We’re a little bit excited here at GrowTraffic this week. Judging has finally begun on the 2016 R Awards and, as GT are one of the category sponsors this year, that means it’s all stations go here at GT headquarters! We’ve got our judging hats at the ready (Simon Dalley insisted on judging hats!) and we’re raring to go, although with such a strong category full of exceptional local businesses, it’s going to be a tough call.
But I suppose I’d best wind back a little bit first and fill you in on the story so far.
The R Awards – short for the Rossendale Business Awards (no, I don’t know where the ‘B’ went to either!) – is now in its 7th year of running. The brainchild of the Valley at Work networking group, which now organises the event, the R Awards has grown in popularity since its inception thanks to the dedicated work of Chairman Rob Carder and the rest of the group, and is now the largest annual business event in Rossendale.
The purpose of the R Awards is to showcase the achievements of the Rossendale business community, who each year are doing great things to make our little corner of the UK brilliant. A diverse crowd, the range of businesses and individuals pushing forward the entrepreneurial spirit in Rossendale is quite phenomenal and there are a huge number who deserve recognition for the work they are doing. From local shops that have been serving the community for decades, to larger service companies providing jobs and growth, to the third sector giving their all to the local population, there are a lot of businesses working hard to make Rossendale a vibrant and prosperous place to live and work.
Unfortunately, though, all too often the efforts of those hard working businesses get overlooked and that’s why the R Awards was launched. With the simple idea of rewarding excellence in whatever form it appeared, the R Awards have really taken off and have gained much support amongst the local business community, all of whom are secretly hoping they’ll win one eventually, of course!
GrowTraffic & The R Awards
And that’s exactly why GT were so keen to get involved in the R Awards this time around. Having moved to Bacup almost 3 years ago, we were a little slow to venture out into the local business community to make friends, but when we did we were overwhelmed by the welcome we got. After coming across Rossendale’s Valley at Work networking group by chance, Simon Dalley and I went along to a meeting and were immediately accepted as part of the group.
Now, over a year later, we’ve made some fantastic connections with local business owners and made some good friends too. In addition to the tangible business we have acquired from attending this networking group, we’ve also received practical support and valuable advice too, as well as enjoyed the social aspect of getting out and mingling with likeminded people. And as Valley at Work do things slightly differently from other networking groups, it’s been great to be able to do some productive business networking on a more informal and less pressurised basis.
Hence, when the opportunity arose for GT to become a sponsor of one of the categories in the 2016 R Awards – a hotly contested position! – we jumped at the chance. But being a sponsor with the R Awards is more than just getting your logo on the awards evening’s programme.
In the spirit of the Valley at Work networking group’s ethos, where collaboration and mucking in together is very much the order of the day, being an R Awards sponsor means that you’re actually expected to pull your finger out and get involved. Obviously one of the most important duties will be turning up at the awards dinner itself and looking fabulous – a task that we’ll naturally excel at – but before then comes the judging.
Aptly enough (so apt in fact, that you’d almost believe someone planned it!) the category that GT has been given to judge this year is the Creative Business Award. Although our expertise lies in SEO and SEO Copywriting – which is not creative in the least! – the nature of our work means that we collaborate closely with many creative businesses, both digital and traditional, on a daily basis. Hence, we have quite a lot of practical experience of working with those creative types and are planning on bringing that expertise to the judging panel.
Having opened in mid-August, the nominations for the 2016 R Awards have now closed, but I think it’s fair to say that everyone involved has been pleasantly surprised by the number of businesses who have been nominated in this category. In order to keep the awards as inclusive and all-embracing as possible, nominations were open to anyone and could be made by anyone, whether a fellow business person, local citizen or just a visitor to the area with a positive experience to share. Moreover, the criteria for the category were left purposefully broad, to encourage as many nominations as possible, and the policy worked.
Not only were GT delighted to see the number of businesses nominated for the Creative Business Award – 18 at the final count – but we’ve also been incredibly impressed by the breadth and diversity of the companies on the long list. In addition to the more expected design-orientated creative companies, we’ve also had entries from businesses who are creative with food and drink, hair and beauty, interior design, glass and even timber.
And in addition to the impressive range, the calibre of the businesses nominated is extraordinary; there’s not a weak entry amongst them and they have all had a year worthy of recognition. I can foresee some very difficult decisions ahead!
The Next Stage
Nominations for the R Awards have now closed, but with only just over 4 weeks now until the awards ceremony itself, there’s a lot to do to wheedle the long list down to the short list and then decide on the winner. And with 5 strong willed individuals on the judging panel for this category, there’s bound to be some good heated discussions in store!
The winners will be announced at the R Awards 16 ceremony, which will take place on Wednesday 9th November 2016 at the Riverside in Whitworth. Unfortunately, tickets for the event itself are like gold dust, but if you’d like to know more about attending the award’s dinner – or about the awards themselves – then you can find all the information you need on the R Awards website.
And naturally, you can stay tuned to our blog or social media to be the first to hear the latest R Awards news but, if you’d like to find out more about GrowTraffic’s involvement or any other aspect, then you can contact us using any of the methods on our Contact Page.
*Photo courtesy of Liz Henson Photography.