Criteria for Awards


The winner will display a clear demonstration of the implementation of innovative ideas and processes, careful planning and a determination to succeed to produce a thriving business.

You will be expected to cover some or all of the criteria below in your submission:

  • Excellent growth or expansion
  • Potential for sustained growth
  • Innovation in products services or processes
  • Customer and staff engagement
  • Effective leadership and management
  • An ethical approach to business
  • Strong business results, profitability
  • Community involvement

In short we would like you to demonstrate why your business, however large or small, has a wow factor and is worthy of this award. So please ensure you include as much information as possible to support your application.


This is open to any individual demonstrated a positive impact  on a business or business in general in the town – Judges will consider:

Hear how the individual has had an impact in the wider business community

  • The individuals role and impact in their own organisation’s success
  • How the individual has had an impact in the wider business community
  • Examples of their flair and method of getting things achieved
  • General style and leadership values
  • His or her personal achievements
  • Personal challenges they have successfully overcome
  • Please note you must complete the Business Leader of the Year for this category

Each  of the following Applications should include:-

• A business overview.
• Demonstrate sustainability i.e good prospect of survival,  logical business structure.
• Show evidence of success.
• Turnover, investment, profitability, innovation.


This category is open to any business operating in the Borough of Hartlepool. In particular, we are looking for businesses who have shown innovation and creativity in growing their business or who have expanded their business into new markets. Specifically, the business must meet the following criteria:

  • The business must have completed 3 full years of trading at the time of their application
  • The business must be based in the borough of Hartlepool
  • The business must have fewer than 10 employees
  • The business can be from any sector


This category is open to any business operating in the creative sector e.g. media, digital, art and design, jewellery design, photography, fashion etc. Your business must be at least a year old at the time of applying. We are particularly looking for creative businesses who have shown:

  • Good business practice
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Commercial success
  • Determination to succeed



This category recognises businesses that have exceeded expectations in helping the local community.

The judges will pay particular attention to evidence of creativity in the use of resources to help local communities. They will especially be looking for businesses that have helped the community or are themselves community or social businesses.

  • Size of company vs community involvement.
  • Sustainable community projects.
  • Involvement in improvement of community groups/areas.


Entrants for this category should be able to demonstrate significant business improvement through the training and development of its workforce and show the systems used for evaluation. In particular entrants should demonstrate how training links to their business objectives and provide examples of how training has benefitted staff. Judges will also be looking for examples of the business improvements gained from training.


The judges will consider all aspects of manufacture, including research and development, and the actual or likely commercial success of its product or service. Key success factors will include marketing, design process/best practice, market potential for growth/competition and profitability. Other factors might include job creation and investment. Use of teamwork, project management capability, customer delight/novelty factor and use of market research. Development to prototype stage only is expressly excluded from this award.

Judges will be considering all aspects of company performance that relates to manufacturing with an emphasis on quality, investment in people and equipment, manufacturing innovation and sales performance and growth prospects.


This category is open to any business that has been trading three years or less at the date of the application. Entrants must be able to show how their business has progressed. Success will be proven by the business having a clear understanding of its products, competitors and the marketplace in which the business operates. Companies should explain their strategy and vision for the next 3-5 years and demonstrate their ability to drive the business forward.

Category Specific Information Required

In addition to the generic information, the judges will specifically consider:-

  • Branding/marketing
  • Geographic market
  • Level of the owner’s investment/commitment to the business
  • Job creation potential.
  • What hurdles the owner(s) overcame in setting up/developing the business.


The judges are looking for a service company that has achieved and exceeded quantifiable business goals while delivering a market leading service to their customers. Entries should demonstrate strength in the following areas:-

• Service excellence
• Service differentiation
• Business growth
• Innovation


This category seeks to recognise businesses which operate successfully in the Travel and Tourism industry.

The judges will be looking for product development i.e. enhancing/providing an attraction or service for visitors. How marketing and branding is promoted. Skills development, job creation, turnover and profitability, network engagement i.e. engaging with businesses and agencies to promote tourism, service excellence, and that innovation or wow factor.


This award, developed by the Gus Robinson Foundation in association with Northgate Public Services, is designed to promote and develop entrepreneurship among young people. There has never been such a challenging time for young people carving out a career. For many, the traditional route to university will be the best path. For others, the apprenticeship route may be the best way to success. And for others still, the challenge of setting up their own business will be the route to success.

  • The candidate will, in the last five years, have completed a programme of vocational education, training or individualised learning
  • The candidate will have established and sustained a business or social enterprise (the “business”) for a minimum of two years
  • The candidate’s business should be successful, with demonstrable profitability/ growth in market share/growth in revenue, and the candidate will be able to describe why and how the business makes money
  • The business idea will be original, either in concept or in key aspects of its delivery, in the use of innovative solutions or the development of new products or services
  • The business will demonstrate in its business plan a commitment to sustainability
  • The business will demonstrate a local base and a commitment to developing within the Hartlepool economy and supporting the local community