The Judges give their thoughts

We joined this year’s MKBAA judges at their latest meeting to get an insight into how they go about tackling the mammoth task of judging the Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards. We were also able to grill the judges about their expectations for this year and get you some sneaky tips on how to impress them! 

First up, head judge Sir John Southby Bt, who has had a distinguished career in engineering and has been involved in the Milton Keynes business community for over 25 years. When asked about what the judging panel would be looking for he advised, “Keep it simple and answer the questions. We are looking for something exceptional or different. Use your own words to sell this to us.” For him personally, he’s looking for businesses to take the opportunity to show the judges how good they are in their words, don’t fill it with marketing speak, personalise it.

Jon Corbett is Director; Head of SME at Barclays in this region, and having lived in Milton Keynes all his life, he has a more personal reason to see the entries stand out. “I am really keen to see how businesses have contributed to the success of Milton Keynes and the surrounding area; through its contribution to the local economy, employability or promotion of our great city.” His top tip would be to, “Keep it clear, focussed and concise.”

Dr Gordon Mellor is the Director of University Campus Milton Keynes (UCMK) and he is looking for ambition from those businesses entering MKBAA this year.  He commented, “I am drawn to those entries that show ambition, imagination and drive. If a business has those qualities it has potential to succeed in a difficult and demanding environment.”

As previous CEO of the highly successful MK Community Foundation, Julia Upton brings a wealth of knowledge and empathy to the judging panel and she echoes the Head Judge’s words, "Begin early, be succinct and explain in a straightforward way what your organisation actually does. This is not a marketing exercise, be clear and answer the questions, providing evidence of achievements (facts and figures). Tell us about your organisation's strengths, what makes you stand out and what you are most proud of."

For Carole Mills, Chief Executive at Milton Keynes Council, it’s all about shouting about your successes, “This is not a time to be modest about your achievements – be clear, concise and compelling.  Tell us what you’ve done and the obstacles you’ve overcome to secure your success.”

And the final member of our illustrious judging panel is Steve Hill, External Engagement Director at The Open University. For him passion is everything. He commented, “I want to see a business’s passion for excellent service and innovation shine through, this should come naturally if it’s written with sincerity and genuineness.”

And how do you get your entry noticed, “We want to see impact. This could be a remarkable success which was bold, unique or went far beyond expectations. Clear and concise entries are essential, and they should also be human. We want to hear what you’ve learned and also what really drives you as a business, this will all make your entry stand out.”

With all this useful advice, what are you waiting for…the deadline for entries is 23 November 2016.