Domicilium is sponsoring the award for New Business/Innovation at this year's Isle of Man Newspapers' Awards for Excellence.


‘We are delighted to be sponsoring an award that recognises innovation, Domicilium is famous for innovating and introducing new disruptive technology. We are an IP engineering company at our core and applaud all the nominees in this category for their various visions,' says Domicilium's Senior Account Manager, David Artus.

Domicilium is the oldest and most experienced Internet Service Provider (ISP) on the Isle of Man, and globally recognised in many sectors for being a leader in its field, namely Hosting, Networks and peripheral services. The company has an unparalleled track record of not only innovating in new sectors but also providing infrastructure and support to the largest and most established sectors in the world. Its 20,000 square foot next generation datacentre here on the Island is an award winning facility that is home to the majority of the Isle of Man’s egaming license holders.

Again innovation has been the key to its success in the online gaming sector. A good example of that is the fact that Domicilium helped design and managed one of the world's first online sports betting platforms and continues to aid innovation in the sector by promoting and supporting new technologies like Block Chain and serverless environments.

David says: ‘In the world of technology, that old adage of “the second mouse gets the cheese” doesn’t really apply; first mover advantage is exactly that, an advantage for our customers. For example, Domicilium introduced MPLS (Multi-Protocol Layer Switching), which is basically meshed private networking a full 2 years ahead of the competition. This made a big difference to some of the larger banks we support. The same can be said of Cloud and WiMAX technologies’ which have both played their part in the Isle of Man’s success as a leading business jurisdiction.

David went on to tell us: ‘Although an international company Domicilium are proud to be headquartered on the Isle of Man, and personally the best part of my job is flying off to somewhere like Asia and driving inward investment back to the Isle of Man. I can do this because the Island is a fantastic location for sectors like finance and egaming with all the necessary regulatory benefits and safeguards. From a purely technical perspective, the Isle of Man stands alone in its ability to service an offshore market with an onshore infrastructure, namely the capacity and quality of power and data provision. For example, no other Island of a comparable size or population can boast a self-sufficient power supply, we have the ability to generate up to 200% of the peak electricity demand, so it's the perfect place for rapid growth.

For Domicilium investment is ongoing: it never stops because it can't stop. But I would say the big difference between Domicilium and other technology companies is that we don't have a big churn of staff.

For a customer that's very important because it means we have the chance to develop a deep understanding of each client's history and a relationship that allows us to understand how we can help our customers in the future and the key to future success? Innovation of course’

Entries for the 2018 Awards for Excellence close TOMORROW

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Don't miss your last chance to showcase the achievements of your company, charity or public sector team by entering. As you can see by the diversity of some of last year's winners there really is something for everyone...

If you are passionate about your business, whatever the size, there are lots of award categories to choose from.

Maybe you would like to highlight your outstanding customer service, your innovation, digital skills or how you use technology. The award for Customer Service was won by The Tea Junction whose strategy is 'To ensure that all customers go away with a smile, having been delighted by an experience that they will share with others'.

Maybe you would like to tell people about your achievements in initiating a workplace wellbeing project. Last year's winner was Microgaming for the new corporate head quarters building, designed with staff input every step of the way.

Or maybe you want to showcase your company's all-round excellence by entering the award for Small Medium Enterprise, International Business of the Year or Company of the Year. Last year's award for Small Medium Enterprise was won by D&G Foods who run two very successful fish and chip shops in Peel and place great emphasis on using fresh local fish and produce wherever they can.

If you take pride in the service your public sector team provides you can enter the award for Public Sector Achievement of the Year, won last year by the DEFA for the way its Food Matters Strategy has increased the value of the island's food sector to slighly less than £100 million.

Are you an innovator or a leader in technology? Last year Dhoon School won an award for its innovative approach to achieving an inclusive educational environment whilst Goshawk Communications won the award for Excellence in the Use of Technology for developing a speech platform which can call clarity for both fixed and mobile calls, thus helping those who are hard of hearing.

You might want to publicise the amazing work your charity or cultural organisation does. Last year the Manx Breast Cancer Support Group won the award for Charity, Cultural and Social Enterprise, for their phenomenal fundraising achievements. The Manx Music, Speech and Dance Festival, 'The Guild', won the award for Teamwork for successfully running an event which 215 classes taking place in four different locations, for competitors of all ages.

You can also nominate someone else, an exceptional volunteer, a young acheiver or a business person. Last year's Young Achiever of the Year award was won by para swimmer Ben Grainger.

The Isle of Man Government's own award, Freedom to Flourish, was won by Adventurous Experiences who offer risk management education and skills development based around people having fun enjoying outdoor activities.

In all, there are 16 award categories offering opportunities for businesses of all sizes, individuals, public sector teams and cultural and charitable organisations.

You can find full details and download entry forms at Entries close on Wednesday September 19.

The Claremont Hotel is sponsoring the award for Innovation & Independent Thinking at this year’s Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence. 

Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson

The Claremont Hotel is sponsoring the award for Innovation & Independent Thinking at this year’s Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence. 

As the leading hotel on the Isle of Man, the Claremont is well versed in innovative design, and pushing the envelope on what being a forward-thinking company means in the modern business world. The Claremont alone maintains the coveted 4-Star Gold Award and its creative strategies and drive create a hotel experience that would sit comfortably alongside the vanguards of global hospitality. 

It seems only fitting, therefore, that the Claremont is this year’s sponsor of the award for Innovation and Independent Thinking. The award celebrates the effective application of both original and creative thought, an ethos at the heart of the Claremont’s success. 

The Claremont itself has been a recipient of recent awards, having scooped the prizes for both Customer Service and Company of the Year, as such they are looking forward to handing the metaphorical torch to the next wave of creative thinkers. 

Mark Wilson, managing director of Sleepwell Hotels, said: ‘The Claremont is looking forward to presenting this specific award as, just as the Isle of Man sets the standard globally for the eGaming sector and is world leader in telecommunications, so the Claremont aims to replicate this within the local hospitality industry.

This year has seen the Claremont push innovation even further.

In May, they became the first company within the hospitality sector to move all staff to at least the minimum living wage, a decision based on Tynwald’s recent recommendations. The Claremont knows that the reputation and success of a company is largely due to its staff, and Mark says: ‘Not only is this increase a reward for our current staff, the new minimum pay rate is one we can use as a base for trainees and junior staff and reflects our desire to recruit and develop the very best people in the industry.’

As part of the Claremont’s on-going development, 2018 also saw the design completion in a number of new executive business suites, part of an ongoing multi-million-pound renovation. With contemporary interiors, separate lounge areas, Smart TV’s, luxury wet rooms and an integrated multimedia workspace, our next phase of rooms redefine the standards of comfort and luxury available for Isle of Man business travellers.

Mark goes on: ‘We are very proud to be involved in the Awards for Excellence.

‘As a sponsor, we are also delighted to be able to celebrate and recognise the innovators and forward-thinkers that make the Isle of Man such an exciting place to be.’

* Is your company an innovator in its field? Tell everyone about it by entering Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence. Innovation& Independent Thinking is one of 16 award categories offering opportunities for companies of all sizes, individuals, public sector teams and charitable and cultural organisations. You can find full details and download entry forms at

Workplace wellbeing award is important

Leila Ashton, head of human resources at Microgaming at last year's Awards.

Leila Ashton, head of human resources at Microgaming at last year's Awards.

Last  year saw the introduction of a new award at Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence, Workplace Wellbeing.

It proved a popular category with a number of businesses wanting to demonstrate their achievements in providing the sort of working environment that supported the wellbeing of their staff.

The clear winner was Microgaming, who had just completed a brand new building which had been designed very much around their staff, with input from them all the way through to completion. 

Featuring a gymnasium, reading room, barista bar with their own blend of coffee and a roof garden, it’s the sort of place we would all love to work in.

Receving the award, head of human resources, Leila Ashton, said the things that had proved most popular with staff were the communal areas where everyone tended to congregate.

She said: ‘It really makes people want to come to work.’

One of the reasons why workplace wellbeing matters is because a great working environment helps companies to recruit the best people. 

Leila explained: ‘Now more than ever you’re really competing, not just locally but internationally, for talent so it’s important: people have a choice nowadays.’

But it doesn’t necessarily take a multimillion-pound investment in infrastructure to make a better working environment: it could be just a change in culture, as demonstrated by the two runners up in the category.

Expatriate Banking - Lloyds Banking Group developed a clear strategy to nurture the health and wellbeing of colleagues, setting up a Group Wellbeing hub that supports a balanced framework of mind and body wellbeing, personal finances and work-life balance.

Other simple measures that signal a focus on wellbeing included providing healthier snacks and a free water bottle and allowing time for staff to leave their desks and walk outdoors during their working day.

Ramsey Grammar School, well aware of the incidence of stress among the teaching profession, set out to find ways of alleviating this. 

Among the initiatives they have introduced are weekly yoga and Zumba lessons for staff, the provision of quiet rooms and making ‘emotional first aid’ available for both staff and students.

• Why not showcase your company’s achievements in supporting workplace wellbeing by entering this year’s Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence? 

The Award for Workplace Wellbeing is just one of 16 award categories at this year’s Awards for Excellence. 

Other awards offer opportunities for companies of all sizes, individuals, public sector teams and charitable and cultural organisations. 

For full details of all the award categories and to  download entry forms see

Sure is sponsoring the Award for Customer Service at this year’s Awards for Excellence.


This is an especially appropriate category for the company which brought real competition into our local telecoms market, shaking up existing pricing structures and giving Isle of Man customers a choice for the first time.  Now, more than a decade later, Sure is an established full-service telecoms provider, with a significant share across the markets in which they operate, which of course includes business solutions, as well as mobile, broadband and home phone services for their customers.  

Last year independent telecommunication network experts Systemics found Sure’s network to be the best overall, and fastest, in the Isle of Man. Sure’s 4G network was found to be the fastest for data downloads, its 4G+ coverage far more extensive – covering 75% of the island – and its network delivered superior call quality and clarity.  Sure has this year been chosen by the Isle of Man Government to provide its mobile services, following a competitive tender process, migrating more than 6,000 government services to the Sure network as part of the contract.

Of course growth hasn’t been achieved on competitive pricing alone: customers are also looking for quality and service, which resonates strongly with Sure’s own values of trust, simplicity and fairness – all underpinned by their own commitment to excellent customer service.


Sarah Jarvis, marketing manager for Sure, says “Sure regularly gauges opinion via surveys into customer satisfaction with products and services, as well as those all-important “touch points” in our three retail stores, customer service and the on-line experience.  

“There is a constant move to listen, to improve and to do things better and that desire has led to a specific focus on treating our customers with fairness.  Customers on the island – 73% of them in a recent independent survey – agreed with Sure that it is unfair to be charged for their phone after their contract has expired, something which has recently been the subject of an OfCom enquiry in the UK. Instead of continuing to charge customers for a handset which is now paid for, or simply informing them of the situation and leaving them to deal with it themselves, Sure automatically switches those customers to a lower monthly charge so they are only paying for their calls.”

Sarah adds, “Sure recognises that delivering excellent customer service is very much associated with making it easy to do business with us: we’re trusted to be fair and transparent in all we do. Simple price plans make it easy for customers to find the right plans to suit their needs – whether they are a business or residential customer – and we’re available to provide direct support in the Isle of Man as we opened our local customer service centre here this year.”

Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence is not just for businesses: local charity and cultural organisations also have the chance to shine.

 The girls from the Manx Breast Cancer Support Group with their trophy.

 The girls from the Manx Breast Cancer Support Group with their trophy.

The Award for Charity, Cultural and Social Enterprise and the Award for Volunteer of the Year are two awards that can give them the chance to raise their profile, tell everyone what they have achieved, or simply thank all those who have helped them or donated to them.

The Award for Charity, Cultural and Social Enterprise was won last year by Manx Breast Cancer Support Group for their outstanding achievements.

Despite the fact that they are all unpaid volunteers with full time jobs and businesses, the group raised enough money to build and equip one of the finest specialist breast units in Britain, at Noble’s Hospital. They also helped to establish, and have fitted out, Quiet Rooms at both Ronaldsway and Liverpool John Lennon Airports for the use of anyone travelling on the Patient Transfer Service. All of the money they raise is spent in the island.

The committee, most of whom are breast cancer survivors themselves, continue to fundraise for equipment and services that will help to provide the best possible care for cancer patients in the island.

The chairman, Julie Stokes, said: ‘This was the award we all wanted to win. We are so proud of all that we have achieved and the award summed up the hard work everyone has put in. It was just fantastic.’

The Award for Volunteer of the Year was won by Sylvia and Les Lawrinson who were nominated by the Samaritans for their long service - 90 years between them - to the charity. They continue to act as listening volunteers today, offering emotional support to callers in distress or despair. They have also been part of the team from the Samaritans who visit the prison and are allowed access to talk to prisoners one to one basis. 

Sylvia and Les Lawrinson WInners of Volunteer of the Year

Sylvia and Les Lawrinson WInners of Volunteer of the Year

Sylvia said they were happy to have their names put forward because it would help to encourage other people to volunteer for the charity. She added: ‘The award was for the whole Isle of Man branch, not just us.’

Would you like to raise the profile of your charity or cultural organisation? Do you know a dedicated volunteer you would like to volunteer for an award? You can find more information about all the award categories at this year’s Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence at

Night brings a glow of pride for Keirron

Win has meant growth in demand for his year-round skills development programmes

Compere Miles Jupp congratulates Keirron Tastagh at last year’s Awards for Excellence

Compere Miles Jupp congratulates Keirron Tastagh at last year’s Awards for Excellence

Freedom to Flourish is the Isle of Man Government’s awards category at Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence. Entrants for the award need to demonstrate how they have embraced values embodied in the Freedom to Flourish promise: independent thinking, resilience, resourcefulness and community loyalty (helping others to flourish). Last year’s winner, Keirron Tastagh, tells us why he thinks his entry caught the judges’ eyes.

Keirron has built his business, Adventurous Experiences, around enjoying activities including kayaking and coasteering, whilst at the same time developing indivual and team building skills.

His stated mission is: ‘Within this spectacular “playground”, we promote and facilitate real, sustainable adventurous experiences, predominantly on the Isle of Man; maintaining our high standards of safety, fun and learning. We encourage and provide continuous coach training and development; ensuring our coaches are well qualified and motivated, enabling them to give the best possible customer-focused experience.’

Freedom to Flourish is a category that could be won by a business or organisation of any size. In previous years Isle of Man Creamery, the Isle of Man Post Office and the charity, Manx Breast Cancer Support Group, have picked up the award.

Keirron explained why he thinks the judges’ were impressed by his entry: ‘A key factor in the judge’s feedback was how we expanded risk utilisation awareness and promoted informed decision making. 

‘In the year since winning this prestigious accolade, we have seen a clear increase in team building experiences and programmes. Demand for our year-round skills development programs for juniors and adults has grown.’

When it comes to his experience attending the awards night as a finalist and being announced as a winner Keirron said: ‘I was absolutely delighted to receive the Freedom to Flourish Award on behalf of the team at Adventurous Experiences. The awards evening was so much fun, and I still get positive feedback about my acceptance speech (often by participants on our corporate team building events) so it must have memorable for them as well.

‘Winning the award not only gave us a glow of pride, it also helped the business profile, and directly assisted in getting our key message out: risk utilisation is the solution to developing informed decision making, and regular exposure to real challenge is essential to people development.’

• Does your business or organisation demonstrate the values of Freedom to Flourish? If so tell everyone about it by entering Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence. There are 16 awards categories offering opportunities for businesses of all sizes, individuals, public sector teams and cultural and charitable organisations. You can find more infromation and download entry forms at Entries close on Wednesday September 19. 

Utmost Wealth Solutions sponsor Young Achiever of the Year Award

Chief Executive Mike Foy of Utmost Wealth Solutions

Chief Executive Mike Foy of Utmost Wealth Solutions

Utmost Wealth Solutions is once again sponsoring the award for Young Achiever of the Year at this year’s Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence. We are really pleased to be sponsoring the Award, because it fits so well with our development as a business.

It is now nearly two years since we became Utmost Wealth Solutions, so we’re still quite young as a brand ourselves, yet we’ve achieved so much in that time! However, we’ve been on the Isle of Man under different guises for over 25 years, so we have experience and youth!

That’s what makes it special to be supporting young achievers. We have embarked on an interesting journey; one of growth, ambition and opportunity and we want to make the most of the youth and enthusiasm that our own young achievers show on a daily basis.

We are a group on a strong plan for growth, having more than doubled assets under management in the last 18 months to over €24bn, with more to come. This covers the wider Utmost group of companies which operate in other jurisdictions. This, in turn, is creating opportunities for staff in our Isle of Man office as we provide support services to our colleagues based elsewhere.


We like to support our young people with their development. In addition to three undergraduates from UCM who have been with us for the last year, we are supporting a number of staff who are furthering their careers with us through a range of qualifications including STEP, CIPD, CISI, CIM and ACCA. We support achievement at all levels, not just our younger colleagues, but the feeling of nurturing talent, putting the right support mechanisms in place and watching people develop is something that gives us a real sense of achievement and pride.

We don’t just seek to help develop talent within the business. We are the main sponsor of the Isle of Man Swimming Association and keenly followed the progress of the team and individuals as they smashed Manx records and personal bests at the recent Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

We also have our own sporting achievers who have competed at the Commonwealth Games and reached the highs of medal success at the Island Games.

The Awards for Excellence is a great way for us to applaud not only the successful winners on the night, it also gives us the opportunity to share the experience with our own young achievers, who join in the celebrations on the evening. Unfortunately, we can’t take them all every year, so there is a real sense of excitement to see who the lucky few will be this year.

For those who get the opportunity, the evening generates a real sense of inspiration.

While we have a wealth of youth, over a third of our 200 employees are under 30 (that’s young), we’re always on the look-out for new talent. As a growing, strong and sustainable business, Utmost Wealth Solutions can provide a range of opportunities for those looking to develop and make their mark in international financial services.

Promoting achievement is at the heart of what we do, so it is highly fitting that we are once again the sponsor for the Young Achiever of the Year Award.

Good luck to all the nominees!

The Guild is built on teamwork

As we all know, teamwork can make all the difference in every walk of life and one of the awards up for grabs at this year’s Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence is the Teamwork Award.

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Last year’s winners were the team behind the much-loved island institution, the Manx Competitive Music, Speech and Dance Festival, more commonly known as The Guild which has now been running for more than 125 years.

Run entirely by volunteers it is the primary showcase for local amateur talent in music, drama and dance for competitors of all ages from six to 100 years.

The Guild runs over nine days with a staggering 215 classes taking place in four locations at the Villa Marina and in St Thomas’ Church so it’s easy to imagine the level of teamwork it takes to keep it all running smoothly.

Sarah Kelly is chairman of the Manx Music Speech and Dance Festival. Talking about the process of entering the Awards she said: ’I can hardly believe it is a year since we applied for the 2017 awards, and I would absolutely recommend any organisation or individual to put their own application into the Awards.


’The process of writing the submission was long, because we had 125 years of history to draw from. There are few organisations that continued through both World Wars without stopping and have touched so many lives along the way.’

When it came to catching the judges’ eyes with her submission, Sarah went on: ’The Festival is almost entirely run by volunteers - with just our secretary and treasurer receiving honorariums, whilst our committee is very small our team comprises of so many other partnerships without whom we couldn’t continue - in particular I would mention Dandara our fabulous sponsors but there are so many others too.’

Sarah added: ’Of course, we could not continue without our competitors of which we had over 4,000 this year.

’We welcome people of all ages and backgrounds, and through competition it teaches the values of dignity and respect.

’Through words, music and dance we have upheld the rich heritage of the island and through those arts we have cherished the spirit of teamwork.’

’As an organisation that has many facets we did apply for a few categories at the Awards and I would urge others to do the same if they can, we were delighted to be finalists in the Teamwork category and of course to win was truly amazing.

’The whole evening for me was filled with pride, not just because I was there representing a finalist and then to be a winner, or because I am Manx, but because we were celebrating everything that is great about being here on the Isle of Man and that is absolutely what the Guild and the Isle of Man Newspapers Awards for Excellence represent.’

• Are you part of a great team?

If you are, tell everyone about it by entering this year’s Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence.

There are 16 award categories, offering opportunities for companies of all sizes, individuals, public sector teams, arts, cultural and charitable organisations.

Our award is a badge of honour to customers

For most businesses, giving great customer service is a number one priority and the Award for Customer Service, sponsored this year by Sure, will be one of the hotly contested categories at this year’s Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence.

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You have to be in it to win it so, if you want to let everyone know how good your company is at looking after its customers, you should be entering the Awards.

And don’t think it’s only the large institutions who win: last year’s winners, The Tea Junction, proved that a business of any size can triumph.

When it opened its doors in 2015 The Tea Junction, owners Mark Davison and Jason Larrosa had a simple strategy: ’To ensure that all customers go away with a smile, having been delighted by an experience that they will share with others.’

Feedback on social media has demonstrated their success with Trip Advisor placing The Tea Junction first out of 120 other cafes locally and 94% of reviews giving it four or five stars.

Mark and Jason reckon their customers’ favourite products are ’the tea and the gin’, especially their orange and pomegranate infused gin.

Reflecting on their win Mark said: ’It’s a daunting prospect when you look at the actual application form and start to think about the complexity and detail that you could delve into, having lived and breathed your business.

’However, the great thing about entering is that it makes you stop and think about all the trials and tribulations along the way.

’It forces you to focus closely on your business and re-examine your core values. I think it also gives your business a level of credibility to win an accolade like this and reinforces your own commitment to continuing what you started.

’It’s difficult to quantify the actual gains in terms of bottom line but year on year we have grown busier.

’It’s certainly a badge of honour to display on your website and online communications, giving potential customers a certain reassurance of what they might expect.

’You do of course have to then live up to that standard, which is no bad thing.’

He added: ’We’re so glad we entered. The night itself was a real laugh and we brought all the staff along too, just in case we won we would at least have someone to cheer us on.

’As it happened everyone was cheering.

’Adrenaline kicked in when we realised we’d won and would have to make the walk up onto the stage.

’That part was a bit of a blur but we must’ve said something faintly amusing as I remember everyone laughing.

There are 16 categories in Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence offering opportunities for companies of all sizes, individuals, public sector teams and cultural and charitable organisations.

'We've tasted every potato variety known to Mann'

Company of the Year and Small Medium Enterprise of the Year are always two of the most hotly contested categories at Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence. Julie Blackburn talks to last year’s winners about the experience of entering and about how to produce a lively submission which grabs the judges’ attention.

Dave Matthews runs D&G Foods, the company which operates Peel Fisheries and The Cod and Castle chip shops, with his wife Georgia. They now employ 15 full time and four part time staff.

The judges were impressed by the way they had used their lively Facebook page to engage with their customers and by their passionate, and innovative, support for the local food economy. They brought their entry to life with colourful descriptions of the lengths they went to to source the best Manx ingredients for their customers.

Dave explained: 'Since opening we have succeeded in obtaining a licence to buy locally caught fish directly from the fishermen of Peel and are now selling sustainable, line-caught fresh fish from Manx waters. This is something that none of the other chip shops on the island do and is now one of our most successful products.'

Dave went on to describe some of the ways in which they have developed their knowledge of where to find the best local produce: 'We have tasted every variety of potato known to Mann and have visited the farm to observe the process for ourselves. We have become so adept at identifying qualities and problems in spuds that the farmers now use us to sample any new varieties.

'And we spent time abroard one of the vessels which catches our fish and helped reel in some of the catch ourselves.

'We feel that it is important to know how our produce is developed and the journey it takes to reach our customers.'

Speaking about the experience of attending the Awards Night and coming out on top, Georgia said:

'We were totally overwhelmed winning the Small Medium Enterprise award last year. It felt like all our hard work had been appreciated and recognised.

Champion of local produce takes 'big ticket' win

Company of the Year and Small Medium Enterprise of the Year are always two of the most hotly contested categories at Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence. Julie Blackburn talks to last year’s winners about the experience of entering and about how to produce a lively submission which grabs the judges’ attention.

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Company of the Year is undoubtedly the ‘big ticket category’ at the Awards, the one every business employing more than 30 people would love to win. Last year it wasn’t, as you might have expected, one of high profile finances sector or egaming companies that triumphed, but one which you might not even have heard of: Rock Food Concepts.

Whilst you may might know the name, you will undoubtedly have heard of the establishments the company operates: Little Fish Café, bath & bottle and 14North.

Phil Taylor, owner of Rock Food Concepts, says he was also surprised by the result:

‘It was pretty cool: I was expecting it to be a big finance company as well to be honest. I just felt really honoured to have been shortlisted for the Awards and to actually win it on the night was fantastic.

‘And to have the staff with me and to be able to take them up on stage and for them to get that recognition for what has been a journey for eight years now was a fantastic feeling and we were very surprised.’

When it came to writing the entry submission Phil says:

‘It wrote itself: I found it very easy to write and I included images in my submission, photos of the restaurant and photos of the food. I think they probably had quite a powerful connection with the people that were judging it because it made it quite easy for them to connect with us as a business.

‘I had to play to our strengths and I think people have a better understanding of our business and what we do than some of the bigger companies that may be a bit more renowned and recognised

‘I think that’s probably what got us over the line in the eyes of the judges.’

One of the main criteria for the Awards judges is supporting the local economy and Phil is a well-known champion of local produce. He was one of the first on the island to regularly name the local growers and producers where the ingredients were sourced on his menus.

He says: ‘That’s always been extremely important to me, to support local buy local and it’s for many reasons: it’s fresher, it’s less a food miles and it’s often better quality but you’re also putting pounds back into the Manx economy and hopefully we can all prosper together.

Phil is continuing the theme with his new venture, Little Fish at The Bay, in Port Erin, which opened this week. This, he says will have ‘less seafood-based and less of a café feel, more of a gastropub feel to it’.

He adds: ‘At the new restaurant we’re actually going out and foraging a lot of ingredients for the menu. The menu will reflect the seasons and what’s available and we want to source as much as we can in the south of the island.

‘We’ve been local in the past and now we’re going “hyper local”!’

Asked whether he would encourage others to enter their businesses into the Awards for Excellence Phil says:

‘It’s worth anyone entering into the process: it’s a great night out, win or lose, and anything can happen.’

Crossroads 30th Birthday interview with the Awards for Excellence 2018

Crossroads Care is this years Isle of Man Newspapers Awards for Excellence 2018 Charity of the Year. We caught up with Jackie and Megan to ask them all about Crossroads 30th Birthday and what activities they have planned for fundraising a whopping £30,000 in aid of their 30 years of service. 

For more details about Crossroads and its events, search: 

If you would like to donate to or hold your own fundraiser for Crossroads, please visit

What is the process for judging the Awards for Excellence?

The Judging Process...

The Judging Process...

Lots of people ask this question when they are looking to enter the Awards for Excellence. To help you understand the process, we spoke to Chris Allen, chairman of the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce, who was chairman of the judging panel last year. He said:

The Awards attract a huge number of entries and seem to be going from strength to strength. There is a lot of kudos reported from past winners which is helping to generate new and ongoing interest in these annual awards. What is exciting is that every year we see applications from new entrants and last year was no exception.

The judges have to deliberate long and hard in each award category such is the breadth and quality of the applications.

The judges are chosen from all sectors of the island's business community including finance, engineering, media and egaming. There are also representatives from the charitable sector and from government. All the judges are highly respected in their own field and bring a wealth of expert knowledge to the judging process. Every one of them recognises and appreciates excellence when they see it and all were impressed by the high standard of entries last year.

The judging process has been designed to work in a way which is simple and transparent. The 16 judges are paired off and each pair judges two categories. They individually mark them against a number of set criteria and then the pair will get together to decide their top choices in each category.

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When it comes to what they are looking for the first thing is whether the entry matches those criteria and demonstrates clearly key achievements or results. It has been noted, both last year and in previous years, that some otherwise exceptional entries have not been winners simply because they have offered an autobiographical account of themselves or their companies without actually answering the questions on the submission form.

One key criterium is sustainability: the judges are looking for great achievements over the previous 12 months that are not just a flash in the pan, but will continue into the future. So, inevitably, some of the discussion about the merits of each entry will relate to this.
The judges are also looking for entries that demonstrate a real commitment to the island: if it's a business this might be not just demonstrating the success of that business but also going the extra mile for the community through supporting charities or offering employment and training opportunities to local young people.

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Also impressive are people or companies who bring business to the Isle of Man or positively raise the island's profile around the world through an exceptional product or service.
When each pair of judges has had a chance to mark and discuss their two categories and select their top three, the final judging day sees them putting their results to the full judging panel, which may see their order endorsed or completely overturned.
Often the discussion can get quite intense as the judges are demonstrably passionate about excellence and their own view of it.

Sometimes it will happen that a judge has an involvement with one of the entries in the category under discussion: they are asked to leave the room while it is finalised and they will not know the result until Awards Night.

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Well known local businessman, radio presenter and owner of 3FM radio station, Ron Berry, was a first-time judge last year. He said:

The whole process was a real pleasure and I was amazed at the high standard of entries. It
made me realise just how many excellent businesses we have on the island which made the judging process a real challenge but a most enjoyable experience.

Launch of the Awards for Excellence 2018

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This year's Isle of Man Newspapers' Awards for Excellence have been launched alongside an appeal to raise £30,000 for one of the island's hardest-working charities.

Trudi Williamson, deputy chairman of Isle of Man Newspapers announced at the launch event, which took place at The Claremont, that the chosen charity is Crossroads Care which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary. 

Mrs Williamson said: 'This is the 13th year of the Awards for Excellence and we will be working with Crossroads in the run up to the Awards Night in November. As it is their 30th anniversary we have set a target to raise £30,000.


'We will be promoting and holding lots of events at the newspaper and we want to encourage our sponsors and other businesses in the island to hold small events such as dress down days in their offices to benefit the Awards for Excellence Appeal for Crossroads.'

Mrs Williamson went on: 'The theme for this year's Awards will be Year of our Island, tying in with the government's campaign to raise awareness and appreciation of this special place where we live. We will be concentrating especially on the island's rich heritage and cultural life.'


There is a new award category for this year, Commitment to the Environment & Sustainability.

Entry forms for all sixteen award categories are now available to download with opportunities for individuals, businesses of all sizes, public sector teams and charitable and cultural organisations.

Mrs Williamson said: 'We would encourage everyone to take a look at the full list of award categories and make this year the year you enter.

'There are so many unsung achievements in the island, in business, charity and the public sector team. Every year entries come before the judges from businesses doing great things but which are still very much under the radar.

'This is a great way to raise the profile of your achievements, especially if you are one of the finalists on the night and even better if you win.'