I have just returned from the wonderfully successful gala event of the European Business Awards held in Istanbul last week. On the drive to the airport, through the city centre of Istanbul, you would not think that this city has been on the news around the world for the past seven days, with reports of unrest and protests on the streets, even prompting calls for calm from various heads of state. What did strike me, is the immenseness of this vibrant city, the roads crammed with cars, the buses all full to bursting - people going about their daily lives.
Of course, the unrest here is of great concern to the citizens of Turkey, the government, for tourism and also for businesses. Unfortunately, some of the attendees due to be at the European Business Awards did reluctantly cancel their trip to attend the gala dinner, evidencing that the protests have far reaching effects.
However, the event itself was a true showcase of Europe-wide excellence. The room was filled with recipients of the coveted ‘Ruban D’Honneur’, all anxiously waiting to hear whether they were to be the overall category winner. The journey that the leaders of these decorated businesses have been on is a long one – starting back in November 2012 – when the awards programme opened. Since then, the 15,000 or so businesses that engaged with the programme were cut down to just 192 national champions from across 34 countries in Europe. The rigorous judging process then included video entries and face-to-face presentations, resulting in the final ten overall winners being announced in Istanbul.
RSM has been a sponsor of the European Business Awards since they began six years ago and I am proud to say that for the 2013/14 programme we are the main sponsor. This type of long term business recognition programme creates relationships that are of great value to all involved. These relationships drive business growth and that is what RSM wants to see all over the world.
To spend an evening, celebrating with over 250 successful and passionate business leaders, listening to their speeches and hearing the proud cheers from their colleagues, is a reminder that there are many businesses that are thriving in these difficult economic times. All of the Ruban D’Honneur finalists are at the forefront of European enterprise, and companies around the world can learn much from them.
Congratulations to all the winners. You can watch there video entries and learn more about each business on the European Business Awards website.
The UKTI Award for Innovation - Hidria, Slovenia
The International Growth Strategy of the Year Award - Leo Pharma A/S, Denmark
The Millicom Award for Environmental & Corporate Sustainability - Coillte, Ireland
The Award for Customer Focus - Turk Ekonomi Bankasi, Turkey
The Employer of the Year Award - Hygeia Hospital, Greece
The RSM Entrepreneur of the Year Award - Julie Deane, The Cambridge Satchel Company, United Kingdom
The Import/Export Award - GAEA Products SA, Greece
The Infosys Business of the Year Award [t/o €0-25m] - Contronics Engineering BV, The Netherlands
The Infosys Business of the Year Award [t/o €26-150m] - Criteo, France
The Infosys Business of the Year Award [t/o €150m+] - Grupo Portucel Soporcel, Portugal