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Most publishing houses in the region offer Awards programmes.
CPI Financial is no different. We operate four Awards programmes: the Banker Middle East Industry Awards; the Banker Middle East Product Awards; the Islamic Business & Finance Awards; and the Business Vision Awards.
The Banker Middle East Industry Awards, in common with the magazine itself, is the only Awards programme focused solely on the performance and quality of the banking and financial services industry in the Middle East region. The annual Awards Gala Dinner attracts an audience of some 400 C-level bankers every year with some 30-40 CEOs in attendance – not for nothing is it known as the ‘Oscars’ of the Middle East banking sector.
The Banker Middle East Product Awards operate on a country-by-country basis, recognising the quality of individual banking products within the markets they are offered.
Business Vision is a new Awards programme, launched in 2016, alongside our magazine Finance ME, aimed at recognising success within the regional business community. The first event drew an audience of more than 200 SME owners and managers and was very well received.
Our Awards are highly sought-after and recognised as the benchmark against which others are compared. Awards offer affirmation both for business teams internally and to customers externally of the quality of the institution or company or service that receives them.
But, now to the problem…
What bothers me each year is the limited number of actual Awards nominations we receive. You would think that the company applying would put its best foot forward and produce something that shows the business in the best light. Sadly this is not always the case. The nomination is done as an afterthought. For example, one award nomination, in answer to the question – Why does your company qualify for this Award? (please provide financials and appropriate documentation) – the answer received was, “Because we want to win”.
I wish I was joking.
The nomination was duly tossed in the recycling bin. The company in question was actually a pretty decent company and could have been in the shortlist to win the award, but since the person nominating treated it as a joke, the company missed out.
It is extremely difficult for our judges to take an entry seriously if the company itself does not take the entry seriously and make an effort to show that it is worthy.
So what is the point of writing a good nomination?
Well, because not only might you win a highly respected Award, but my colleagues and I, as editors, use those nominations to create case studies; we use them to see which companies we would like to feature in our magazines and, who in that company would be a good person to interview.
We do not mind if the English is not perfect (we are after all in a region where English, while the language of finance and business, is not a first language).
Interestingly, it is the smaller SMEs and start-ups that seem to produce the best nominations and really put effort into it. It’s exciting to read how these companies are fighting for funding, expanding their customer base, implementing new technology and processes to improve business, and bringing creative new ideas and products to market. Now, if only the bigger companies followed suit, we would not be sending so many awards nominations to the recycling bin.