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here are plenty of awards for businesses in Northern Ireland giving large and smaller enterprises their chance for a moment or two in the spotlight.....as well as a trophy for the reception desk or boardroom cabinet.
Few awards offer the kudos and business benefits of the Deloitte Best Managed Companies Awards, which have been launched for 2015, the seventh successive year of the all-island initiative.
But the closing date for initial applications from Northern Ireland companies is fast approaching. Those wishing to enter must complete a short application online by Friday, 7th August.
And that's where similarities with any other business awards end. In Phase 2 of the Deloitte application process in September, entrants must complete a more detailed submission on how their companies are managed. These submissions are evaluated by a panel under four main headings:-
“In a nutshell, we ask them to prepare a draft submission in which they have to demonstrate how their organisation is meeting and mastering its growth strategy,” says Glenn Roberts of Deloitte's Belfast office.
It might require a bit of time and effort to prepare those detailed submissions, but the next stage of the competition brings significant benefits to those who take the trouble to enter.
“A key part of the process is that we sit down – both ourselves and our co-sponsors Barclays Bank – with each company and we review and evaluate their business strategies. But we can also assist with the future development path for the organisation,” adds Glenn Roberts.
The Deloitte Best Managed Companies Programme is open to Irish (NI or ROI) based private companies (no Plc's) with a turnover in excess of £4 million and which have been established for at least five years.
The Programme has its roots in Canada back in the early 1990's when Deloitte's Canadian operation decided to launch a new scheme to recognise best business practice.
Over the years, it grew steadily to become the biggest business scheme of its kind in Canada and a sought-after badge of quality for Canadian companies.
“We launched it here in Ireland in 2008, which wasn't the best time in terms of the economic backdrop,” says Roberts. “But the initial interest and the entry level was much higher than we expected. We did have a couple of challenging years following that, but the Programme is now back where it should be.
“The important thing, we think, is that we look at the whole company.....not aspects of company performance or personalities. It's all about strategy and how companies are run. And it is a programme that brings real benefits to the companies themselves in terms of having their businesses evaluated and working with Deloitte and Barclays professionals.
“It's not just about numbers. It's about strategy and it's about engagement with the organisations.”
And, when it comes to the Awards themselves, learning and development is part of the agenda.....it's not just a trophy presentation ceremony (although that does come later in the day).
“We run structured professional development sessions throughout the day and we bring in some top international speakers,” Roberts adds. “And that all happens before the awards are handed out in traditional fashion come the evening time.”
And it doesn't end there. Winners can re-qualify as a Deloitte Best Managed Company for a further two years after winning the award, with the process leading up to a Gold Standard Award in the 4th year and Platinum Club in the 7th year.
“So we are building an alumni community around these awards,” says Glenn Roberts. “That's something that can be added to the other advantages that the programme brings to those who take part.”
Amongst those are the chance to use the Deloitte Best Managed Company official designation, an important potential marketing tool as well as extensive media coverage and networking opportunities.
How To Apply - Visit www.deloittebestmanaged.ie to fill in the online phase 1 application form. Remember, the closing date for phase 1 applications is Friday, 7th August, 2015.