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The value of winning an award


The value of winning an award


Ricky Kothari 1.jpgI’m the co-founder of the brand T-Stickswe are producing sticks of tea ready to brew on the go.

In March we were ecstatic to be the only company to win two coveted industry awards at the World Food Innovation Awards – for the best food service and best catering innovation.


So how do you become an award winning business?


Only a few months after founding T-Sticks, we entered Drinkpreneur to showcase the product. The organisers told us that if you get through you can pitch to buyers from Tesco and Waitrose. We really wanted to get the feedback to see where we could improve. So I thought – why not!


In this case I quickly prepared my pitch thinking the worst that could happen is I would get the feedback I wanted. We ended up winning a ‘Brand to Watch award’ and seeing the value we’d gained from entering, we started to take the awards much more seriously.


For future awards such as Virgin Foodpreneur and the World Food Innovation Awards, we developed a plan and set aside two days of work to polish up our application and submit this with samples.


Awards tend to get left to the last minute as they aren’t related to the product production or delivery – but we made sure to put the time in even just for that extra boost it could bring.


Is it worth it?


As a brand new start-up the feedback you get is incredibly important.


At the awards events you get to meet industry experts – who give you real insight into what the market needs. You could see your product as filling a gap, but until you’ve seen that it connects with consumers and gets that approval from experts you can’t know for sure. The awards give you a great chance to showcase what you’ve been working on.


But the biggest benefit? Confidence.


Within the team – after we won, we got that boost knowing we’re doing something right! After a lot of hard work it gives us a positive push and an opportunity to celebrate.


Outside the team – your customers see that your products and business have that validation. The awards can help you grab a buyer, partner or distributer’s interest, and you get some get brand awareness from the event!


What if you don’t win?


Applying can take a considerable amount of time. But even if you don’t go home with an award, that added visibility and awareness to industry experts can help.


Don’t feel disheartened! The proposition and timing may not be right at that moment.


And you never know where it may lead… This year I was featured in the Maserati top 100 entrepreneurial disruptors in Great Britain – and to this day I don’t know how I was nominated!


So take your chances with any opportunity to come across - prove that you’re putting yourself out there and keep moving forward!

Awards these day come in engraved glass trophies as well as certificates, and one day when we expand our office they will be proudly showcased in a Cabinet at reception for our all to see.

Ricky Kothari 2.jpg