2023 Award Criteria

Award Criteria
This page is designed to give nominators information to help them focus their nominations on key factors the judges will be using to select the short-list and winners of each category. To be eligible for any category, businesses must have a physical base in the former Teesdale District/Teesdale AAP area. This is expanded for the Entrepreneur and Apprentice of the Year categories to allow all Teesdale residents irrespective of the base of their orgainisation.

Apprentice Of The Year - This category seeks to recognise the commitment and enthusiasm of new entrants to the workplace.

It is open to apprentices who live in Teesdale (irrespective of the base of their employer) or work within Teesdale. Nominees will need to demonstrate commitment and an ability to learn and take on additional responsibilities.

  • Have successfully completed their apprenticeship after 31 December 2021 or are working on an apprenticeship scheme on 19 June 2023 (the opening date of the nominations).
  • Have produced excellent results during their apprenticeship.

Entrepreneur of The Year - This category aims to celebrate the work of successful entrepreneurs who either live in Teesdale (irrespective of the base of their employer/company) or work for/own a business based in Teesdale. An award to recognise entrepreneurism at any age for men and women. These are people who:

  • Demonstrate some proven sustainability for their skills/business
  • Can demonstrate exceptional achievements
  • Have overcome obstacles and/or risen to business challenges in terms of products or ways of working
  • Are a good leader and an inspiration to others
  • Can demonstrate good financial performance
  • Show growth potential and or future diversification
  • Deliver excellent customer service
  • Have engaged with their local community
  • Have embraced personal skills/ technology to promote their organisation

Social Responsibility -

For businesses demonstrating their social responsibility.  It could be based on their general business processes/philosophy or on a significant project that improves the wellbeing of people visiting, working and living in Teesdale and beyond. 

It can be based on the core activities of an organisation or a new service or product, or for developing effective ideas that make a difference as regards to the improvement of the environment or people's lives. 

Year on year environmental considerations and implications become increasingly important. However, this award also looks for Teesdale organisations making a difference for the benefit and general improvement of the lives of others. 


Best Community Engagement - The winner will demonstrate a significant range of engagement activities, within a single project, with the wider community of the dale

  • This is a project that is making a big difference to the lives of local people
  • Perhaps it connects people, or brings together those who would otherwise be isolated
  • It may show benefits for those involved in the project as well as the wider community
  • The project has considered the need to be sustained beyond its initial project scope
  • Teesdale-based project that reaches out to the local community by providing additional services, to support those living in the area
  • Businesses who provide services IN ADDITION to their core product to benefit the local community
  • Businesses who deliver these services in the way most accessible to those living in this rural, remote area

Most Innovative Business - Recognising creativity in terms of introduction of new products and services to the business portfolio or the development of innovative solutions to running internal business processes

  • A company that can clearly demonstrate innovation in either its new product development, processes or approach to market
  • A company where innovation is at the heart of its business approach
  • An innovative product or service, new or established

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Award - This category is new to the awards list.

  • Considered central to an organisation's operation, the basic values of equality, diversity and inclusion need to be firmly embedded in its ethos. 
  • How does your business ensure that people feel empowered and respected for the difference in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, and national origin, whether employed directly/indirectly by your organisation, or a customer/servicer of your business.
  • Provide details of your company's working practices that ensure difference is acknowledged, respected and celebrated.

Best Business trading outside Teesdale - Recognising businesses that trade in a wider market than Teesdale, in other parts of the UK or overseas.

  • A Teesdale business that can demonstrate growing customer numbers and growing business turnover from outside the Teesdale area.
  • This does not have to be exclusively into overseas export markets.
  • The judges will be looking for evidence of a clear strategy, actions taken and results to help achieve these increased exports.

Growth Business of The Year - The winner will be able to demonstrate clear growth in terms of turnover and profitability over recent years.

  • This is for rising stars, whatever your company size or activity. You know who you are!
  • The fastest growing company will demonstrate a trend of consistent growth in turnover, sales volume, job creation and market share
  • It will be ambitious and future facing
  • Have clear objectives and a plan to achieve them

Best Customer Focus - This category recognises one of the key criteria for any successful business, how they interact with the people who buy their products and services. Nominations for this category should be expected from the wider Teesdale community

  • Open to any business from any sectors or organisational make-up. All organisations, whether they trade B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Consumer), in person or over the internet can all be judged on their customer service
  • Communication, before during and after a sale or interaction, marketing, follow-up, organisation, thought, extra services, making life easier for you and understanding your needs as a customer
  • Attention to detail
  • An organisation that goes the extra mile
  • Interesting value added services

Best Social Enterprise - Open to any not for profit or community business in Teesdale.

  • This is for organisations who are making a big difference to the lives of local people
  • It could be described as the company with the biggest heart through support, information or outreach it delivers, which can be financial or otherwise
  • Perhaps it just connects people, or brings together those who would otherwise be isolated
  • If the organisation stopped being here how significant would the impact be?

Best New Business - Awarded to the business, that has started trading since  19 June 2020 which has demonstrated sustainability and can evidence further growth potential. The business can show success in a number of areas including:

  • Sustainable rural business
  • Potential for growth and job creation
  • Innovative
  • Proven track record in sales
  • Clear and focused approach to growth
  • Clearly identified target market
  • Shown good customer focus

Best Business - This award will be given to the business which has demonstrated outstanding growth and achievements in the two years.

  • This is open to dynamic growing businesses within Teesdale that are a standard bearer for success within the region.
  • Entrants must demonstrate outstanding achievement in all areas of their business
  • This award is one of the highest accolades and will be presented to the business most able to demonstrate all-round achievement, a clear vision for the future, success against objectives, sustained growth, and to be a standard bearer for success in Teesdale