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NEW FOR 2020 - Start-up Business of the Year
What is a start-up? When it comes to defining this type of company we can focus in terms of the actual business, or on the spirit and mentality. Literally, a start-up is a new emerging business. The key principles of a start-up business are:
• Fast-paced – taking decisions, changing priorities, scaling the business all move quickly.
• Founders – a start-up is the creation of its founders, while the team still has a significant impact. The founders have a clear idea that they want to create change in the market and are committed to making it happen, often because of a personal connection.
• Funding – start-ups tend to be self-funded, or receive investment from angel funding, venture capital firms, or even crowdfunding. There is often a partnership between the investors and the founders.
• Lean - whether it’s resources, size time (or a combination of all three), start-ups are lean operations.
• New – a start-up is a new business, with a maximum of five years of trading.
• Problem-solving – one of the main aims of a start-up is to solve a problem through a new or better product or service than what’s currently available.
• Registered business – you must be a formally recognised company with the necessary paperwork and status.
• Uncertainty – with any new business, so much is unknown and this is particularly true for start-ups. This allows for experimentation, as well as a sense of volatility. Risk and failure are central to start-ups, with many ideas and concepts being tried out.
Does your start-up business have fundamental principles around sustainability, people, society; a meaningful impact beyond profit? These are the inspirational stories the judges will be looking for.
Best use of Smart Solutions by Service Providers
A host of exciting new technologies are now available to building service contractors to enable them to make their operations more efficient, more transparent and more productive.
Everything from robotics; remote management of cleaning machines; smart quality monitoring, calculation and planning; to intelligent washroom servicing through smart dispensers; or e-learning for cleaning operatives brings significant new potential for a more professional and accountable operation.
Entrants should demonstrate how they have embraced the latest IT-based technological solutions within their organisation and implemented systems which have shown very real benefits in terms of efficiency, productivity, accountability and transparency.
Investment in Training
Any organisation can only be truly successful if it has a properly skilled and well-trained team of people. And this is no more so than in the professional cleaning sector, which employs literally millions of people across Europe.
The judges of the training award will be looking for a commitment to training that goes beyond the basic skills required to do the job. Entrants should provide evidence of how their training programme is embedded in the culture of their organisation - encompassing elements that enable their employees to develop personally, expand their knowledge, progress within their environment and in turn enhance their service offering.
Entry is open to any type of company or organisation operating within the professional cleaning sector, not exclusively service providers.
Excellence in Client and Contractor Partnerships
The nature of outsourced cleaning service provision has changed significantly in recent years, as more informed clients expect more from their relationship with their contractor than simply a service provided at the cheapest price.
More and more clients now expect greater transparency and accountability in the cleaning operation, with key performance indicators (KPIs) and more regular, closer communication becoming the norm. Not only that, an excellent service provider will get to know its client’s business, its goals, strategies and challenges. It will then offer innovation in processes in order to offer tangible benefits to that client’s operation.
Entrants should demonstrate exactly how they worked to form a close relationship with a key client and how this resulted in them achieving a partnership status. And the mutual benefits this resulted in.
Sustainability – Best Practice
The term ‘sustainability’ was first coined in the 1987 Brundtland report as “the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
This broad description is open to interpretation but is generally held to encompass everything from social corporate responsibility and business ethics to concern for the environment. Caring for the environment is an important part of sustainability but it is not just about using or making products and solutions that are ‘green’.
But sustainability is not simply about producing glossy reports and impressing customers with business ethics. It demands a continuous and lifelong approach.
This category is open to any business operating within the professional cleaning sector – service, manufacturing, and distribution. Entrants must demonstrate how the principles of sustainability are fundamental to their culture of the company and key initiatives undertaken.
Commitment to Diversity in the Workforce
The cleaning sector employs literally millions of people throughout Europe and for any company offering cleaning services, labour is its highest cost. This industry is literally all about the people.
However because of its perception as a low-skilled, low-paid profession the sector as a whole faces significant challenges in attracting new talent, and in retaining it. This, coupled with worldwide demographic change that will result in a lower working population, make it more important than ever that businesses give more attention to their workforce.
Entrants should illustrate their key policies in attracting diverse new recruits to the sector, equipping them with the skills they need, encouraging continuous development, empowerment and career progression. Also evidence of Diversity & Inclusion policies, rewards and recognition programmes, retention rates and regular, meaningful communication with employees.
Best Initiative Raising the Profile of the Cleaning Sector
Professional cleaning impacts on every area of our everyday lives – whether it’s in public buildings, supermarkets and offices or schools, trains stations, airports or food processing plants. And nowhere is excellence in cleaning more crucial than in the healthcare sector.
Cleaning professionals themselves are well informed and convinced about the value of the services and products they provide. The real challenge comes in conveying that message to the world at large – and raising the profile of professional cleaning and the vital role it plays.
Entrants should provide evidence of campaigns and initiatives designed to increase awareness of the importance and benefits of using professional cleaning services and products. This can be on a local level, or on a larger scale.
Technological Innovation of the Year
The professional cleaning sector is widely perceived as being slow to change, and in particular in adapting new technology. In what is a highly labour-intensive occupation that is perceived as being low skilled, many often question just what impact latest technology can really have.
But technology is finally beginning to have a significant impact on how cleaning operations run, as service providers seek efficiencies, productivity and a more beneficial relationship with their clients - and with their own employees.
This category is open to any type of innovation, whether it is product or system based. Entrants should illustrate how their innovation can impact on the cleaning business and exactly what benefits it is bringing.
Leader of the Year
What makes someone a good leader? Such a simple question continues to confound some of the best thinkers in business. One definition describes leadership as “a process of social influence which maximises the efforts of others toward the achievement of a greater good”.
So this suggests that leadership stems from social influence, not authority or power – it has nothing to do with a job title. And there are no particular personality traits or attributes, instead there are many styles and many paths to effective leadership.
Entrants to this category must be nominated by someone working with them within their organisation. Nominations are invited from any type of business operating within the professional cleaning sector. The judges will be looking for evidence of nominees’ leadership skills and how their leadership has impacted positively on other employees, and on the business.
Rising Star Award
As everybody working within the professional cleaning sector knows, it is the people who make the greatest contribution, who keep everything running.
This award recognises new talent in the sector, identifying individuals who have made a significant impact on the provision of services within their organisation and who are demonstrating potential to shine in the future.
Entrants to this category must be nominated by someone working with them within their organisation, or by their client. The judges will be looking for those people working at ground roots level who go above and beyond what is expected of them in order to exceed client expectations and influence excellence in all aspects of service provision.