The Big Chip Awards were founded 19 years ago, making us the UK’s longest-running digital awards. That longevity carries a certain degree of prestige – particularly when we consider the Awards are, and always have been, not for profit and by and for the industry. We have no commercial agenda – we are just here to celebrate digital excellence up North.

And, due to our impartiality and credibility, each year we attract hundreds upon hundreds of entries from a diverse range of businesses and organisations – varying in size and sector. We welcome entries from any and all organisations that have created a truly great digital campaign, project or product.

The Big Chips seek to shine a light on the true industry innovators creating work worth talking about – which is something Joe Gosling, managing director of Bearded Fellows, discovered when his business scooped Best Freelancer / Micro Enterprise. Gosling explains, “as a micro-enterprise, the recognition that comes along with winning an award like a Big Chip is unprecedented. It raised our profile amongst key players in the industry and got people talking about us and our offering. Not to mention the subsequent press coverage – we were included in a number of articles which was amazing for exposure and generated a lot of interest.”

Clinching the award also had tangible, commercial benefits for the small business. Bearded Joe adds, “the week of the Big Chip Awards ceremony, we were negotiating our biggest deal to date. Then, when our award win was announced, we had sign-off almost immediately – we are confident the Big Chip helped seal the deal. After both the win and the new contract were firmly in our grasp, we were opened to a completely new level of client – which any small or micro-sized business will know is crucial. And, it only gets better – both our retention and turnover increased by 40% which has been huge for us.”

The value of the Big Chip Awards isn’t just confined to winners on the big night though, as Gosling explains; “the big night is really an excuse for everyone in the industry to get together, meet up and connect with one another. This is great because it leads to a stronger network of business leaders who share knowledge and support one another. As a London native myself, the very prevalent Northern collective mentality really appeals to me and it’s apparent even in the competitive creative and digital sectors. It pushes the quality up and allows organisations like ours to only feel inspired by the work of our peers.”

For any organisations considering whether or not to enter, Joe Gosling believes you should just go for it; “invest in the work you and your team have produced for your clients by entering the Big Chips. If it’s up to scratch, you’ll be recognised as a true industry-leader in this field.”

The bearded fellow also had some advice for fellow micro-enterprises and smaller businesses trying to craft the perfect entry. “Be honest and make sure you answer the question that the judges have asked. It is not enough to simply copy and paste your mission statement. Put forward the piece of work that gave you and your client the most value creatively. Remember, it’s about innovation in the sector not just the money made.”

If you’re just interested in hearing more about Bearded Fellows and what they do, or just really love a good beard, they are currently building a new website to showcase the value they have been bringing their clients:

Remember, the Big Chips deadline has been extended – but not for much longer. Make sure you’ve submitted your entries by Monday 20th March here.