What a year. It's been an absolute roller coaster for us.
We've still felt the effects of Coronavirus throughout this year, with many summer festivals being cancelled or postponed.
The finalists for the COVID Resilience Awards have been announced, after judges deliberated over their 'toughest ever selection process.'
The decisions follow scores of nominations for the preliminary phase of the new Leamington Business Awards which recognises COVID Business Resilience, Business Pivoting and Lockdown Heroes of 2020.
Established in 2014, the LBAs champion and celebrate the work of local businesses, individuals and organisations while also raising vital funds for local charities, culminating with, pandemic willing, a glittering black-tie ceremony next year.
The three finalists in each category are:
2020 Business Resilience Award: This award will go to a business that has demonstrated determination and resilience throughout the pandemic and tackled challenges head-on.
Business Pivot Award: This category is open to any business that can demonstrate how they have 'pivoted' their product or service during 2020, ie. adapted their offering for new or existing customers, thus allowing their business to survive – and even thrive.
Lockdown Hero Award: This award recognises the Leamington business that has gone 'above and beyond' during 2020. The business may have provided products to vulnerable groups free of charge, offered their services pro-bono to struggling local businesses or individuals, or spread positivity during challenging times. In this category, one can either self-nominate, or nominate another business.
Jonathan Smith, of organisers Talk Business UK, said: ''We have been totally overwhelmed by the quality of the entries for these special awards to recognise the businesses, organisations and individuals who have gone above and beyond in their response to the COVID-19 crisis.
"The judges have never had such a challenging time choosing the finalists and winners from the inspiring entries received. We will look to recognise all the entries over the coming weeks as they are all worthy of celebration!"
The COVID-friendly interactive event will be broadcast live online from Noisegate Media Studio in Leamington on December 11, hosted by local DJ and professional event host, Kirsty Leahy and featuring a special message from Matt Western MP for Warwick and Leamington.
The nine finalists will each receive an Awards Night Hamper at home containing food, drinks and goodies to help make the night extra special for everyone.
The judges are Mark Ashfield, MD for chartered accountants and financial advisors Harrison Beale & Owen; Sarah Windrum, CEO Emerald Group and CWLEP Board member; Louise Richards of Motionhouse dance circus production company and Roger Scott, Area Director South Midlands for Lloyds SME.
Sponsors include HB&O, Lodders solicitors and The Box Factory but more are invited to get onboard by contacting Jonathan Smith at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org He is also interested in hearing from businesses willing to donate items for the award hampers.
Jonathan said: ''With the challenges and restrictions that the current COVID crisis has given us we decided to postpone the main full Business Awards to early 2021 but felt it was perfect timing to recognise the inspiring effort and achievements many have made with their businesses and their communities."
Nominations for the main Leamington Business Awards will open on January 21 2021 when businesses have the opportunity to enter 12 categories: New Business of the Year; Business and Community Award; Customers Service Excellence Award; Young Person of the Year Award, Employer of the Year; South Warwickshire Achievement of the Year; Innovation of the Year; Outstanding Achievement of the Year; Independent Business of the Year; Property Business of the Year, Warwick District Charity of the Year and The People's Choice Award.
A winner from all the categories will also be selected for the prestigious Judges' Choice Award – Business of the Year.
Further details about the awards categories and how to nominate are available on the Leamington Business Awards website.