Score a night out with a star

FOOTBALL fans will not be disappointed when England legend Jimmy Greaves steps up to the microphone at this year’s Bedfordshire and Luton Rising Stars Business Excellence Awards.

England’s third highest international goalscorer will be the after-dinner speaker at the prestigious awards, to be held in Bedford in November.

He is considered to be one of the finest goalscorers of his generation but more recently has worked as a television pundit, famous for his trademark catchphrase, ‘it’s a funny old game’.

The star will be joined by fellow retired professional footballer and master of ceremonies Ray Stubbs at the glitzy black tie ceremony at Bedford’s Park Inn Hotel on Thursday, November 11.

During his career Greaves played for Chelsea, AC Milan, Spurs, West Ham and Barnet.

In 1960 he became the youngest player ever to score 100 league goals in English football at the age of 20 years and 290 days.

Greaves won his first England cap on May 17, 1959 against Peru, scoring England’s only goal in a 4-1 defeat. He went on to play 57 times and score 44 goals.

The star remains third in the all-time list of England’s top goalscorers, behind Bobby Charlton and Gary Lineker.

Greaves also holds the record for most hat-tricks for England – six in all.

It is not too late to give your hardworking staff a chance to meet the footballing star and win an accolade at the awards bash.

The annual event, in its 17th year, aims to showcase the best the borough has to offer the business world.

To find out more and enter just click the link. But get your entries in, fast, because the deadline is just a matter of days away.

1. International Business of the Year Award- Sponsored by HSBC.

This award is new for 2010 and reflects the increasingly global outlook of commerce in Bedfordshire and Luton. We are looking for either a new or established business that specialises in foreign trading. This could be a company that has launched a new product, opened a new division or started a new business overseas. To qualify, companies must show strong signs of growth, innovation, sustainability or longevity of product. A commitment to the environment would also be considered favourably.

2. Employee of the year award: This award is open to individuals of any age and time spent in their role. Judges will be looking for evidence of a nominee’s continuous commitment to reaching their full potential through learning and personal development. The winner will stand out in their performance, demonstrate drive and initiative and make a positive contribution to the success of the organisation they represent. Testimonials from colleagues and/or customers will be expected. Applications are welcome from the private, public and voluntary sector.

3. The Green Business award –Sponsored by Bedford Borough Council

This award is open to all businesses and organisations, regardless of size or activity, which have shown outstanding concern for the environment and can demonstrate a business commitment to environmental and social responsibility. Judges will be looking for evidence of practical measures adopted to increase environmental awareness, reduce waste and improve recycling rates, environmental efficiency, and community involvement, where appropriate.

4. Customer Care Excellence award –Sponsored by Premier Newspapers: This award is open to all businesses and organisations, regardless of their size and area of activity. The judges will be looking for exemplary customer service, over and above usual expectations. The winner will be able to demonstrate how the business has benefited from a commitment to customer care through the tracking of customer satisfaction levels and by how staff are trained and motivated to meet customer needs. Judges will expect to see a variety of testimonials from satisfied customers, and suppliers where appropriate

5. New Business of the Year Award- Sponsored by Bedford Borough Council: This award is open to companies that have been trading for less than two years (Established October 2007) and which has made a successful entry into the business community. The winner will show how their product or service has been developed into a growing company. They will be expected to show how their performance has matched their business plan and how the company strategy has contributed to its growth and success.

6. Small/Medium Sized business of the year award- Sponsored by Pictons Solicitors LLP: Open to all companies employing fewer than 50 people (FTE equivalent). The winner will be able to show a clear understanding of the markets in which it operates and have a structured business plan, evidence of goals set and achieved, a dedication to customer satisfaction and a commitment to staff training and development.

7. Innovation award and Strategy Award- Sponsored by Bedfordshire and Luton Local Resilience Forum: Judges will be looking to recognise a company or service, which has made a positive contribution to the economy of Bedfordshire and Luton, or a public sector project that has had a beneficial impact on business in the area. Judges will be looking for evidence of efficiency savings, product take-up and customer testimonial where appropriate, as well as an awareness of the importance of business continuity and strategy. Training and development strategies and community involvement will also be taken into account.

8. Champions of learning award: This award is for an employer that has shown a positive and supportive approach to training their staff, making an impact on a person or group of people’s lives by recognising that they have potential or untapped skills. The judges will be looking for evidence of the impact training has had on both the individual(s) and the organisation, along with how the organisation has supported, mentored and developed staff to enable them to excel in their own expectations.

9. Entrepreneur of the Year award: This award will be presented to the individual who has an eye for a gap in the market and the drive and knowhow to exploit it and has demonstrated the ability to turn a bright business idea into a revenue-generating reality.

The successful nominee may have created or spun out their business and will be an example and an inspiration to those around them.

10. Company of the Year award- Sponsored by Keens Shay Keens: This award is the premier award, and will be presented to the business that can clearly demonstrate exceptional business achievement in terms of sustained growth and profitability over a period of time and which is recognised in its own industry. Particular attention will be given to every aspect of the business so that the judges can assess the reasons behind the success that has been achieved. Applications will be considered from any sector of business and the submission must be a very detailed company profile with as much data as possible so as to give support to the entry for this prestigious award.