Premier Festival Partner

Lester Aldridge

Festival Partners

Entering the Awards

Entries to the Awards are now closed

The Dorset Business Festival Awards celebrate excellence in our business community. They are free to enter, and we welcome entries from businesses and charities of all sectors and sizes. With the exception of the ‘Future Leader’ category, awards are presented to the organisation and not the individual.

Three semi-finalists will be shortlisted after 5 August. They will be invited as guests (two complimentary tickets) to attend the Dorset Business Festival Awards on 12 October as well as a Meet the Finalists event on 27 September.  The category winner will be announced at the Awards event on 12 October and presented with their award.

Awards Categories

This award celebrates the growth and success of a business that has started in the last 5 years. This should include the growth of the business and market presence established over this time.

This award recognises a business that supports both the health and wellbeing of employees and goes the extra mile in making their business the best place to work. The business should demonstrate examples of good practice, innovative policies, strong staff retention and a genuine focus on providing a happy and enjoyable workplace.


This award recognises the outstanding work of a business in contributing to the community through working with the community and charitable sector.

This award celebrates exceptional customer service both in terms of new and existing customers. The award will particularly recognise innovative approaches to customer service and provide tangible evidence of feedback.

This award celebrates a business leading the way in cutting its carbon footprint and impact on the environment through innovative sustainable business practices.

This award recognises a rising star in the business community aged 30 or under. This should include the career progression and the impact the person is making in their business or the business in which they are employed.

This award recognises the success of a business that has achieved significant growth through trading internationally -either in entering new overseas markets or building its presence in existing international markets. The successful business should demonstrate the overall growth that international trade has contributed.

This award recognises a business that has truly embraced inclusivity and diversity to make their workplaces more representative, welcoming and inclusive. The business will be asked to provide tangible evidence of particular policies and practices in the business and how this has made a positive impact on culture within the business.

This award recognises a business that is experiencing significant growth and a presence in its sector, growing new markets and demonstrating substantial growth in scale of business operations, markets and turnover.

This award recognises the way a business is implementing technology to enhance its business performance and service offered to customers.

The Judges

Meet The Judges

The Dorset Business Awards will be judged by a panel of independent business leaders and owners. The panel includes: 

  • Rachel Atkinson, The People Choreographer®
  • Cecilia Bufton, Chair of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Natalie Collins, Associate at Savills
  • Martin Edwards, Chief Executive of Julia’s House
  • Dr Lois Farquharson, Executive Dean of Bournemouth University Business School
  • Cheryl Hadland, Founder and Chair of Tops Day Nurseries
  • Sarah Howard, Chair of the British Chambers of Commerce
  • Nicola Newman, Board member of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, Board member of Kingston Maurward College, Dorset LSIP Lead.
  • Gail Ninnim, Managing Director of Ocean Automotive
  • Phil Popham, Former CEO of Sunseeker International and Lotus Cars 
  • Paul Tansey, Group CEO, Intergage
  • Anthony Woodhouse, Chair of Hall & Woodhouse