The Meaning of Real Business

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is possibly the most respected business institution in the UK, and Lloyds Bank PLC, one of its most reputable banks.

Together these Titans of business and finance sponsor one of the most prestigious award programmes in Britain. The Real Business Awards held annually in The Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square London.

A formidable audience of VIPs, Politicians, and of course nominees, gather for an evening celebrating the best of British business.

Last Thursday a stellar cast assembled again for a brilliant evening with excellent food and wine provided by the hotel.

Earlier in the day I had lunch in Maze which is owned by Gordon Ramsey and located in the hotel. The food and atmosphere in the restaurant is excellent and competitively priced too, (for London)!

Gordon was walking by my table and popped over to say hello. His position as one of the world’s top chefs is well deserved and recognised, but what isn’t always so well known is his friendly approach to everyone he meets. Rarely does someone who features so much in the public eye give so much back in the way of interaction with the public.

My lunch companion is a genuine fan and was a bit shocked when he came over so was keen to get a photograph but unfortunately for her my phones photo memory was full so it didn’t happen. Gordon for his part though was quite happy to be photographed. Some young children on an adjoining table were mesmerised by his charm and absolutely stunned when he posed with them for a selfie!

We will feature Maze for a second time in a future review for Fear on Food as we are currently in negotiations which may see our food blog rolled out in a national newspaper during 2016.

As I was a judge and the awards were in the hotel that night I decided to stay there rather than trundle back across town at 1am full of good food and a little red wine!

Several people came over to say hello and it was good to see both new friends and old including Paul Drechsler who is both President of the CBI and Chairman of Teach First.

The team from Caspian Media and Real Business Magazine work very hard to make this such a successful event every year, but this year they excelled themselves yet again.

I had been asked to judge Employer of The Year and was pleased to present the award to Brandwatch. This was a very tight group with several excellent applicants including brilliant contenders such as Greengage Environmental, Instinctif Partners, JustPark, MidlandHR, and People Source Consulting, but in the end Tom Thackray, head of enterprise policy at the CBI, who was my co-judge, and I, felt that Brandwatch deserved to win. It wasn’t an easy decision though.

Tom is well known for co-authoring the CBI’s Future Champions Report in 2011, which identified opportunities and barriers to growth for the UK’s medium sized businesses.

Judging always takes place about a month or so before the actual ceremony so keeping a tight lip about who has won is essential. Personally I never tell anyone for fear of it getting out.

Awards and accolades are very important, especially to entrepreneurs, who can often lead quite a lonely and risk filled life on their way to success. Dealing with banks, staff, and agreeing leases of premises, alone, can cause a degree of isolation, so meeting together with their peers at such an upbeat and happy affair is good therapy. Winning something or even being shortlisted is even better of course.

Staff also get a boost seeing the business they are helping create being given an award. It fills everyone with confidence.

I am often asked to judge events around the UK but am quite selective when accepting because I believe it essential to give proper attention to the process, therefore I like to devote enough time to it.

When judging Employer of The Year as an example, it was essential to consider whether the winner looked sustainable. You can’t be employer of the year if you’re not here next year to employ anyone!

Actually as all our candidates this year looked sustainable this made our job harder rather than easier.

Anyway last Thursdays event was a huge success delivered by a winner in their own right. The team from Caspian Media and Real Business Magazine.

One Comment

  • Giles Palmer (@joodoo9)

    30th November 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Great to read your post and even nicer to win the award. Thank you for taking the time to judge it and write the post. I hope Brandwatch can continue on its path and continue to be an excellent employer! Very best, Giles


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