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UKTI selling the Queen's Awards to Cambridge

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Nick Cairns from UKTI had invited the Queen’s Awards Office to give a presentation to a selection of high performing businesses in Cambridge with a view to getting them to enter the competition during this, our 50th year.

I was deputising for Linda and took along Thomas Murphy who was spending a couple a weeks with the Queen’s Awards Office on a student work experience. We were met by Leon Palmer who had been looking after the logistics of the event. Leon had obviously put in a lot of hard work as the organisation was superb.

The event was chaired by Brian Stammers who introduced each of the three speakers and afterwards skilfully summed up the key points – the art of great chairing.

I delivered my presentation following a short 3 minute film about the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise and took questions from the audience which included Seafast Holdings, Cambridge Technology Group and NNT Workplace Solutions.

(Read a transcript of the video.)

I was followed by Mark Carberry from the Moller Centre who gave the entrant’s point of view and spoke about what was required from Moller when writing their winning submission.

The morning was wrapped up by John Rimmer whose enthusiasm captivated everybody in the room. Mark told about helping firms enter previous Queen’s Awards for Enterprise by burning the midnight oil sitting at kitchen tables! He also reiterated that no successful company is too small to enter; the minimum number of employees is 2!

I think the common threads in all our presentations were:

  • Read the rules first, the main one being if you’ve had any financial dips then unfortunately you cannot enter, it’s a tough stipulation but it applies to everyone
  • Once you’ve entered your ‘numbers’ it’s very important to remember this is a competition so make your entry stand out - describe what makes your business different from all the rest. Don’t be shy about sharing your achievements!
  • The judges don’t know you, so tell them your story and if you can make it punchy, so much the better
  • Don’t start too late, if you leave it all until the last moment you run the risk of forgetting something vital because you are rushing your entry.

The Question and Answer session was a lively affair which flowed into the working lunch buffet.

The toughest question of the day …. ‘What happens if the exchange rate causes a dip when the actual foreign currency shows a profit?’ Our technical guru in the office (Alastair) advises ‘Enter the figures in pound sterling but flag up the reason for the ‘apparent dip’ being a fluctuation in the exchange rate.

If you have any more questions please send them to me, I’ll be happy to pass the difficult ones to Alastair!

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