Since the first edition of 2011, how have the eBusiness Awards developed and in what way do they recognise and promote innovation and ideas?

Ever since the first edition in 2011, our aim was to create a channel that recognises and showcases the efforts of local organisations and individuals who invested in the development of technological solutions, as an integral part of their day-to-day business.

Year after year, these awards have gained prestige and respect, becoming an important yearly milestone for the ICT industry. We have come a long way. On our part, we have made every effort to raise the level of the event, while market players have mirrored this effort in the quality of their submissions.

We aim to reward innovative solutions that stand out of the crowd, and which reflect changing times and demands. In fact, the categories are revised year-on-year to ensure they remain relevant to current trends and adequately reflect the changing markets which are driven by technological innovation.

We are now preparing for the next edition and as we have done in the two preceding editions, we are extending the deadline of the nominations’ period. Nominations will now be received until November 30.

In these years, how has the role of web-based technologies changed the way businesses operate?

Strong competition in the marketplace demands greater efficiency on market players if these stand a chance of surviving. Cloud computing, mobile applications, ERP systems, social media marketing are just a few of the technological solutions that are shaping business operations today and driving greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness, while increasing business leads. The integration of web-based technologies has allowed micro and small businesses to effectively level the playing field with larger companies, helping them establish a competitive edge and an extensive market reach through relatively cheap and user-friendly business integrated systems.

These awards have gained prestige and respect

How does the local business community benefit from these awards?

These awards are both a prestigious recognition and an opportunity for all winners and finalists to showcase and gauge their achievements. They are a means to generate greater awareness of their products or services, or simply awareness on the outcomes of their business activity.

This in itself is very positive – the more people know about you and your offerings, the more chance of engagement with potential customers. Being recognised by a panel of experts and influencers in the sector gives additional weight to the offering. In fact, prior to the actual ceremony, all finalists are given accolades which they upload on their respective websites and social media platforms.

What changes will you be introducing for this year’s awards?

We felt that an event of this calibre demands its own online space so we developed a dedicated website: http://ebusinessawards.mca.org.mt/.

Besides serving the practical purpose of submitting an online nomination form, the website also acts a repository of the extensive repertoire of content from past editions. We have also introduced the concept of public voting for one of the categories – the Best Social Media Campaign category. The general public will be entrusted with 50 per cent of the votes in this category. The way this will be administered is fully explained on the website.

We’re also thrilled that our eBusiness Awards 2016 will be affiliated with the prestigious World Summit Awards, organised under the auspices of the United Nations.

Another innovation is that the category for the best academic dissertation with an eBusiness theme has been extended to all locally based academic institutions, licensed by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education.

You have also opened up one of the categories to public vote – what advantages will this carry?

The whole philosophy behind the eBusiness awards is the recognition of innovation in the ICT solutions adopted by local businesses. As the organisers, year-after-year, we too strive to inject an element of innovation into the awards. With regard to the actual advantages, even though the eBusiness Awards target a specific niche audience, by its very own nature, the Social Media Campaign category actually reaches out to a far wider audience. What better judges than the general social media users themselves to assess the success of such campaigns?

This will also contribute to further publicise and showcase the three finalists competing for this award. While the adjudicating committee will assess the technical aspects of the campaigns, public voting will carry 50 per cent of the total votes.

The eBusiness Awards are also affiliated with the World Summit Awards. What added value will this give the awards?

Established in 2003 in the framework of the UN World Summit on the Information Society, the World Summit Awards are a global hub for everyone who values the importance of local content to make today’s information society more inclusive. The World Summit Awards offer a platform for those who think outside the box.

Currently, more than 178 countries are actively involved, with a daily growing network of partners and participants. With this newly established affiliation, local industries will be able to join this dynamic network of innovative best practices.

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