We’re really proud of our judging process. It’s fair, it’s transparent, and it recognises that the best businesses aren’t always the biggest. We’re so proud of it, in fact, we’ll take any opportunity to shout from the rooftops about how great it is, including today’s blog.


The Process:

Here at the RBAs we have a lengthy and detailed judging process. Entrants are awarded points in 17 different categories, by at least 5 different judges. Then we take an average to determine the final score. There are a total of 20 marks available for each category.

There are two rounds of judging. The judging process is basically the same for both Shortlisting and Final rounds. First the Judges consider all the entries, score them. From those scores we announce the entries with the highest average scores in each category as finalists. Then a different set of judges will score the finalists, looking a little deeper and more critically into their entries. The results of this round of judging are kept even from the judges themselves until the Awards ceremony.


The Judges:

Our judges are always industry leaders, and as experts in their field they know what it takes to build a great business.We will announce our judges for 2018/19 over the coming weeks, so here’s a couple of last year’s judges to give you an idea of who you can expect to be judging your entry.

Kate Middleton

Kate is the Marketing Director at Prysm Media Group, the UK’s largest independent event and conference organiser. With a portfolio of 26 events including The Farm Business Innovation Show, Rural Entrepreneur Live, Country House Innovation, and Legalex. Kate has extensive experience in the organisation and management of a diverse range of events in the UK and internationally.

Joe Towers

Joe is General Manager of Lune Valley Dairy Farm in Lancashire. The farm milks 450 cows; 340 Holstein-Fresians and 110 Jerseys and is best known for supplying a bespoke ‘Barista Milk’ to high end coffee shops in London. Along with his brother Edward, Joe has very recently been named a ‘Farmers Weekly Rising Star’. He also sits on the BBC Rural Affairs Committee.

Steve Edwards

Steve is now BT’s Director of Fibre Clients. He has over 30 years’ experience in the telecommunications industry and is considered an inspirational leader with utmost customer focus. He’s led BT’s partnerships with UK and Local Government to bring fibre broadband to rural communities.

We want our judges to be relevant to rural business, people who our entrants respect. We try to choose people who reflect a broad range of sectors. The RBAs have such a wide range of entrants, from cheese-mongers to solicitors, from farmers to shop-owners, none of our entries are alike. Therefore we need our judges’ experience and expertise to reflect that.

We take your privacy seriously, so our judges all sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect you, and your information.


The Questions:

Last year judges scored entries on 17 different categories: 10 for shortlisting, along with a further 7 for the final round. Judges consider questions like:

  • Has the entry given an overview of the journey that they have taken?
  • Is there evidence of the business making progress towards achieving their aims and objectives?
  • Does the entry demonstrate a clear understanding of its chosen market and to whom they are selling?
  • Would you consider this business to have an ethical approach to business?
  • Score the business based on its Rural Ethos and its impact on the rural way of life or economy.
  • How would you rate the customer and staff engagement with the business?
  • How unique is the business?

From this you can see that it’s quite important to present a well-rounded entry that covers all aspects of your business. You need to balance evidence of a successful business with creating an engaging story. The questions roughly match the bullet points for each category in the Entry Guidelines, which is why they’re so useful when putting together an entry.


So, what does this mean for entrants?

We aren’t a popularity contest, or only looking for the biggest bottom line. Our judging process looks at businesses holistically. It considers an entrant’s history, ethics, rural credentials, branding, customer service, and individuality. We choose judges whose opinions we respect, and hope you do too. We want our entrants to feel that a Rural Business Award really means something, and that our winners are proud of their achievement.


You can click here to enter the Rural Business Awards.

Download a copy of our Entry Guidelines here.

If you need inspiration on how to create an award-worthy entry, read our blog about the 5 Most Common Entry Mistakes, or get in touch with the team through office@ruralbusinessawards.co.uk or 01163 800525.

Sign up for our newsletter

Find out about the latest Awards news and exclusive offers.

You have Successfully Subscribed!