Retail and Leisure Awards judge on the look out for unique and innovative businesses

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With two-and-a-half months left to enter The News Retail and Leisure Awards, one of the ceremony’s returning judges urges more businesses to step forward and take part.

And why should teams across the area do so? Because in the words of Shaping Portsmouth director Stef Nienaltowski, the promotional reach it gives businesses and the strong networking potential available is ‘amazing’.

Stef, 61, said: ‘I was asked to be a judge last year having had a career in corporate and SME business – I’m pretty experienced as to what success looks like particularly in terms of retail and leisure.

‘I saw last year the passion and teamwork applicants showed, and for some their outstanding commitment to their customer base shone through.

‘If there are any returning businesses from last year I’ll be looking to see what they’ve achieved since.

‘For new entrants, I’ll be looking to see how they innovate with their offering, whether that’s refreshments, clothes or a service – innovation is possible in any business.’

The awards are open to individuals, partnerships, organisations and businesses based in, or with a significant presence in, the circulation area of The News – namely south-east Hampshire and over the border into West Sussex and Chichester.

The 10 categories in the awards give businesses, members of staff including managers and rising stars, community work and more to be properly recognised.

Social Enterprise runs a series of programmes in the city which cover anything from inspiring young people to achieve their ambitions or to helping businesses start up.

Stef, who will be judging alongside a group of others with industry experience, added: ‘Those entering must make sure they understand the market and value they’re offering is evident in either price, customer service, or uniqueness of product.

‘To be associated with The News is amazing because of the reach it gives businesses, teams at which can also network during the night.

‘The awards all about shaping and supporting Portsmouth and I look forward to starting my judging duties, and being there on the night.’