Sound advice from business awards judge

Dr Caroline Chesworth of Mad Science (Preston) at the BIBAs
Dr Caroline Chesworth of Mad Science (Preston) at the BIBAs
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A former award winner has told businesses bidding to land one of Lancashire’s leading awards to “be themselves” when they face the judges for the first time.

Dr Caroline Chesworth, managing director of education firm Mad Science North West, has urged applicants to the Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, to showcase themselves to the panels of leading businessmen who will pick the 18 category winners.

From next Monday, May 11, the applicants which have secured a place in the first round of judging will go under the spotlight.

The panel which selects the Manufacturer of the Year and Exporter of the Year will be the first to meet their category’s finalists as a 10-day period of judging gets underway.

Dr Chesworth, who picked up the Business Woman of the Year prize in 2013, said: “I can recall the nerve-wracking moment when I sat down in front of the BIBAs judges and began to explain my business to them.

“They were absolutely fantastic with me and set me at ease, but if there is one thing I learnt from the experience it was definitely ‘be yourself’ and not who you think the judges want you to be.

“If you can get across the passion, creativity and attention to detail which you put into practice every day of your working lives, you will go an awfully long way towards securing a judge’s vote. These awards are about inspirational business leaders at the head of fantastic businesses and I would urge every person being interviewed to be prepared to inspire the judges in front of them.”

The former winner is sitting on the Entrepreneur of the Year judging panel at this year’s awards, alongside Angela Carradus, Jacqueline Jackson and Lubica Strakovo, of the Institute of Enterprise at Lancaster University Management School.

Other former BIBAs winners among the judges include Kirsty Henshaw, the entrepreneur behind food range, Kirsty’s, and Ghostbikes.com managing director Adam Patel.

Adam Armstrong, transformation leader for global creative agency Saatchi and Saatchi, will head up the panel for the prestigious Business of the Year prize, alongside former BIBAs winner Norman Tenray, of Longridge builders’ merchant, OBAS UK, and Abbey Telecom managing director, Tony Raynor.

The judging gets underway at the Fylde Coast offices of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, which organises the awards. Applicants will face judges one-to-one to convince them to put them through to the next round of judging.

From June 8, the judges will go ‘on tour’ around applicants’ business premises.