need you to show evidence of the following:

• Staff retention
• Commitment to professional and personal development
• Communication at all levels
• Commitment to the local community
• Impact on company performance
• Staff motivation
• Return on company ethos for better performance


Best Use of Technology

Sponsored by Altodigital

Has your company created, introduced or developed new technology that has had a positive impact on your business? If so, we would like to hear from you.

In your submission the judges will be looking for evidence of how technology has:

• Improved processes
• Reduced costs
• Increased revenue
• Enhanced customer satisfaction

This award is open to new and established businesses alike.

Community Champion

Sponsored by Jaguar Land RoverJaguar_Land_Rover_ExZone4

The judges are looking for a company that displays, on a regular basis, a commitment to corporate social responsibility over and above their daily business demands and can show how this has had a positive impact on the surrounding area. This may be by getting involved with a local school or organisation, or encouraging staff to work voluntarily on community projects.

The award will be presented to a company which demonstrates the following:

• Staff engagement in the local neighbourhood
• The benefit to the community or to a specific social cause from staff endeavours
• Contribution to personal development of employees
• Plan for sustainable commitment to the cause on an ongoing basis

Please note that not-for-profit organisations are excluded from this category.

Customer Service Champion

Sponsored by Black Country Chamber of Commerce – The Platinum Group

Organisations entering this category need to illustrate both their commitment to and achievement of outstanding customer service at all levels.

We are looking for evidence in the following areas:

• Clear customer service policy
• Staff training and ongoing development plan
• Strategy adopted to retain existing and gain new customers
• How customer satisfaction is measured
• Contribution to growth
• Achievement of national accreditations

 Growth & Innovation Award

Sponsored by BDO

Businesses will need to have a minimum turnover of £5M and have achieved impressive growth over the last three years to enter. They should be able to tell an inspirational story that will encourage others and be able to motivate other companies to maximise opportunities for growth.

The judges will be looking for evidence of:

  • The development of an outstanding product or service through innovation
  • Fresh markets having been identified and a great sales plan being put in place
  • New customers gained and market share increased
  • A commitment to exceptional service
  • A strong management team that has sustainable development plans to build on its success in the future

Manufacturing Champion

Sponsored by UTC Aerospace Systems

The eventual winner of this category will probably combine the best of traditional skills with new technology, while continuing to strengthen the regional economy.

All finalists will need to demonstrate a dedication to manufacturing excellence with particular attention paid to:

• Quality
• Sales performance
• Sustainability
• Investment in people and plant
• Lean manufacturing
• Environmental responsibility

Micro Business of the Year

Sponsored by City of Wolverhampton Council

This category is open to businesses employing between one and 10 people. A minimum of 18 months trading is required for any new business to consider this category.

Judges will be looking for evidence of:

  • Dynamic leadership
  • Tangible level of success
  • Robust business plan
  • Flexibility to adapt to market changes
  • Marketing plans to maximise future growth
  • Smart working practices
  • Top level customer service

Small to Medium Sized Business of the Year

Higgs Logo Stacked Extra WhiteSponsored by Higgs & Sons

If your business employs between 11 and 200 people and is outstanding in a number of ways, this could be the category for you. The ultimate winner is likely to be an innovative company that is looking forward to the challenges ahead.

The strengths being sought are:

  • Innovation in products/services
  • First class customer service
  • Outstanding leadership and management
  • Committed workforce
  • Coherent business plan
  • Sustainable strategy for future expansion
  • Investment in employees’ continuing professional development
  • Investment in developing the skills of young people relevant to the needs of the region’s economy

Young Business of the Year

Sponsored by CarversCarver logo 2011

The judges are looking for a young business, five years or less at January 31 2017, that is likely to be a strong all-rounder, already a leader in its own chosen area of expertise. They must be able to demonstrate:

• Effective leadership and management
• Innovation in products, services or processes
• A robust marketing strategy
• Investment in staff development
• A tangible level of success
• Significant growth or expansion and potential to sustain this