10 things that make WOBA so special

Monday November 25th 2019

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For the last 10 years the West Oxfordshire Business Awards, or WOBAs as they have become affectionately known, have recognised the very special business community that exists in West Oxfordshire. Started by a small team back in 2011, the WOBAs have grown and developed over the years as more and more businesses recognise the rewards of being a WOBA winner, indeed the benefits of just filling in an entry form are often quoted as enough reason to enter!

As we celebrate our 10th anniversary in 2020, here are 10 things that the WOBA team thinks make the WOBAs so special:

1  The overall West Oxfordshire Business of the Year trophy is designed each year by local students from Abingdon and Witney College who compete for the honour and present their ideas to a panel of judges.

2  The winning trophy design is made into a totally unique hand made trophy that is always stunning and winners are proud to accept.

3  Over the years we have built a WOBA community of business of all sizes, from all corners of West Oxfordshire who make, provide or advise on a range of services and products. This community comes together at WOBA events to network and to meet new faces and old connections.

4  They’re free to enter! In fact, you can even win a WOBA without it costing you a penny, as every finalist gets 2 free tickets to the gala dinner. 

5  There are three events to attend each year: the Launch which is usually in September, the Celebration of Business in February when the finalists are announced and then the Gala Dinner which is in March. Each one enables people to network with other like minded business owners. 

6  The WOBAs are organised by a team of volunteers who give of their time in order to make the WOBAs what they are today. From social media to looking after the accounts, from updating the website to graphic design and event management, the team get sponsors, encourage entries, organise judging and events. Some of the current WOBA team were even responsible for organising the first WOBAs! 

7  With eleven categories there is one for most West Oxfordshire businesses to enter. To celebrate our 10th anniversary we have a special Winner of Winners Award and a new Young Entrepreneur Award as well as the usual size awards plus specialist categories such as Innovation, Retail and Employer of the Year. To give yourself the best chance of winning, we suggest you enter a size award plus one other…you can enter as many as you are eligible for!

8  The WOBAs are not profit making, so they are financed by our fabulous sponsors who recognise the value of being associated with the WOBAs. Each category is named after the sponsor. We value all our sponsors highly!

9  Each award is judged by the sponsor and an independent judge against a set of criteria – we try to make the judging as fair as possible, given that we’re often judging very different businesses for the same award. We visit all shortlisted businesses and interview them to make sure the right business wins!


10  The WOBAs celebrate business in West Oxfordshire. They recognise success and over the years have given a real boost to lots of amazing local businesses who can now say they are ‘award winning’!

To enter the 2020 WOBAs visit http://woba.org.uk/awards/, download entry forms for as many awards as you meet the criteria for, complete you entries and submit them before the deadline of midnight on Monday 2 December. You never know, you might become a WOBA award winner!