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Havering Small Business Awards

About the awards

Havering Small Business Awards are back for 2024 thanks to the support of our main sponsor, Wates, Time FM (our media sponsor) and our individual category sponsors listed below.

This year, the awards format changed to help attract more businesses from across the whole borough to enter, with businesses nominating themselves.

We’re now conducting cross checks with council teams such as business rates, public protection and environmental enforcement teams, to ensure that businesses qualify for the next and final voting round.

We will then put the decision on who you think is best to a vote.

The vote will open on Monday 10 June at 9am so please check back here then.

The three businesses with the highest number of votes from each category will then be invited to an awards evening in September 2024.

It was a great night, it gave us the opportunity to meet other small business in our community and celebrate everyone’s achievements.

We all strive to be the best we can and the atmosphere created by this event helped remind us that our best efforts paid off as without customers and commitment you don’t have a business.

To be nominated for three categories was overwhelming but to actually walk away with three awards was simply amazing!

- Robbie from Best Sellers, winners of the Best Shopfront, Best Small or Independent Business and Havering Small Business of the Year 2022/23 - 

Give yourself plenty of time to enter

Although the process is simple this year, we’re asking businesses to nominate themselves, so please still remember to give yourself ample time to consider your entry.

What have been the highlights over the past year? What have you achieved that has exceeded expectations or sets you apart from other businesses? 

You’ll need to have the following information ready for your application, much of which is easy to complete.

  • Business Name
  • Business VAT or Company number (if applicable)
  • Business owners full name
  • Business address
  • Contact telephone number
  • Contact email
  • Business Website (if applicable)
  • Social media accounts
  • Award entry - explanation on why they believe they deserve to win that particular award/key achievements for 2023/24 (maximum 300 words).

Choose the category that’s right for you

The nomination format has changed this year and asks businesses themselves to nominate for one category only.

Therefore it’s vital that you pick the category that you think is your strongest opportunity to win.

Stick to the category criteria

Judges (made up of Council Officers, Cabinet Members and sponsors) will be looking at how to score the entries in each category so you need to make sure you follow the guidelines and match the criteria in your application.

Try and provide some examples

If you've had record sales growth this year then make sure you include the figures.

Taken on new staff? Say how many.

The judges need more than general statements, they will be looking for details on exactly how you've achieved success this year against the criteria and how that sets you apart from your rivals.

It's one thing for you to say that your customers are really happy with your service, but how about including some testimonials from them, too?

Final checks

When you have completed your application, check it over and ask yourself if your application is easy to read, and have you done enough to stand out?

Is there someone that can check your application before you send it, just to make sure there aren’t any errors? They might make a valuable recommendation to include something you hadn’t thought of.

Second round - When it goes to public vote

If you get to this point, it means the judges have determined your entry meets the award criteria and there aren’t any current breaches or investigations into your business that could exclude you. Congratulations!

Now it’s over to you to promote your business and encourage your customers to vote for you when the voting goes live.
If you've used social media to build brand loyalty and engagement then make sure your posts are up to date.

You will be able to use the ‘We’ve been shortlisted for the Havering Small Business Awards 2023/24’ graphic which we will send to you by email along with some suggested wording to use on your own promotional material.

Remember to include the hashtag #HaveringSBA on all your social media posts!

Best of luck!

Best Small or Independent Business


Oakleafe Claims logo


Small and independent retailers and businesses make up the backbone of Havering’s economy.

From the family-owned bakers, boutiques and florists, to independent care companies or solicitors, this award celebrates the best of Havering’s small businesses.


Entrants must demonstrate outstanding achievement in their business. 

This could include:

  • all-round achievement
  • a clear vision for the future
  • success against objectives
  • sustained growth
  • and to be a standard bearer for success in Havering

Best Beauty or Service Business


Havering Daily logo


Beauty parlours have been a staple of the British high street for decades, with the range of treatments continuing to grow through the years.

From nail bars to hairdressers, masseurs to tattoo artists, this award is open for businesses that have kept us looking and feeling great.


Describe what makes your business the best.  Is there anything unique about what you offer? Evidence that a salon or service is working seamlessly to provide high quality, expert service for their customers. 

Best Take Away 


Havering Daily logo


We all enjoy a nice takeaway treat every now and then! Havering has an impeccable selection of take away restaurants to cater for everyone’s taste – and we all have our favourites.


Describe what makes your business the best.

Thinking about Havering’s Healthy Weight Strategy what are you doing to help your customers make healthier choices?

Is there anything unique about what you offer or how you work?

What do you think is your standout food that people love and what makes it special? 

Best Newcomer (less than a year old) 


HCCI logo


Havering has been called the Start-up Capital of London – and it is easy to see why, with so many fantastic new businesses setting up for the first time in our borough.

From small online shops to start-up tech SMEs, this award recognises the best new small business in Havering that was set up in 2023.

Note: Nominees must have begun trading no earlier than April 2023 to be eligible for this award. Businesses that were trading before April 2023 can still be nominated for other awards.


Tell us about your achievements in your first year (needs to have been created no earlier than July 2023).

What us your clear and focused approach to growing your business so it is, and remains, successful? Clearly identified target market.

What does your business bring to Havering? 

Best Sustainable Business


HaveringWorks with Levelling Up, Mayor of London and HM Government.

Havering works logo

Funded by UK Government banner   Supported by Mayor of London logo   Levelling up logo


This award reflects the positive work that Havering businesses do to protect the environment and promote more sustainable working habits. This award seeks to inspire and motivate innovation in these areas.

It gives businesses the opportunity to highlight their sustainability journey, share their vision and learn from one another.


Need to demonstrate your commitment to environmentally sustainable practices within your business, including championing locally sourced ingredients, supporting local suppliers and promoting sustainable practices 

Best Hospitality Business


Hills Prospect logo


From pubs, bars and clubs, restaurants and cafes, to independent hotels, now is your chance to champion your favourite hospitality business in Havering.

Nominees must be small and independent businesses. Franchises or chain restaurants are not eligible for this award.   


Unlike the customer experience award, best hospitality is about excellence across all aspects of service, from innovation, to guest experience.

We want you to evidence how you are consistently delivering exceptional experiences, service, and pushing the boundaries of hospitality.

Best Shopfront


K and T heating logo


A great-looking shopfront can set you aside from the competition on your high street.

We all know that one shop that pushes window-dressing to the extreme - whether that’s a themed holiday, or a pristine presentation all year round.

Nominations for this award must include a picture of the shopfront and anything we need to know that sets your business apart from anyone else.


Tell us why and how you create shopfronts that are attractive, creative and engaging for your customers. Photos must be supplied for this category (maximum three images).

Best Social Enterprise or CIC


Jax Sun Services logo


It has never been more important to pay tribute to social enterprises and community interest companies (CICs) across the borough, many of which jump at a moment's notice to help the community.

This is your chance to shine a spotlight on these hidden heroes of Havering.

Nominees must be registered as a social enterprise or community interest company in Havering.


Entrants need to summarise the ‘heart’ of their business and detail the support, information or outreach it delivers, which can be financial or otherwise.

Perhaps it just connects people, or brings together those who would otherwise be isolated? If the organisation stopped being here how significant would the impact be? 

Best Tradesperson


ESG logo


We couldn’t celebrate Havering’s wealth of small businesses without recognising the tradespeople that always save the day.

From plumbers to electricians, gardeners to carpenters, this award is for sole traders or independent tradespeople who always deliver the best service for the people of Havering and are always on hand when disaster strikes.


Describe what makes what you do the best.

Is there anything unique about what you offer?

Include any client referrals that were particularly successful, or any projects you have completed that have been crucial to your success.

Best Customer Experience


Oakleafe Claims logo


Customer care is vital to the success of a business, it’s important that businesses, especially small and independent ones, maintain good relationships with customers.

We want to receive nominations from small businesses that are always looking to help customers and their communities, whether there’s always a smiling face behind the counter, or a polite voice on the other end of the phone.


This category recognises one of the key criteria for any successful business; how they interact with the people who buy their products and services.

Tell us about how you make life easier and how you understand the needs of your customers to consistently go that extra mile. 

Small Business of the Year Award

The Havering Small Business of the Year Award is a special award given to one of the winners from the other categories.

This award will be selected by a panel including the Council and sponsors, and given to the small business that we feel represents the very best that Havering has to offer and includes: 

  • number of overall votes 
  • quality/level of detail of the application for the category award 
  • number of previous awards 
  • what sets them above the other businesses? 

The Havering Small Business Awards are free to enter. Businesses can choose to enter one award category only.

A small business is a business with fewer than 50 employees.

Business nominations must be completed using the online form.

A judging panel, made up of category sponsors and council officers will determine which businesses meet the criteria based on the strength of their entry statement. This will include sharing award entrants information with the judging panel/sponsors.

Businesses subject to trading standards, business rates or public protection investigations or breaches may be excluded – exclusions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The shortlist will then be opened up to the public vote. This is not limited to Havering residents, since businesses serve customers from outside the borough too. However, all duplicate or incomplete votes will be discounted from the final votes.

The three businesses from each category that receive the most public votes from the second round of voting will be invited to the awards event.

Havering Council reserves the right to refuse nominations, or exclude finalists if they do not meet these conditions.

The winner of each category will receive a trophy, certificate, and vinyl window sticker naming the business a winner.

Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash.

Havering Council reserves the right to postpone or cancel the awards at any time.

Nominees must not be owned or managed by a larger corporation.

Independent businesses with more than one premises in the borough are eligible to enter.

Franchises, chain restaurants and brewery-owned/managed pubs are not eligible for these awards.

Businesses found to be offering incentives or rewards to customers in exchange for votes will be automatically disqualified.

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