Entering MENA Awards – Which awards in the Middle East could I win?

Entering MENA Awards – Which awards in the Middle East could I win?

Faye Renshaw

Head of International Accounts, Boost

Entering MENA Business Awards

Whether it is Arabian Business Awards, Gulf Business Awards or Middle East Business Awards, the regions, terminology and options for entering awards in MENA are numerous and perhaps sometimes confusing. But in a part of the world where the awards industry is maturing and expanding, the benefits and credibility of winning MENA awards are now clearer than ever.

We had Senior Boost Consultant Xenia Kingsley explore this emerging awards scene; here’s what she had to say.

Why enter awards in MENA?

Business in the Middle East revolves around trusting, personal relationships. In order to win new MENA alliances, you must not only adhere to the business etiquette specific to your region, but you must demonstrate honour and credibility in everything you do. And while a culture of wasta (or as we would say in the West, ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’) is common, excellence is also highly prized and respected. This is where business awards come in. Many Middle Eastern business award ceremonies boast an incredibly influential guest list including government officials, captains of industry and occasionally even royalty. To have your business recognised at such awards can be invaluable and create numerous opportunities.  

Faye Renshaw

Head of International Accounts, Boost

Entering MENA Awards

Whether it is Arabian Business Awards, Gulf Business Awards or Middle East Business Awards, the regions, terminology and options for entering awards in MENA are numerous and perhaps sometimes confusing. But in a part of the world where the awards industry is maturing and expanding, the benefits and credibility of winning MENA awards are now clearer than ever.

We had Senior Boost Consultant Xenia Kingsley explore this emerging awards scene; here’s what she had to say.

Why enter awards in MENA?

Business in the Middle East revolves around trusting, personal relationships. In order to win new MENA alliances, you must not only adhere to the business etiquette specific to your region, but you must demonstrate honour and credibility in everything you do. And while a culture of wasta (or as we would say in the West, ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’) is common, excellence is also highly prized and respected. This is where business awards come in. Many Middle Eastern business award ceremonies boast an incredibly influential guest list including government officials, captains of industry and occasionally even royalty. To have your business recognised at such awards can be invaluable and create numerous opportunities.

Types of business awards to enter

National vs international

It may sound obvious but it’s important to think about the geographical reach of the project (or team/ individual) that you would like to put forward for an award. There are often unclear geographical distinctions between awards labelled as MENA, UAE, Middle East, Arabian or Gulf specific; an entry that is eligible for one scheme may not be for another, despite having similar names. Equally, there are country specific business awards that you may be eligible to enter despite most of the project not having taken place in that area. It is crucial to thoroughly read any entry criteria or speak with award organisers or award consultants to clarify this before investing in an entry.

Industry specific

In addition to broader business awards, each of the Middle East’s key industries is represented by specific schemes. These typically fall into the following categories (though some more niche schemes can also be found):

  • Oil, Gas and Petrochemicals
  • Banking and Finance
  • IT, Electronics and Communications
  • Government / Civil services / Utilities
  • Construction
  • Education / Academia
MENA business awards

Many credible schemes, such as The Gulf Real Estate Awards, hold their ceremonies in Dubai, one of the region’s key business hubs.

Leadership awards

Due to the very personal nature of business in this part of the world, individual accolades such as Leader of the Year or a Lifetime Achievement Award are a great way to boost your credibility amongst peers. The Asian Leadership Awards, Middle East Business Leader Awards, BURJ CEO Awards and Hamdan Bin Mohammad Awards all include categories for individuals.

Types of business awards to enter

National vs international

It may sound obvious but it’s important to think about the geographical reach of the project (or team/ individual) that you would like to put forward for an award. There are often unclear geographical distinctions between awards labelled as MENA, UAE, Middle East, Arabian or Gulf specific; an entry that is eligible for one scheme may not be for another, despite having similar names. Equally, there are country specific business awards that you may be eligible to enter despite most of the project not having taken place in that area. It is crucial to thoroughly read any entry criteria or speak with award organisers or award consultants to clarify this before investing in an entry.

Industry specific

In addition to broader business awards, each of the Middle East’s key industries is represented by specific schemes. These typically fall into the following categories (though some more niche schemes can also be found):

  • Oil, Gas and Petrochemicals
  • Banking and Finance
  • IT, Electronics and Communications
  • Government / Civil services / Utilities
  • Construction
  • Education / Academia

Many credible schemes, such as The Gulf Real Estate Awards, hold their ceremonies in Dubai, one of the region’s key business hubs.

Leadership awards

Due to the very personal nature of business in this part of the world, individual accolades such as Leader of the Year or a Lifetime Achievement Award are a great way to boost your credibility amongst peers. The Asian Leadership Awards, Middle East Business Leader Awards, BURJ CEO Awards and Hamdan Bin Mohammad Awards all include categories for individuals.

Hints and tips for entering MENA Awards

Deadlines

These are less likely to be set in stone than many Western Award schemes, for example The Middle East CEO Excellence Awards allow nominations to be made as close as two weeks before the award ceremony. Also, Arab Business Awards tend to have shorter deadlines than UK or US companies may be used to – while some UK awards will allow a window of four months or more to submit, schemes in the Middle East are often less generous. There are of course exceptions; schemes such as The Hamdan Bin Mohammed Awards require a great deal of information per entry and so the deadline window spans a number of months.

Entry fees

Many awards are free to enter as they are based on nominations. However, of those which do charge (including The MENA Digital Awards, CIPS Middle East Awards, MEED and International Business Excellence Awards) entry fees start at around $250 USD and can go up to $500 or more.

Format

As with awards in the UK and US, the required entry format will vary greatly from scheme to scheme. A number of awards in the region have no entry process, as businesses will be selected by royalty, government or industry bodies including Chambers of Commerce (The Gulf Business Awards is an example of this). Some will require more formal written submissions however, or more commonly, the completion of online forms. Self-nomination is generally allowed. For individual entries, high resolution head shots will always be required, and often an accompanying CV.

Finalists

If your organisation or team members are shortlisted for an award, it’s imperative that you attend the ceremony. These are key events for networking and making business contacts, regardless of whether you win.

Hints and tips for entering MENA Awards

Deadlines

These are less likely to be set in stone than many Western Award schemes, for example The Middle East CEO Excellence Awards allow nominations to be made as close as two weeks before the award ceremony. Also, Arab Business Awards tend to have shorter deadlines than UK or US companies may be used to – while some UK awards will allow a window of four months or more to submit, schemes in the Middle East are often less generous. There are of course exceptions; schemes such as The Hamdan Bin Mohammed Awards require a great deal of information per entry and so the deadline window spans a number of months.

Entry fees

Many awards are free to enter as they are based on nominations. However, of those which do charge (including The MENA Digital Awards, CIPS Middle East Awards, MEED and International Business Excellence Awards) entry fees start at around $250 USD and can go up to $500 or more.

Format

As with awards in the UK and US, the required entry format will vary greatly from scheme to scheme. A number of awards in the region have no entry process, as businesses will be selected by royalty, government or industry bodies including Chambers of Commerce (The Gulf Business Awards is an example of this). Some will require more formal written submissions however, or more commonly, the completion of online forms. Self-nomination is generally allowed. For individual entries, high resolution head shots will always be required, and often an accompanying CV.

Finalists

If your organisation or team members are shortlisted for an award, it’s imperative that you attend the ceremony. These are key events for networking and making business contacts, regardless of whether you win.

Important awards in the MENA region

There are hundreds of schemes to choose from, below is a list of some of the most popular, ordered by deadline. For a full list check out our Middle East Awards database, the largest free list in the world.  

Important awards in the MENA region

There are hundreds of schemes to choose from, below is a list of some of the most popular, ordered by deadline. For a full list check out our Middle East Awards database, the largest free list in the world.  

Deadlines in March/April

The Middle East Smart Government & Smart Cities Excellence Awards

The Middle East Excellence Awards Institute run a number of awards programs. The Smart Government & Smart Cities Awards recognise excellence in a variety of industries and specialisms from Bitcoin to Education. They are free to enter and require an online form to be filled out in either Arabic or English. The deadline for this year’s nominations is 12th April, with the ceremony taking place on 26th April.  

Deadlines in March/April

The Middle East Smart Government & Smart Cities Excellence Awards

The Middle East Excellence Awards Institute run a number of awards programs. The Smart Government & Smart Cities Awards recognise excellence in a variety of industries and specialisms from Bitcoin to Education. They are free to enter and require an online form to be filled out in either Arabic or English. The deadline for this year’s nominations is 12th April, with the ceremony taking place on 26th April.  

Business Traveller Middle East Awards

The Business Traveller Awards, which focus on airlines, airports and other elements of business travel are voted for by readers of Business Traveller Middle East magazine. Anyone can make nominations, and these can be submitted online or physically via voting slips included in the magazine. Companies are encouraged to stimulate voting via their own social media channels and through internal communications, making this scheme something of a popularity contest. Nominations open in January and conclude in April, providing a very generous deadline window for businesses to promote their participation and generate votes.

Business Traveller Middle East Awards

The Business Traveller Awards, which focus on airlines, airports and other elements of business travel are voted for by readers of Business Traveller Middle East magazine. Anyone can make nominations, and these can be submitted online or physically via voting slips included in the magazine. Companies are encouraged to stimulate voting via their own social media channels and through internal communications, making this scheme something of a popularity contest. Nominations open in January and conclude in April, providing a very generous deadline window for businesses to promote their participation and generate votes.

Deadlines in May/June

Gulf Business Awards

The Gulf Business Awards require a 500-word submission (deadline 30th June) in order to be considered for shortlisting. Each year the scheme includes two ‘people’s choice’ categories, which are voted for by Gulf Business readers. These awards are very much focused on recognising individuals, though there is also a business of the year category.

Deadlines in May/June

Gulf Business Awards

The Gulf Business Awards require a 500-word submission (deadline 30th June) in order to be considered for shortlisting. Each year the scheme includes two ‘people’s choice’ categories, which are voted for by Gulf Business readers. These awards are very much focused on recognising individuals, though there is also a business of the year category.

Hamdan Bin Mohammed Awards – free nomination with prize money for the winners.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the Crown Prince of Dubai and has a number of award schemes in his name. These include The Hamdan Bin Mohammed Award for Innovation in Project Management, The Smart Government Award and his International Photography Award. The purpose of each of these is to reward excellence with financial prizes. However, given the scale of the rewards (which can be up to $200,000), the entry process is extensive. For the Innovation in Project Management Awards for example, entrants are advised to read a 17-page entry manual before submission. Given this, the deadline is quite generously at the end of June (30th in 2018), with both the form and manual currently available to download.

Hamdan Bin Mohammed Awards – free nomination with prize money for the winners.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the Crown Prince of Dubai and has a number of award schemes in his name. These include The Hamdan Bin Mohammed Award for Innovation in Project Management, The Smart Government Award and his International Photography Award. The purpose of each of these is to reward excellence with financial prizes. However, given the scale of the rewards (which can be up to $200,000), the entry process is extensive. For the Innovation in Project Management Awards for example, entrants are advised to read a 17-page entry manual before submission. Given this, the deadline is quite generously at the end of June (30th in 2018), with both the form and manual currently available to download.

Deadlines in July/August

MEED Awards

The MEED Awards are a general business award scheme, with categories covering a range of industries. They open for entry in May and close on 15th July 2018. Judging takes place throughout August, with the shortlist announced in September and the ceremony taking place on 7th November at The Ritz-Carlton, DIFC. These cost $300 to enter, however multiple entries receive a discount, up to five entries.

Deadlines in July/August

MEED Awards

The MEED Awards are a general business award scheme, with categories covering a range of industries. They open for entry in May and close on 15th July 2018. Judging takes place throughout August, with the shortlist announced in September and the ceremony taking place on 7th November at The Ritz-Carlton, DIFC. These cost $300 to enter, however multiple entries receive a discount, up to five entries.

CEO Middle East Awards

Though the deadline for 2018 has yet to be announced, last year’s CEO Middle East Awards fell in late August, with the Dubai ceremony being held on 12th September. Categories are divided by industry with specific judging criteria for each. Nominations are free and must be no longer than 500 words. Not to be confused with the similarly named CEO Today Middle East Awards which usually has a November voting deadline.

CEO Awards Middle East

Though the deadline for 2018 has yet to be announced, last year’s CEO Middle East Awards fell in late August, with the Dubai ceremony being held on 12th September. Categories are divided by industry with specific judging criteria for each. Nominations are free and must be no longer than 500 words. Not to be confused with the similarly named CEO Today Middle East Awards which usually has a November voting deadline.

Light Middle East Awards

These awards celebrate the best in architectural lighting and design. Awards are free to enter and fall into two categories; products and projects. For all entries, a submission of no more than 1,150 words must be made. The deadline is in August (day to be confirmed) with the ceremony taking place in October.

Light Middle East Awards

These awards celebrate the best in architectural lighting and design. Awards are free to enter and fall into two categories; products and projects. For all entries, a submission of no more than 1,150 words must be made. The deadline is in August (day to be confirmed) with the ceremony taking place in October.

Aviation Business Awards – free nomination

These airline awards focus on excellence in the Middle East aviation industry and the deadline for entries is 15th August, with the ceremony taking place in October. They include the much-coveted categories ‘Middle East Airline of the Year’ and ‘Airport of the Year’. Submissions are free, can be no more than 500 words and can include a supporting document.

Aviation Business Awards – free nomination

These airline awards focus on excellence in the Middle East aviation industry and the deadline for entries is 15th August, with the ceremony taking place in October. They include the much-coveted categories ‘Middle East Airline of the Year’ and ‘Airport of the Year’. Submissions are free, can be no more than 500 words and can include a supporting document.

Deadlines in early 2019

The BCI Middle East Awards – free nomination

The BCI Middle East Awards are one of seven regional awards that make up The BCI Global Awards for the business continuity and resilience sector. Nominations for 2018 opened in January and closed in February, with winners expected to be announced soon. The shortlist is already available. Winners of each region will attend the Global Awards ceremony in London in November. 

Deadlines in early 2019

The BCI Middle East Awards – free nomination

The BCI Middle East Awards are one of seven regional awards that make up The BCI Global Awards for the business continuity and resilience sector. Nominations for 2018 opened in January and closed in February, with winners expected to be announced soon. The shortlist is already available. Winners of each region will attend the Global Awards ceremony in London in November. 

MENA Digital Awards

The MENA Digital Awards (MDA) promote digital innovation and media and claim to be the first awards show solely focusing on digital efforts in the region. Categories include ‘Best Use of Social Media’, ‘Best Mobile App’ and ‘Best Search Marketing Campaign’ amongst others. This year’s ceremony takes place on the 9th May. Entry requirements for this scheme are very specific and include a showcase video or SlideShare, a case summary board and an online form. They cost between $350 and $450 per submission. 

MENA Digital Awards

The MENA Digital Awards (MDA) promote digital innovation and media and claim to be the first awards show solely focusing on digital efforts in the region. Categories include ‘Best Use of Social Media’, ‘Best Mobile App’ and ‘Best Search Marketing Campaign’ amongst others. This year’s ceremony takes place on the 9th May. Entry requirements for this scheme are very specific and include a showcase video or SlideShare, a case summary board and an online form. They cost between $350 and $450 per submission. 

CIPS Middle East SM Awards

The CIPS Middle East Supply Management Awards take place at the CIPS Middle East Conference at the end of June, whilst the deadline was the 15th January so keep an eye out for next year. Entry fees are listed in Emirati dirham and equate to between $68 and $136 USD per entry.

CIPS Middle East SM Awards

The CIPS Middle East Supply Management Awards take place at the CIPS Middle East Conference at the end of June, whilst the deadline was the 15th January so keep an eye out for next year. Entry fees are listed in Emirati dirham and equate to between $68 and $136 USD per entry.

International Business Excellence Awards (Dubai)

As the name of the awards suggests, The International Business Excellence Awards has a general business focus, with categories divided by discipline and sector. The deadline is in early February each year and the ceremony takes place in Dubai at the end of April. Entry cost is between $395 and $475.

International Business Excellence Awards (Dubai)

As the name of the awards suggests, The International Business Excellence Awards has a general business focus, with categories divided by discipline and sector. The deadline is in early February each year and the ceremony takes place in Dubai at the end of April. Entry cost is between $395 and $475.

Boost – a helping hand entering awards

Hopefully you have found our guide to awards in the MENA region useful. If you need help entering the right awards for your company and increasing your chances of winning business awards in MENA contact Faye Renshaw at Boost Awards today. Boost is the world’s first and largest award entry consultancy, having helped clients, from SMEs to Multinationals, win over 1,100 credible business awards including many in the Middle East. Increase your chances of success significantly – call Boost on +44(0)1273 258703 today for a no-obligation chat about awards.
(C) This article was written by Xenia Kingsley and is the intellectual property of award entry consultants Boost Awards

Boost – a helping hand entering awards

Hopefully you have found our guide to awards in the MENA region useful. If you need help entering the right awards for your company and increasing your chances of winning business awards in MENA contact Faye Renshaw at Boost Awards today. Boost is the world’s first and largest award entry consultancy, having helped clients, from SMEs to Multinationals, win over 1,100 credible business awards including many in the Middle East. Increase your chances of success significantly – call Boost on +44(0)1273 258703 today for a no-obligation chat about awards.
(C) This article was written by Xenia Kingsley and is the intellectual property of award entry consultants Boost Awards

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