Saturday, July 30, 2005

...and the winner is! doesn't usually go for awards. There is always a fee too much, a rule too onerous, a catch too dodgy, an agenda too obvious or a faint sniff of frigging in the rigging to make the amount and/or effort involved really worth it.

But today I slapped in our entry to the start-ups awards, [link direct by clicking on headline. No, I didn't realise you could do that until recently, either]

The forms were short, the requirements simple, the judges relevant, the sponsors radars’ worth getting into, the cost reasonable… and the categories relevant. So, when do I collect my cheque!? Oh, the competition. Well, with all the ‘may the best win’ and all, I hope we wipe the board, including the big one, the top of the lot one.

Trouble is, that was won last year by a company with green in it, and we do know how awards like to share it all about evenly. Plus I was a bit iffy on certain questions, especially the financial ones. When the bean-counters want to see your beans, if you're a start-up there may not be an easy way of even the collector of beans to know what they have. Plus there tends to be a lot out for a while at the start, to offset the amount in when absolute amounts are calculated. And let me tell, you, trying to save the planet is not cheap.

But we're hopeful. A category like ‘Online Business’ is a definite match. ‘Best use of Technology’ hopeful (computers, databasing, search, ideas, making stuff,.. hi tech to promote low tech... to promote good practice). ‘Micro Business’ is a must, as you don't get much more micro than us. ‘Innovative’.. .well, need we say more? ‘Community Impact’... modesty prevents, but between pretty much everything we do, and especially stuff such as RE-Box, Green nappies, our charities initiative, etc, we think we're ok there.

Even the statement of what they are looking for is refreshing: ‘Originality of Thought’ (saving the planet AND making money from junk?). ‘Customer Satisfaction’ (ditto), ‘Balanced Approach to Work/life’ (on balance, the family had to go on holiday without me while we're launching this summer). ‘Sheer Bravery and Guts’ (One of our complementitors - guys by whom we should be supported and with whom we should working, but do get measured by reaching & teaching the public - seem to be keeping their communications budgets to themselves for now. Go figure.) had £20M last year to play with, while I’m looking enviously at the boys' piggy banks. ‘Building the Community’ (where to start/). ‘Flexibility in Working Practices (sure you can work at the weekend,,!).

Of course, as it was not a 'weekday-job' I have just sprinted down the Post Office to get it off registered in time for Monday's deadline. And as Emma, Queen of Filing, wasn't here I couldn't find half the neat things I only just thought of to stick in the pack. But it has gone, and no more to concern ourselves with until we hear back. Or don't.

The judging will be taking place over the next few weeks, so they will miss our main consumer campaign later this year, which is what we start-ups do to get going. Which means that, as a start-up, a lot of what we're up to may need to be taken on trust for now, though a roam around the site can't hurt.

So if you know any of the sponsors, or judges, please feel free to have a wee word...