The search for UK’s Top 50 SME Business Advisers in 2020 is on

Business Advisor

A national competition to celebrate the hard-working advisers behind the survival – and success – of the UK’s vibrant and growing small business community, is officially on!

Now in its fourth year, the Top 50 Advisers Awards run by Enterprise Nation, the UK’s leading support network for small businesses (SMEs) – in association with Xero, Dell Technologies, ICAEW and Neat – will celebrate the unsung heroes whose professional advice behind the scenes during 2019-2020, has helped shape the fortunes of some of the UK’s flourishing small businesses.

Business owners and managers are invited to nominate their most valued advisers across 10 professional categories, ranging from legal eagles and financial wizards, to digital gurus through to marketing masterminds. Advisers can also nominate themselves if they’re able to provide evidence of their work with small businesses and how it has helped them, alongside relevant testimonials.

This year also sees the launch of a new 11th category: the ‘Above and Beyond’ award, which will pay special tribute to those professionals – across all sectors – who have provided free, one-to-one expert advice to SMEs to help them address the myriad challenges facing them as a result of the coronavirus epidemic, and in particular those who have given up their time for free as part of the Government-backed Recovery Advice for Business initiative.

Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation said: “We know from more than 300,000 small businesses who have visited our platform in the past six months, just how invaluable the advice of professional experts can be – especially in these difficult times: now more than ever, it can mean the difference between their business surviving, or thriving.

“The aim of these awards is to showcase and celebrate the vital behind-the-scenes work of these unsung heroes, while also raising awareness of, and encouraging more small businesses to access trusted and affordable professional support.”

A Government paper entitled The Report on Small Firms, 2010 to 2015 states: “The evidence demonstrates that small firms that take external help and advice are most likely to grow and maximise their contribution to the British economy.”

Emma added:  “This year we are introducing a special one-off category – the Above and Beyond award – to recognise the work of those superheroes that have gone the extra mile to support business owners struggling to cope with the impact of the pandemic on their business. Since the scheme’s launch in June this year, hundreds of advisers have stepped up to offer small businesses one-to-one expertise for free – in many cases proving a lifeline for them.”

According to the latest Government statistics there are 5.5m businesses in the UK – and an astonishing 5.3 million (96 per cent) employ 0-9 people. These businesses account for 32% of UK employment and 19% of turnover. And the sector is presently undergoing a huge surge in growth – as is typically the case during a recession.

Emma said: “We are seeing an increase in the number of people starting a business with record rates of start-up registrations lodged at Companies House in July 2020. These fledgling businesses can greatly benefit from the expertise and support of a professional adviser, in particular during their crucial ‘make-or-break’ first year – compounded by the challenges of the current economic climate – and to help them with capacity-building and futureproofing for the years ahead.”

A panel of 5 judges, drawn from To Market, BEIS, CMI and the Advertising Association, alongside Emma Jones, will create a Top 50 Advisers 2020 shortlist which will be published on 4th November which will then go to a public vote, closing on 18th November. The final winners will be announced at a (virtual) awards event on 25th November.

In terms of what the judges are looking for in nominees, Anne Francke, CEO of CMI says: “The best business advisers don’t just consult on one or two single issues – they develop within the business leader the ability to think strategically and act decisively in the future. I’ll be looking for advisers who can demonstrate this capability, as well as those who can evidence the impact of their advice.”