Bizspace's Emma Long shares her views on the tough task of being a Red Rose Awards judge

Bizspace’s Sales and Marketing Director, Emma Long, shares what she enjoys most about the Red Rose Awards, after being a judge for the event for the fourth year running.

What’s your role in Bizspace?

I’m responsible for Bizspace’s sales and marketing and HR functions, which is quite a wide-ranging role. My work includes leading our team of sales managers, staff development and recruitment policies and most importantly the customer experience. As well as this I take the lead on Bizspace’s brand and website development. Whilst my role covers the UK, I am based in our regional office in Stockport and my family are from Lancashire, so I am very familiar with the county.

How did you come to be a Red Rose Awards judge?

Bizspace first became a sponsor of the awards four years ago, as we thought it was a fantastic event to celebrate all things great about doing business in Lancashire. The opportunity arose for us to be a judge in the Small Business and Innovation categories and these were an ideal fit with Bizspace’s ethos to support new companies and help nurture growing businesses. We sponsor the drinks reception at the awards evening, being half Scottish this is an ideal event to ensure all have fun!

Bizspace is all about helping and encouraging businesses to succeed, so it makes total sense for us to be involved with the Red Rose Awards. Our company values are fun, teamwork, professionalism, passion and honesty and we feel these are all reflected in the Red Rose Awards too, both in the event itself and the fantastic businesses who enter.

What do you like about being a judge?

It’s wonderful to see and hear from so many people who are passionate about what they do. No matter what their business sector or size, their dedication to their work and their customers is what shines through. There is a real business community spirit in Lancashire which is infectious – it makes you proud to do business in the county.

Now that I’ve been a judge for four years it’s pleasing to see some of the same businesses coming back in front of the judging panel. It shows people’s determination to succeed and it’s always fascinating to find out how businesses change and develop over the months and years. Interestingly, there are now people on the judging panel who I’d judged in previous years, which shows how much it means to people to be involved in the awards.

What do you look for in the entries?

Obviously we have criteria to mark each entry on, to keep the process fair, but I like to go into the judging process open minded and prepare to be wowed by the entries. I always judge the Small Business category and then vary between the Innovation award and Online Business category, so your expectations change depending on which awards you are judging.

Whatever the category, it’s always great to hear people’s love for their businesses and to find out about how they go the extra mile to do things differently from other companies. Even though we see detailed written entries as the first part of the judging process, there are always some surprises when the entrants do their face-to-face presentations to us, so it really is a close call right up to the finish of judging.

What are you looking forward to on the awards night?

All of it! The evening always starts fantastically with the drinks reception, sponsored by Bizspace. As the theme is always kept a secret, it’s great to see people’s faces when they walk in and find out what surprises we have in store.

Next there’s the dinner, which is always delicious, and the chance to chat with everyone on our table. Then of course it’s on to the award presentations, and it’s brilliant to see how excited people are when they win. It’s especially nice to see the winners of the categories that I’ve been a judge for, one of which I get to present and congratulate personally. After the presentations it’s time to enjoy the entertainment, get to meet some lovely people and join in the celebrations! The team at Lancashire Business View always put on a wonderful event and the beautiful setting of the Winter Gardens in Blackpool is the perfect location.