Big Chip 2016 has now opened for entries - for the 18th time

Fashions come and go. Things considered cutting edge and the way of the future 18 years ago can seem dated now, or have simply faded. Alta Vista, Second Life, Friends Reunited. Big Chip however has been a constant. Now, at age 18 it is the longest running digital awards in the UK. 

The reasons for this are simple. Big Chip has always been about all things digital - from creative to tech. And while fashions may come and go, digital remains the most powerful force driving growth, transformation - and disruption - in the economy. Some awards are about making money - the more gongs the better. Big Chip has always been about the industry, about showing the very high standard of work by digital business in the North. 

That’s why Big Chip is overseen by a steering group involving industry people from across the North and representing organisations such as Digital Union in the North East, Creative Sheffield, and other digital communities. That’s why it is run for the industry and not for profit by Manchester Digital, the trade association for digital business in the North West.

We’ve assembled a fantastic judging panel this year, chaired by Al Scott of C3 Communications and including design guru Malcolm Garrett, BBC’s Bill Thompson, Plusnet founder Lee Strafford, VP Ventures’ Patrick Altoft, Sam Michel of Chinwag, Jon Bradford co-founder of F6S, Dr David Kreps of Salford University, Thinking Digital founder Herb Kim, and Alastair Cole from the Engine Group. 

The Big Chip judges have gained a reputation over the years. On several occasions they have declined to shortlist any entries in a category because they did not feel any met the required standard. Sometimes they have decided that no one should win. It’s because they are charged with clear objectives: apply consistent standards and choose solely on the basis of genuine merit. 

For that reason, just being shortlisted for Big Chip is a tremendous achievement, an honour that businesses can wear with pride. 

This year there are 19 entry categories. They cover everything digital from technology to visual design, from games to mobile. Two additional awards are then chosen from the shortlists for the 19 categories: the Anthony Wilson Award, this year chosen by special guest judge Matt ‘Mills” Miller of UsTwo, and the prestigious Grand Prix.

Entries close on 7 March and the shortlists will be announced on 28 April. The winners will be announced at the Big Chip dinner in Manchester on 23 June.

By Shaun Fensom, Chair of the Big Chip Steering Group