Frequently Asked Questions

How do I enter?

- Online entry is easy, just click here for the entry form and all the information you need. You will just need to complete a 300 word entry form, which can be submitted online.

Can I enter offline?

- The Big Business Boost is via online entry only, but it couldn’t be simpler. Click here for our entry guide. If you require additional support when entering please get in touch via our contact us page .

When is the deadline for entries?

- The deadline for you to submit your entry for the Big Business Boost is midnight on 31st July 2016. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to consider any entries submitted after this deadline.

What can I win?

- The aim of the Big Business Boost is to boost businesses in Essex. With prizes on offer worth from £25 to more than £2000 in business support and cash boosts for your business.

  • The winners of each category will win a cash prize to help you develop your business or business idea, alongside a comprehensive business support package to help you develop your business or idea.
  • The Top 20 entrants will win extended business support, including a BIG Business Boost Training Workshop.
  • The Top 100 businesses to enter the BIG Business Boost will win a £25 training voucher to exchange at your Local Enterprise Agency for business training, advice or support.

Who will provide this free business advice?

- All business support services offered by the Big Business Boost are provided by entrants' local enterprise support agencies; Colbea in Colchester, Ignite in Braintree, and BDLEA in Basildon, where all business advice and training will be delivered by accredited, experienced business advisors and trainers.

What should I include in my entry?

- The award specification is laid out in our entry requirements. Click here for our tips on writing a winning entry for your business. But remember, this isn’t just any business competition! The Big Business Boost is here to identify innovative businesses that have the potential to grow and give them the boost they need to make it happen.

The judges will be looking three main areas in your entry;

  1. The future development potential of the business and business idea
  2. How you will use the prize money and support to benefit your business
  3. Do you fit the criteria – you must be based in Essex and employ no more than 15 people

Is my business eligible?

- If your business, or business idea, is based in Essex and employs no more than 15 people you are eligible to enter the Big Business Boost. This include businesses who entered last year, we would love to hear from you again and see how your business has developed. But remember we are looking for businesses who will benefit the most from the competition, not necessarily the most successful business entering.

The Big Business Boost has four categories for businesses to enter;

  • The BIG Business Boost Award – the overall award for Essex’s most innovative business
  • The Young Entrepreneur Award – for business owners aged from 16 to 30 years of age
  • The Women in Business Award – for the county’s most innovative female-led businesses.
  • The Disability Entrepreneur Award – Eligible to Essex-based individuals with a disability (physical, sensory, learning disability or difficulty, autism and mental health), with a great commercially sustainable business idea/plan to be the next Essex Entrepreneur.

It is entirely up to you which award you choose to enter, but each entrant is only eligible to win one award, as it is the aim of the competition to recognise, but also boost businesses with potential. For each award in the Essex BIG Business Boost, you must be an Essex-based business or have a business idea you intend to be based in Essex to be eligible to win.

How can I keep up to date about the Big Business Boost?

- You can stay updated via the news page, via our social media feeds, and you can sign up to our newsletter.

What is the competition process?

- The Big Business Boost will be officially open for entries on 1st May 2016, and judging will commence almost immediately.

The deadline for entries is on 31st July 2016, and entrants will be advised of their success shortly after. During this time, business healthchecks will get underway for the top 100 entrants, while business mentoring will begin for the top 20.

Business workshops will then take place before the independent judging panel to sit to decide the top three places and overall winner.

The competition will conclude at The Essex Big Business Boost Awards evening on 13 October at Pontlands Park Hotel, Chelmsford.

Who can enter the Disability Entrepreneur Award?

In 2016, the BIG Business Boost will be supported by the Essex Employment & Skills Unit to deliver the The Disability Entrepreneur Award .

The Disability Entrepreneur Award is not an award for having a disability, it’s an award for having a great, viable and sustainable business or business idea, which, because of your disability, you might need more support realising than others. The Essex BIG Business Boost exists to give you that support.

The award is eligible to individuals with a disability (physical, sensory, learning disability or difficulty, autism and mental health), with a great commercially sustainable business idea/plan to be the next Essex Entrepreneur.

Because we are targeting this award specifically at people with disabilities, any support you win through the competition will be tailored specifically to you, to ensure you and your business receive the biggest possible boost.


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Funded by the Essex Innovation Programme and delivered by the region’s Business Support Agencies, the Big Business Boost will allow ECC to ensure the county’s most exciting business ideas, concepts and potential find the resources they need to help to develop into the successful businesses of tomorrow and help Essex continue its proud entrepreneurial tradition.

"The Essex Innovation Programme works with established companies and small businesses to help them to develop, and take to market, innovative products and services. Find out more at"