The WOBAs – it’s starting to sink in!

Chris Busby, ICEoxford

Thursday March 27th 2014


It’s because we’re continually striving for the end goal rather than enjoying the journey, we never quite feel worthy of winning an award. We’re not there yet, we haven’t floated on the stock exchange yet and we don’t employ 500 people… yet. How can we be winners, we’re just us? It’s very true that we don’t look back enough to see where we’ve come from and take time out to see our achievements. Living with the day to day grind you miss what you’re gradually achieving, one small step at a time. This is where the WOBAs come in, it’s a great vehicle for making you think about your achievements, the team that you’ve built, the product range, and then have to explain to the judges why you are the best.

Paul Kelly and I sometimes forget our first board meeting in a pub bar where we thought starting a business was a good idea. ‘Let’s build a worldwide brand with no money, that’s a good idea… isn’t it?’ We were enthusiastic, full of ideas and we issued ‘minutes’ of the meeting and generated many ‘actions’ that needed to be completed before we could win ‘Business of the Year’ at the WOBAs in ten years time! Then there was the day the first order came in, the day the bailiffs came in (twice), the day you employ your first person… all memories and part of the company history now.

Today, myself and the whole team viewed the videos of the award ceremony and watched the many compliments bestowed on ICE from our business peers across the County (surely they don’t mean us?). On the evening of the awards, drink was being unkind to my sensory powers so it didn’t quite sink in, we sat back and relaxed after winning the ‘Owen Mumford Innovation Award’, job done. Not considering that we might be in with a chance of anything more, suddenly, we heard the word ‘Innovation’ and our ears pricked up… it couldn’t be… could it?

So, in summary WOBA needs all the great companies there on the night, all the great companies who entered and some of the great companies currently being conceived in a pub bar somewhere. WOBA needs the enthusiasm, dedication and professionalism of the people that run it. However, businesses need WOBA because:

  • It’s an opportunity to reflect on achievements and direction.
  • It allows businesses to measure themselves against the best in the district and aspire to new heights.
  • It generates pride in the employees regarding their company and gives recognition for all their hard work.
  • Customers placing orders for hundreds of thousands of pounds gain more confidence.
  • It raises awareness locally and worldwide through internet publicity.
  • It attracts good quality new personnel to the business.
  • It lets everyone know that you are on track with your ‘story’.

Chris Busby, MD of ICEoxford, winners of the Owen Mumford Innovation Award and the West Oxfordshire Business of the Year Award 2014.