Last night Heart of the City held the first ever virtual Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards! As champions of responsible business, Heart of the City is proud to run the awards in partnership with the City of London Corporation for the first time.
Hosted by Tim Campbell MBE, the 33rd Dragon Awards ceremony was different to any other – and not only because we all attended from our sofas. We’re proud to say that half the finalists and winners were small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). In a year where SMEs have seen huge challenges, we think that’s worth celebrating.
When lockdown struck, many SMEs found themselves needing to adjust without large teams and budgets to help them. We know from talking to Heart of the City members that SMEs had their own lists of worries and were feeling alone. That’s why it’s been so heartening to see so many SMEs apply for the Dragon Awards, in all categories The applications showed so many small businesses have been thinking about the communities that they work in, making sure to give their support and have a positive impact on people, places and planet.
Responding to the pandemic
We know from our work at Heart of the City that businesses big and small have supported their communities throughout the pandemic, and worked hard to look after their employees’ mental health and wellbeing. In recognition, this year’s Lord Mayor’s Award was Innovation During Covid-19. The three finalists had run programmes to tackle food insecurity for vulnerable people, connect local volunteers with people who need them, and support people in Newham to access welfare advice. It was great to see so many London businesses come together to help people who needed it most. Andy Melia, Interim Director at Heart of the City, was on the preliminary judging panel:
“As always, we have seen some great initiatives entered into the Dragon Awards that really demonstrate the powerful role businesses play in their communities. It was particularly heartening to see how businesses have adapted their programmes in the face of the pandemic and worked with others to support those most in need.“
Heart of the City award
Every year the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards celebrates businesses that have started to have a social impact in Greater London through its Heart of the City award, and we had lots of impressive small businesses apply. Amongst the three finalists, it was brilliant to see Heart of the City member Red Ant and former member WeAgile alongside Signature Recruitment. Design studio WeAgile was the winner on the night, for their initiative Digital Used for Good. They built a free online tutoring platform for children, provided financial help to jobseekers, built websites and gave social media help to charities, and supported their hospitality sector clients with free digital products. We spoke to WeAgile about this for our 20-year impact report last year – read their case study here.
As well as members, we were proud to see Heart of the City ambassadors shortlisted. Big congratulations to Marsh & McLennan for their winning project supporting unaccompanied refugees and asylum seekers in Birmingham and Leeds. And to Credit Suisse, Hogan Lovells and UBS for being finalists in their categories.
The Dragon Awards in numbers
The applications showed some impressive numbers! Applicants have invested over £2.9million in financial and in-kind support for their communities, mobilised over 1,300 volunteers and reached more than 180,000 people through their projects. Those figures are so inspiring, and it was brilliant to hear from the winners last night.
Winners and finalists
Congratulations to all the winners: TrueCue, Q5, Marsh & McLennan, WeAgile, The Skills Builder Partnership & UBS and onHand. You can watch videos from the winners to hear more about their stories below.