Award Categories

The award categories are designed to recognise the ever-evolving digital landscape in the UK. From solo entrepreneurs to digital teams, our categories highlight the outstanding development of businesses, ground-breaking websites and software, and inspiring creative work. These awards represent the most cutting-edge work and businesses being developed in the UK.

The DEAs offer you the opportunity to showcase your business alongside some of the biggest and brightest names in the country through our media partners at the Manchester Evening News and technology magazine BusinessCloud.

As well as the exposure and recognition that comes with being nominated for a Digital Entrepreneur Award, the awards provide an amazing opportunity to celebrate your team's work, boost morale and attract new talent.

Struggling with your entry? Get top tips on how to craft an amazing award application.  

There are a number of sponsorship packages available including sponsorship and presentation of particular categories. For more information and prices, please visit our Sponsorship Page or get in touch with the team. 0800 231 5985 /

Digital Agency of the Year

For the right agency of professionals, the Digital Agency of the Year Award will provide recognition of a collective entrepreneurial spirit. The judges will be looking for an agency which can harvest collaboration and without sacrificing excellence.

Our judges are looking for stories of agencies using digital to push the business forward with pace and consistency. Is your agency a market leader in one area or is it an incredible multi-platform powerhouse?

The judges are looking to award a digital agency who refuses to be found on the back foot of the digital sector.

Digital Startup of the Year

There might never be a better era for digital startups than the one we are currently enjoying. As a result, the calibre of start-ups we expect has never been higher, and the category has never been so broad.

The judges will be open to seeing digital startups of all descriptions - everything from ecommerce to game development - but are looking for an entrepreneurial engine clearly driving the success of the start-up through innovation, hard-work and self-confidence.

You could be a team of one or twenty, offering any number of products or services in a growing digital industry; the winner of this award will be a startup whose pro-active business decisions have led to recognisable success and the first of many awards.

Digital Team of the Year

This award recognises individual departments or teams. You may not work in a digital industry but your team must be working on digital or technology-related projects that are impacting on the wider business.

Our judges want to hear about the internal teams using digital to push the business forward, either in relation to technological capability or digital output.

You could be made up of marketers, techies and or developers. Perhaps you've developed a can't-live-without internal system or maybe even an ethos for digital across the business? Is your tech-support team offering first-rate customer service or is your marketing team transforming your business's online presence and driving your growth?

Digital Business of the Year

This award is split into small and medium to large categories to recognise the incredible breadth of entrepreneurial talent using digital to make a name in their industries.

Our judges want to see a clear indication of success. This award is not about an individual piece of work but a consistency throughout the year and a collective entrepreneurial approach to business. It is as much about the company's relationship with digital as it is the successful projects themselves.

What's your business doing above and beyond the rest and how can you prove what your business has done to make you the DEA Digital Business of the year?

Small Business: 0-50 employees. Medium to Large Business: 50+ employees and/or £3million+ turnover.

Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Digital entrepreneurs are often young by virtue of their more intrinsic understanding of the digital landscape.

The judges will be looking for a new entrepreneur who didn't wait for permission to start carving out their own *career. This young person will have not only recognized but also seized a gap in the market, using their intelligence and bravery to turn that idea into something real and profitable.

We're looking to award an outstanding young individual who continues to take hold of their professional future and has maintained a level of success and judgement normally expected of their older peers.

Digital Entrepreneur of the Year

Most of our awards are about recognising teams. We understand that it takes a team to form a great digital business and a whole company to supply or utilise a great piece of technology. This award however gives credit to an individual or pairing who represents true pioneering advancement in digital. Quite often there is someone within a team driving things forward, predicting trends, doing things differently and getting great results.

You can nominate yourself for this award or you can nominate someone else. Perhaps, you're a business owner commending your supplier, an agency who sees something in your client, or maybe you feel someone within your team is a true entrepreneur.

Our judges want clear evidence why this person is a digital entrepreneur. Success can be measured in terms of new business, financials, creative output, business growth or the effect you're having on a team or business.

Best Mobile App

With more than 2.7 billion smartphone and 1.35 billion tablet users across the globe, how is your business taking advantage of the booming application marketplace? We increasingly rely on our mobile phones as our primary tool for gathering information on the go, and spend 90% of our mobile time on apps. How have you innovatively developed an application to advance in the market? Is your application generating an impressive amount of income or making your users' lives easier? Have you developed a creative and clever application that's making mobile commerce easier or more appealing? Our judges want to learn how you are leading the industry. We want to know all about your application and how it contributes to your overall operation.

Web Development Project of the Year

There are websites that we love and websites that we love to hate. Every now and then there's a website with universal appeal that just seems to have a magical, secret ingredient.

We're looking for creative, stylish and functional projects. We want to hear from the entrepreneurial developers pioneering the next generation of websites. What is keeping you ahead of the competition? How are you responding to customer feedback and improving user experience, customer journey and even customer service?

It's time for the developers behind the projects to be rewarded for the way their unique and multi-functional approaches are impacting on customer experience and business growth.

Most Innovative use of Video or Animation

Video and animation can be used to transform a brand from obscurity into a household name.

Our judges are looking for an online video or animation with function and personality that sits at the heart of the business strategy and brand development. Are you using innovative animation to drive traffic or explain a complex process? Is your video notching up thousands of views?

Arguably one of our most creative awards, we want to seek out the talented film teams and animators who can create pieces of work that connect with their audiences like no other. Alongside the creative concept of the project, please tell us about the strategic reasoning for the project and the results you're seeing.

Social Media Campaign of the Year

Businesses, large and small are now engaging on social media and those that are not are missing the conversation. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ amongst others, have revolutionised the way a brand is perceived and how it communicates. With power back in the hands of the consumer, businesses need to be more flexible and reactive than ever before.

We're looking for campaigns and everyday practices that display a sophisticated understanding of online communication. Statistics on volume, interaction and audience success will help you stand out in the judges' eyes. How creatively has your approach impacted on website traffic, customer experience and the bottom line?

Software Innovation of the Year

Businesses evolving through new technology adoption are growing faster than the rest. Are you developing the technologies that are helping companies or individuals to become increasingly agile and responsive?

From bespoke telephone systems to CRM or payroll packages, streamlined software is an integral part of a productive business day. This category rewards the talent, dedication and knowledge behind the architects of our digital systems. A good piece of software runs without ceremony, improving engagement and output, empowering individuals and teams alike.

Our judges are looking for impact and want to know about tangible gains to business - either your own or your clients'.

Most Innovative use of Digital Technology

Using technology to scale services, adopt new working patterns or analyse data perhaps, savvy businesses are leading the field and keeping their innovations close to their chests.

This award will be presented to a company that is utilising technology to transform its business. Deliberately broad in scope, it aims to find a shortlist of businesses that have embraced technology to a whole new level in their business practices.

Our judges want to hear from the forward-thinking, early-adopters who are both creative and pragmatic in their technology use. Perhaps you're an agency advising clients on new marketing technologies or a business with in-house developers working on bespoke new systems? This award is about speed and success of adoption and the entrepreneurial minds making this possible.

Digital Innovation in the Public Sector

Technology should make all of our lives easier and more efficient but entries in this category should be genuinely life changing.

The UK Public sector has one of the trickiest technology challenges of all. Moving with the times, making services more accessible, saving time and money whilst protecting customer data, appealing to a mass audience while welcoming the less digitally-savvy.

Our judges want to hear from public sector bodies actively embracing technology. The change can be all-encompassing or as simple as a new app or process as long as it's having proven results and shows innovative thinking.

AI Innovation Award

From self-driving cars to smart home assistants, from games to your social media feed, businesses are beginning to feel the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). While this tech has been with us for a while, the latest applications for AI are accelerating early adopters ahead of the competition. This award is for those who have the creativity and innovation to leverage AI/ML, advancing user experience and driving business performance. Our judges are looking for those who have designed AI/ML to provide a breakthrough in any area of business. No matter the size or sector, however you have used AI/ML, our judges want to hear all about it!

Tech for Good

Technology is used in everyday life, across every sector and is advancing at phenomenal speed, developing easier ways to live and prolong people's lives. Our new 'Tech for Good Award' is about game-changing technology that is used to impact people's lives for the good. Our judges are looking for innovative technology, created and developed to muster social change. From improving education and enabling charitable giving, to transforming the work of the healthcare profession, we want to hear how you have used revolutionary technology to create a better world. Our judges would love to see examples of how your technology is used for the greater good and how it has impacted people's lives.

eCommerce Business of the Year

Is your business experiencing or creating a fast-growing return from online sales? Our judges are looking for pioneering businesses that are doing things differently with their online presence and outweighing the competition. Whether you are from a traditional background or a purely online business, we want to know about all the tools and functions you've developed and the results you're seeing.

We're looking to reward an entrepreneurial team for their impact on the customer journey, lead generation strategy and, of course, sales.

Your business can be B2C, B2B or responsible for an application that drives the e-commerce engine.

eCommerce Developer of the Year

Are you the developer or development team behind some of the web's most successful e-commerce sites?

Our judges are looking for outstanding architects of the web, who consistently enable their clients' e-commerce platforms to deliver high volume sales whilst providing an excellent end user experience.

We're looking to reward the developers working behind the scenes to pioneer new techniques and systems at the heart of the e-services industry, creating the extraordinary transactional websites that make the UK's e-commerce industry shine on an international stage. Developers; it's time to get the recognition you deserve.

Online Retailer of the Year

As part of an explosive industry, online retailers are never at rest. New investments in innovation are needed just to stay afloat.

The judges will be looking for an innovative and successful online retailer who has invested in pioneering marketing and development methods which surpass even these gruelling industry standards. The result of your successful strategy and investment will have contributed not only to your success but to pushing the whole industry forward.

This year's winner will need to have demonstrable accomplishments in online retailing, and evidence of the clear causation between an initial ideas stage and the bottom line.

Tech Platform of the year

The power of digital technology has seen tech platforms take the world by storm and has disrupted the traditional ways of doing business. AirBnB is one of the largest hotel booking platforms in the world without owning a single hotel. Deliveroo delivers food and drink from the best restaurants in the business without owning a restaurant. Uber provides a taxi service in 633 cities worldwide without owning a single taxi. Are you the next AirBnB, Uber or Deliveroo? Our judges want to hear how you have used game-changing technology to create and develop a platform to exploit and shape the industry. How does your platform disrupt the traditional ways of doing business? How is your business strategy and industry know-how developing your sector?

Official Sponsors

Back to top