How To Win A Queen’s Award for Innovation

The Queen’s Award For Enterprise

By Donna O’Toole

I really enjoy supporting businesses to win the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise competition. It’s a true game-changer for winners, brings them so much great PR, opens doors to all sorts of global opportunities, and even gets them to a reception at Buckingham Palace.

But there’s one little word that comes up for discussion time and time again when  deciding which category to enter. It’s a word that has really hit its stride in the awards industry over the last few years and judges quite rightly want to get to the bottom of what it means to you, your customers, your industry, and your future.

What is it?


This seemingly innocent word in the awards lexicon is infamous for throwing organisations into a spin when it comes to winning a Queen’s Award.


Because unlike many prestigious awards programmes with lots of categories on offer, The Queen’s Awards stay focused on only 4 categories organisations can enter, these are:

  • Innovation
  • International Trade
  • Sustainable Development
  • Promoting Opportunity Through Social Mobility.

So if you are not exporting, doing something particularly sustainable, or focusing on promoting social mobility, you only have one choice left — and this can create what I have fondly coined the ‘square-peg-round-hole’ effect.

To win a Queen’s Award for Innovation you must first be able to show how you are innovative, and next be able to prove that your commercial success (your growing turnover and profit) is down to the innovation you have made — be that a product, a method, a service, or your whole business model.

Top Tip: If you are not sure whether to enter the Innovation category, or what the Queen’s Awards consider truly ‘innovative’ try substituting the word ‘innovation’ for the words ‘new and unique’. Ie. Is your business, product, method or service ‘new and unique’ or has it been done before? If it has, how can you demonstrate you are different?

Once you know you have a legitimate innovation to enter, all you need to do next is establish which of the two sub-categories ‘Outstanding Achievement’ or ‘Continuous Achievement’ will show your results and your business story in the best light. And only once that’s decided will you be ready to gather the most relevant and compelling information for your entry.

If you want to make sure you are not a ‘square-peg in a round-hole’ when you enter the Queen’s Awards give me a call and in a FREE consultation I will help you identify your innovation, determine your likelihood of success and choose which subcategory to enter. And if you would like me to I will advise you on how I can help maximise your achievements in an outstanding written report that gives you a real chance of becoming a Queen’s Award winner.

The competition opens for entry in Spring with approximately 150 awards up for grabs. Watch this space for more top tips on what to include in your entry, insights into the individual categories, and pointers on how to approach writing your entry from someone who knows all the ingredients needed to become a Queen’s Awards winner.


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