That's pretty much the only prize for 'highly commended', but it's still something to be proud of; apparently there were close to a thousand entries, sixteen of which won a cash prize, and fourteen of which were commended. So if you like, we can now declare VP is one of the top thirty graduate businesses in the country - not too shabby! Especially as many of the other companies were serious business players, employing a dozen staff, revolutionising a particular type of technology and turning over in a month what VP manages in a year... and those were just the ones I beat.
This is not just good news for me and Valley Press; by commending VP, the judges have acknowledged that literature (poetry, even) can be the base for successful business activity - a powerful (and unusual) statement from four high-powered banking executives! Turned out most of them were quite into books, even. The competition involved me making a two-minute pitch and answering five minutes of questions; during the latter the judges managed to argue briefly amongst themselves whether ebooks or paper were best. You can't escape that debate! At the end of the day, when the commendation was announced, VP was described as a 'beautiful business' - I'd obviously touched a few heartstrings, perhaps reminded them of happy childhood days curled up with a tatty paperback.
|The VP table at the awards 'do' - I brought the books!|
More than anything, the awards formed the basis for a nice day out - I was accompanied by VP author Felix Hodcroft, who did a great job of talking up the operation while I was busy refining my pitch. The organisers, judges and fellow finalists were brilliant too; unfailingly cheery and friendly. I noticed amongst them was former The Apprentice and Dragon's Den contender Leon Doyle, a serious player (and seriously tall - when he and Felix stood next to each other, I came up to their chests, and felt like I was back in primary school. He was one of the ones I beat, by the way - not that I want to rub this in, or anything.)
|A wider angle on the table - there's Leon in the back, to the right.|
upcoming collection of sonnets, and it served as a helpful reminder of what I'm really in this for - in case all the showbiz got to my head!
Apparently the Enterprise Awards will be a yearly thing, and while winners can't enter again, commended businesses can - so I'll be back, without question, for the 2013 competition! And until then, back to business as normal; look out for details of new book releases on the blog and on the site soon.