How to win a Queen's Award

I really enjoy supporting businesses to win the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise competition. It’s a true game-changer for winners, brings them so much great PR, opens doors to all sorts of global opportunities, and even gets them to a reception at Buckingham Palace.

But there’s one little word that comes up for discussion time and time again when deciding which category to enter.

It’s a word that has really hit its stride in the awards industry over the last few years and judges quite rightly want to get to the bottom of what it means to you, your customers, your industry, and your future.

What is it?


This seemingly innocent word in the awards lexicon is infamous for throwing organisations into a spin when it comes to winning a Queen’s Award.


Because unlike many prestigious awards programmes with many categories on offer, The Queen’s Awards stay focused on only 4 categories organisations can enter, these are:

So if you are not exporting, doing something particularly sustainable, or focusing on promoting social mobility, you only have one choice left — and this can create what I have fondly coined the ‘square-peg-round-hole’ effect.

To win a Queen’s Award for Innovation you must first be able to show how you are innovative, and next be able to prove that your commercial success (your growing turnover and profit) is down to the innovation you have made — be that a product, a method, a service, or your whole business model.

Top Tip: If you are unsure whether to enter the Innovation category, or what the Queen’s Awards consider truly ‘innovative’, try substituting the word ‘innovation’ for the words ‘new and unique’. IE: Is your business, product, method or service ‘new and unique’ or has it been done before? If it has, how can you demonstrate you are different?

NEW FOR 2020

The criteria for the innovation category has been updated for 2020. The criteria now asks for you to define your innovation as either:

  • Disruptive innovation
  • Continuous innovation
  • Adoptive innovation

Whereas in previous years you have had to prove that your innovation is completely one of a kind, the awards are now appreciating that the innovation may just be new to your sector as a disruptive innovation, or a new approach to an existing product, service or business model. You could also now win by taking an innovation that is successful elsewhere and applying it in a new way as an adoptive innovation.

If you've looked into winning an innovation award in the past but weren't successful – this year could be a better opportunity for your business and you may have a better chance of winning.


Once you know you have a legitimate innovation to enter, all you need to do next is establish which of the two sub-categories ‘Outstanding Achievement’ or ‘Continuous Achievement’ will show your results and your business story in the best light. And only once that’s decided will you be ready to gather the most relevant and compelling information for your entry.

If you want to make sure you are not a ‘square-peg in a round-hole’ when you enter the Queen’s Awards, give me a call and in a FREE consultation I will help you identify your innovation, determine your likelihood of success and choose which subcategory to enter. And if you would like me to, I will advise you on how I can help maximise your achievements in an outstanding written report that gives you a real chance of becoming a Queen’s Award winner.

The competition opens for entry in May, with approximately 150 awards up for grabs.

Have a look here for more top tips on what to include in your entry, insights into the individual categories, and pointers on how to approach writing your entry from someone who knows all the ingredients needed to become a Queen’s Awards winner.

You can also find out about our Queen's Awards for Enterprise entry writing service here.

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