Network Ireland – Benefits of Entering the Awards

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Reading Time: 6 minutes 

There are so many overt and hidden benefits of entering awards. If you are a female entrepreneur, business owner, or ambitious woman looking to propel your career in the corporate world, then read on to find out more.

I’ll dive into Network Ireland – benefits of entering the awards. You’ll find out what you should consider and understand the benefits of entering. Have a think about what it will do for you and your business.

Some networks have an award strategy for promoting and supporting their members.  This is one of a variety of benefits that some networking organisations include as a member benefit.   In my role as President of the Network Ireland Wicklow branch,  I wanted to delve into why you should enter awards and explore the many benefits that will ensue.

The absolute worst that is going to happen is that you’ll get heaps of publicity across social media, press coverage and heightened exposure for your personal and professional brand.

2021 has seen a shake up of the Network Ireland awards categories, continuing a trend set in 2020, to take into consideration the new business environment that we are all working in. Its aim is to explore, assess and celebrate the resilience that the female business community has shown in the most dire and trying of business times.

There are now eight categories, the first seven of which are called ‘standard categories’.

Applicants have three options for submitting entries:

  1. 1 Standard application – out of the 7 main categories OR
  2. 1 Standard application AND a Power Within application OR
  3. A Power Within application only

Applicants are only allowed to choose one of these standard categories and the choice is largely predicated on suitability.

For example, are you a business owner or employee, and then how long are you in business for, e.g. 3 years or more, or 1 year and more?  The last category is Power Within, which is an ode to the 2020 theme of #PowerWithin to recognise the amazing achievements of women across the county and across the country.

The deadline is 5pm, 16th April 2021. No extensions will apply.

The 2021 Network Ireland Award Categories are:

Solo Businesswoman

This award is to recognise solo businesswomen. The business can operate as a sole trader or limited company. This category is open to business owners.

Eligibility: trading for 3 years or more at 1st Jan 2021, without employees.

Emerging New Business

This category is to recognise professional women who have established a new business. The business entity can operate as a sole trader/partnership or limited company. This category is designed to recognise what these women have achieved.

Eligibility: Less than 3 years in business on 1st Jan 2021, number of employees is not a defined criteria for this category

Established Business

This category is to recognise professional women who have been operating/running a business and trading for 3 years or more. They must employ 2 or more employees. The business entity can operate as a sole trader/partnership or limited company. These women will be able to show the impact that they create running their business.

Eligibility: More than 3 years in business on 1st Jan 2021, number of employees is defined as two or more for this category.

Employee – Rising Star

This award is to recognise professional women working within a company who have made important advances in their chosen career path and are acknowledged as a future leader in business while showing passion and drive for their work. It is open to employees who are starting out on their career.

Eligibility: Less than 3 years at 1st Jan 2021 in a given profession.

Employee – Shining Star

This award is to recognise professional women, who demonstrate ambition and dedication to their careers. It is open to employees who can show excellence and commitment in her chosen career.

Eligibility: More than 3 years at 1st Jan 2021 in a given profession.

Creative Professional

This category is to recognise creative professional women. Examples of creative professionals include: Designers, Artists, Sculptors, Musicians, Photographers, Poets, Songwriters, Dancers, Singers, Architects, Make-up artists, Stylists, Bakers.  This award will go to recognise the creative achievements of the individual

Eligibility: Applicant can be a business owner or an employee in a relevant business.

STEM

This award is to recognise professional women in STEM.  This category is open to applicants working within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics sector. This award will go to recognise the contribution of the individual to the STEM sector.

Eligibility: The applicant can be a business owner or an employee in a relevant business.

Power Within Champion

This award is to recognise women who have used their Power Within to great impact.

Eligibility: This category is open to all members to recognise the amazing women they are.

Juggling life has never been quite so complicated, whether you have children, caring responsibilities, working from home with family around or in quarantine alone the current crises has been turbulent and one can feel quite frazzled. This award is designed to recognise survival, it may not be pretty, it may not be perfect but you are surviving and getting through each day. .

You can take a closer look at all of the categories on the Network Ireland Awards page.  Be sure to note the terms and conditions for each category.

The Process

I’ve fielded a lot of calls over the past number of days and weeks around the categories and the questions.  I ran two workshops for aspiring applicants in Network Ireland Wicklow to learn more about the process. I shared tips and tricks and to decipher the questions and understand how to frame the answers.

You’ll have to trust me that I network with fantastic people. It’s amazing people who get up and get out, who show up and who engage, who share and support each other each day.

Network Ireland is a phenomenal network of supportive, like-minded, forceful, positive, inspiring ladies. They are simply awesome and inspire me to go after my own goals. And yet, when I’m on the phone, there is uncertainty, a feeling of imposter syndrome, a lack of confidence and scarcity in understanding about what each of them bring to the table.  I want to shout to the rooftops that they are all awesome.

So Why Does Entering Awards Matter?  What Are The Benefits of Entering The Awards?

  1. It’s a fantastic way to focus on your achievements, key milestones and your successes.  You’ll have way more to celebrate than you realise.
  2. For most people, it’s a new journey to explore and grapple with.  But it’s exciting once there is commitment.
  3. You’ll learn so much about yourself through the process and that’s always a good thing.
  4. By entering you are a winner.  It sounds trite, but it’s true.
  5. All applications are judged and assessed independently. You are opening your business to external scrutiny, probably for the first time…and that’s a good thing and a sign that you are ready to grow your business and yourself.
  6. All applicants then go through an interview process where they speak for 10 minutes about their business.  Again, for business owners who aren’t used to having this level of conversation, it’s a great exercise to gather the numbers, show business acumen, convey passion for the enterprise and let these judges enter your world.
  7. Shortlisted applicants all get promoted via press release and on social media.  As I say to all aspiring awards’ applicants, the absolute worst that will happen is that you and the business get a lot of free publicity.  Your name is in lights as you are presentated to the ceremony as a finalist.
  8. And then imagine it now. You win! Wow…wasn’t that two or three hours or so of your time, writing and compiling information worth it?   You receive a certificate and trophy.  You are in press releases, interviewed on the radio, promoted by sponsors, photographed, and held in high esteem by your network community and your tribe.
  9. Your confidence has grown immeasurably. I can speak from experience of the elation, pride and ‘I got this’ attitude that I felt, once I had accomplished this goal.
  10. As a regional winner, you will then go into the National Network Ireland awards, so your brand and profile starts to get publicised nationally. Good, right?

I’ve compiled my top 13 tips for completing awards applications, so have a read of it before you start your process of completing the form.

So now that you are ready to enter the Network Ireland awards and understand the benefits of the awards, the form is downloadable here.

If you are doing your interview online, have a read of my blog How to Network Online Like a Pro, as many of the points are super valid and they’ll help you feel prepared and ready to take on the world.

I hope that this article, Network Ireland – Benefits of Entering the Awards has been helpful and insightful. I hope it will encourage you to take action and be brave.

The deadline is 5pm, 16th April 2021. No extensions will apply.

If you’d like to chat to me about your awards entry and clarify any of the points above, you can reach me at jean@networkingjean.ie and I’d be delighted to help you accomplish your goal.

Connecting With NetworkingJean

You can reach out to me at hello@networkingjean.ie.

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Jean Evans
Jean Evans
Jean Evans is an expert on all things networking. It is her passion, and one that is borne out of experience and plenty of trial and error, mistakes and mishaps. Through her blogs and social media channels, Jean shares tips, tricks, hacks and ideas on how to become an effective networker in business.

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