Awards Categories

The National Maritime SME Awards 2023 has a category for you.

With twenty different awards designed to capture key aspects of business, we are excited to be uniting the absolute best of the nation’s businesses, of all shapes and sizes. The categories you choose should be the ones that most reflect your organisation’s or the nominee’s successful business initiative.

REMEMBER: Each business can only be nominated for a maximum of four categories. If subsequent nominations are received, only the first four will be considered for the shortlisting process. Nominations will only be considered from businesses or candidates living and working within the UK. All nominated companies or individuals must be a maritime SME or work for a maritime SME. An SME is any organisation that has fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of less than £43,402,203 (€50 million or a balance sheet total less than £37,327,527.00 (€43 million).

This award will go to the business that can show outstanding initiative, boldness and imagination in the enterprise, as well as sound management practices. This category is open to any business. There is no turnover criteria. The business must demonstrate outstanding performance, particularly over the last 12-24 months, in several aspects relating to their business operation. This should include commercial success, clear plans for growth, commitment to staff, local communities, environment and customers, a track record of innovation and strong leadership. Entrants must have been trading for a minimum of two years as of 13th September 2023.

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The Alan Woods Lifetime Achievement Award, is presented by vote of the National Maritime executive to an individual who, during their lifetime, have made outstanding and significant contributions to the field of the UK maritime sector.

Alan Woods MBE, is the Chair/ founder of Woods’ Silver Fleet and co-founder of Thames Clippers who continues to be a passionate advocate of Thames passenger boat building, safety and design innovation.

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This award is made to a business, volunteer or community group in recognition of their significant contribution in helping to regenerate and transform UK coastal towns or regions, local rivers and inland waterways.

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This award will go to a businessperson or entrepreneur who shows outstanding initiative, boldness and imagination in the enterprise, as well as sound management practices. This individual must demonstrate they have achieved commercial success, have clear plans, strategies and goals for their business and a strong track record of innovation. This category is open to any individual over 21 years old (as of 13th September 2023) who is instrumental as the business owner or main shareholder in leading their successful business or organisation in reaching its goals and potential.

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This Award is open to a person is 30 years of age or under on the 13th September 2023 who has worked in business for a minimum of three years and demonstrated a high degree of entrepreneurship, creativity and vision for the future. Entrants are anticipated to be business owners and/or directors who have brought financial and/or non-financial benefits to their organisation through their efforts. It is suggested that entrants should be able to show evidence of some or all of the following: Developed and implemented strategic business plans, Implemented plans to achieve growth and improve profitability, Actively taken steps to exceed customer expectations and Raised their organisation’s profile. In addition to this, judges will want to see an understanding of the relationship between their own development and the success of the business.

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The Outstanding Maritime Apprentice of the Year Award acknowledges the outstanding achievements of an apprentice who has successfully applied their learning in the workplace to advance themselves, their organisation and the community around them. The apprentice will demonstrate: A high level of progression and commitment to their own personal and professional development, Management or leadership capabilities that are already making a positive impact on their employer, peers, or provider, How their learning during their apprenticeship has been directly applied to their workplace and the impact it has had.

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Tell us what makes you the best new UK maritime business .This category is open to any business/organisation that came into business in the last 2 years (start date on or after the 13th of September 2021). There is no turnover criteria. The business must demonstrate outstanding performance, particularly over the last 12-24 months, in several aspects relating to their business operation. This should include commercial success, clear plans for growth, commitment to staff, local communities, environment and customers, a track record of innovation and strong leadership.

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The winners of Family Business of the Year will be combining their passion in business with their shared family values. Your business may have been passed down to you or you have started a business to pass on to your children in the future. The judges will be looking at how you can grow your business while keeping your core family values at the centre of everything you do. This category is open to any family business that is owned and operated by two or more members of a single family. They must be related either by blood, marriage, civil partnership, cohabitation, or adoption. Entrants must have been trading for a minimum of two years as of 13th September 2023.

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This category is open to any organisation, that is successfully marketing its products or services (including digital export trade) to customers outside the UK, and/or marketing products or services (including those of third parties) domestically. Entrants must be able to demonstrate outstanding improvements in commercial performance through export strategies and how international strategies have been developed, how products or services have been tailored for overseas or domestic markets.

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The ‘Disruptor of the Year’ award is for those entrepreneurs and businesses that are challenging established thinking with an innovative product or service which is less than 10 years old. This award recognises individuals who have demonstrated exceptional creativity, originality, and entrepreneurial spirit in their pursuit of new ideas and innovative solutions. Nominees for this award will have shown a willingness to challenge conventional thinking and to disrupt established business models, leading to significant changes and advancements in their respective industries.

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The award recognises any business or individual that sparked, realised, or significantly contributed with a specific initiative towards the use of clean energy or the transition to net zero emissions for the Maritime sector.

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The award will recognise the outstanding business in the sector that pioneers the digital workplace through exceptional teamwork and leadership, innovative and engaging approaches, and standout achievements and impact. Criteria for businesses entering will include: strategy and goals, teamwork and leadership, engagement and change, innovation and learning, achievements and impact.

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This category is open to any organisation, within which technology is a key element and where innovation and the continuous development of technology is a major function of their business.

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This award is open to all maritime education programmes and activities that are developed with the aim of expanding learning, enhancing access to information and providing unique academic experiences to all age groups, including adults. The judges will specifically be looking for quantified results of learning; quality and effectiveness of materials used; the degree of innovation in delivering the initiative; the level of student engagement and use of awareness raising to promote the activities; any future plans and activities the entrant has undertaken to seek to teach others and further educate using the same programme template; and finally the time and resource committed to the project.

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This award will go to a business that has developed and implemented an effective, holistic strategy which has had a proven and significant positive impact on the wellbeing of its workforce.

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A category which celebrates businesses that are crashing through the algorithms and channelising the chatter to create innovative, meaningful engagement that produces tangible results. This award is the ultimate Social Media accolade, as they reward the best work and best campaigns.

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This category is open to any business that can demonstrate commercial success and strategies for growth whilst achieving excellence in its commitment to the community. Businesses must show evidence that it has schemes, initiatives and policies which have maximum positive impact on local communities. Judges will be looking for clear methods of evaluation, effects on financial performance and involvement of staff and customers.

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Has your business undergone a major transformation in the past 24 months? This Award goes to a business that has stepped away from the ‘usual’ processes to challenge itself and those within the business. Judges will be looking for evidence of projects that have transformed the business. Judges will also be looking for evidence of research taken ahead of the project to assess the scope, then the teams that were assigned to the project (Third party? Finance? HR?), how the project timeline was adhered too and ultimately its demonstrable results. Judges will look for meaningful measurements beyond profits and cost benefits to measure its success.

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This award is presented to an individual or business which has made a significant technological contribution to improving maritime safety or the protection of the maritime environment. Such contribution can have been made either by a specific activity or over a period of time.

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The sustainability function is critical in modern business. To achieve their ESG targets and grow sustainably, businesses now look to their sustainability teams to lead the way. This category recognises the team that works collaboratively towards a shared sustainability purpose. This team will demonstrate initiative, creativity, and resilience to effect change in their organisation and improve ESG conditions.

Judges will be looking for entries that highlight how the company: Built a high-performing team with a culture of openness and trust, Improved ESG performance thanks to the unique contribution of the team, Fostered a culture for sustainability around the business, Broke down silos and encouraged cross-functional collaboration on ESG improvements and Developed capabilities in the team that future proof the function.

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*Please note, these awards are not open for entry and will be decided by the judging panel based on submissions within other categories.

Entries must be received by 6pm on Tuesday, August 1st, 2023 to qualify for judging.