Dr Philip Smith MBE, Chair of Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership (MKBLP) promoters of The Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards (MKBAA), looks back on the success of last year, discusses the changes to be implemented at MKBAA2018 and urges more entries from businesses and individuals in MK.

MKBAA2017 was our best awards yet, and MKBLP, Interdirect and Evolution are proud to have organised another fantastic event. Now in its fifth year, the glittering awards ceremony hosts more than 600 attendees at the DoubleTree by Hilton at stadiummk. The evening is an opportunity for businesses across MK to showcase the amazing talent that we have in our city.

The 2017 awards, which took place in March, paid homage to Milton Keynes’ 50 years of growth, and saw more entries and a bigger, better and more glamorous awards evening than ever before. This year’s event will be themed around International Trade.

We had some excellent feedback about the 2017 event – from our compere, who was so impressive that we’ve booked her again for 2018, to the engaging trophies, complete with a newspaper from the year MK was born! We were also pleased to donate a further sum of £8,000 to local projects that focus on enterprise and business skills to improve the lives of people in Milton Keynes, administered by MK Community Foundation.

MK Business Leaders is not resting on its laurels to improve and further establish the event. At the top of our to-do list is reaching more businesses and persuading them of the benefits of entering. They include the positive media exposure generated, the effect on staff morale and for finalists, a video of the company showcased in front of the cream of MK businesses.

The 2018 awards welcome the category for Best Use of Social Media (to be agreed by the audience on the evening), Business Impact in the Community, Charity of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Small Business, Leisure, Entertainment & Arts, Customer Service and the International Trade Award. We also welcome the return of the New Business Category and have a new format for the Lifetime Achievement Award, which this year is open to the general public to suggest nominations. To enter and for further information visit www.mkbaa.co.uk .

The prestigious Business of the Year Award will be presented on the night at Double Tree selected by the judges from the winning category entries.

There are also some changes to the Judging Panel for 2018, with veteran judges Sir John Southby Bt and Jon Corbett remaining and Carole Mills returning for 2018. With the addition of last year’s winner of the Young Businessman of the Year category, Ben Turner, Ian Revell of MK Community Foundation, Executive Dean of The Open University, Dr Josie Fraser and Ben McDonald of KPMG. The panel is an impressive cross section of MK organisations.

Following the success of last year’s two stage entry process, we have further streamlined entries for 2018, with the first stage closing on 16 November 2017. The second stage will commence immediately following this date and shortlisted candidates advised in February.

To enter the MKBAA, or to book a table at the awards ceremony, visit www.mkbaa.co.uk. To find out more follow @MK_BAA on Twitter, and join the discussion on LinkedIn.

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