Behind the Scenes of the City’s Leading Business Awards, MKBAA

As one of the biggest business events of the year, the Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards (MKBAA) is one of those that stands out on the city’s calendar.

It’s a night when the best and brightest businesses in MK get to show off just how good they are at what they do, by winning awards that propel them into their deserved spotlight.

But few people realise that way before the glitz and glamour happens there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes – and that’s where Interdirect’s Kemi Sangowawa takes centre stage.

“The planning, in theory, starts the week after the previous event.” Said Kemi, “This is my first year working on MKBAA and so far, it’s been an incredibly enjoyable project to work on. It encompasses a lot of the skills I’ve built up throughout my career.”

2022’s event proved to be a roaring success. The first one back in person since COVID-19 destroyed the hopes of people meeting up in large groups, the night celebrated a diverse range of businesses, a theme that has been carried over into this year.

Celebrating Diversity is an important theme and organisers are keen to do exactly that, with a huge and diverse range of businesses expected to follow in the footsteps of previous winners.

So, after the wash-up meeting from last year’s event the theme is discussed and agreed before the branding is finalised (a whole project in itself). Once this is agreed, Kemi is back in the mix, and it’s time to build the website.

Kemi explains: “Once the branding was finalised, I spoke to designers who helped explore what Celebrating Diversity meant. From there we built and agreed a tone of voice, photography, and developed the different uses of colour.”

One look at the website shows you just how much work has gone into it – especially when you consider that it was built completely from scratch.

The thought process was that the team wanted the website to be easier to navigate, providing all visitors (including applicants, judges, and the general public) with everything they need to submit their entries, read about past winners and log-in to make important judging decisions.

The website provides a one-stop shop that includes everything from separate entry and judging portals, as well as a media gallery, news page, blogs, theme information and a look at the different sponsors. On top of this there is also a countdown that has changed from when entries closed to now when the event will be held.

Kemi added: “We’re happy to have received much fewer questions this year, meaning that people are finding it easy to navigate, and simple to do what they need to via the website.

“When people are asking lots of questions or finding it hard to find what they need, that’s when you need to worry.”

There have been some changes made to this year’s event, to make it more accessible and fairer for all. One of the biggest changes, aside from the new website, is the rule that if you’ve won an award in a category the previous year, you can’t enter that category again this time around.

We asked Kemi when she will get to relax. “On the night, definitely on the night.” She said, “The entries have now closed, the judges will have some time to make an initial decision and then people will find out whether they’ve been successful in getting through to the next stage. Then it’s full steam ahead for the judging day next year. It’s all very exciting, and this is a great project to be involved in.”

If you’re not entering this year, then why not? But if you are, from all at Interdirect, we wish you the very best of luck. At least you won’t need luck navigating the website!