Integration would be better for Croydon by David Callam
OH DEAR! The BoBs are back for yet another year.
Not that I have anything against business awards generally. On the contrary, I think they are an excellent way to benchmark a business and I would strongly encourage firms to enter as many as possible.
But I do have two particular concerns about the BoBs.
The format is long overdue for a fundamental change. The BoBs began as the Croydon Business Awards; then it broadened its geographical remit to take in large sections of southern England; now it has returned to its roots as a borough-based competition.
In all that time the presentation has always been long-winded. I can't help comparing it with the Passport to Export Awards I attended earlier this year.
Broadcaster Hardeep Sing Koli, our genial host, guided us through the winners quickly but respectfully, leaving plenty of time for networking between the tables.
By contrast, the BoBs presentation is interminable, with a succession of sponsors droning on about how grateful we should all be for their support.
The awards inevitably run late and once they are finally presented there is usually an undignified rush for the exit.
My second concern is that Croydon uses these awards to emphasise its separateness from neighbouring boroughs rather than helping to boost business in the sub-region as a whole.
Now we have a successful set of South London Business Awards, the BoBs and other borough-based competitions should be feeding winners into a grand final.
That would require common entry categories for all the competitions, but they shouldn't be difficult to agree, since all the prospective entrants to all the borough competitions work in a very similar business environment.
Croydon and every other borough would have the chance to laud its own winners at its own event and subsequently to cheer them on in the grand final.
Such an arrangement offers businesses across all 12 boroughs a superb networking opportunity that is to everyone's benefit.
But it is unlikely to happen while Croydon continues to remain aloof in the misguided belief that it is the only significant business centre in the sub-region.
Croydon has a crucial role to play at the commercial heart of south London, but it will never achieve its desired degree of influence - regionally, nationally or at European level - while it continues to position itself on the sidelines.
Member since: 10th July 2012
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