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The INCA Golds Awards 2021


>strong>Nominations for the 2021 Awards Programme are now closed. Many thanks for all of the excellent nominations that we have received. Our judges are now hard at work scrutinising all of the submissions and reaching their decisions. Watch out for news.

The "INCA Golds" Awards are back! Following a pandemic-induced hiatus last year we are extremely pleased to announce that our awards programme is back for 2021, and we are open for nominations.

We've changed things a little for this year's awards, in keeping with the times, introducing three new Awards that we hope will help to throw a spotlight on some of the fantastic work that has been going on in our industry. The three new awards – in no particular order:

  • The Scaling Up Award, which aims to recognise outstanding achievement by an organisation in tackling the challenges and making the most of the opportunities that scaling up offers. Scaling up is a big theme for us in 2021, and our programme this year has in plarge part been designed to support our members as they step up to address the ambitious targets that have been set. We've seen a lot of growth and new investment coming into our sector over the last twelve months, and long may it continue. The race is on, and it brings with it a whole raft of complex challenges. Rapidly scaling any organisation is not simply a matter of throwing money at the problem. The companies that can scale most effectively and efficiently will be able to go further faster and be in a stronger position in the future. Which organisation has really stood out for you over the last year or so? Where the shining lights? What lessons can we leanr about how to scale well?
  • The Low Carbon Award is launched this year as part INCA's strategy for supporting our sector to move quickly to Net Zero. The challenge of the climate emergency is huge, and something that affects all of us. We firmly believe that through collaborative action we can accelerate our progress on carbon reduction, and this award aims to identify and recognise those organisations in our sector that are leading the way, developing good practice, creating a roadmap that we can follow.
  • The Covid Hero Award speaks for itself. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented major challenges for all of us both personally and professionally over the last year or more. This award is designed to enable us to reflect on the events of the last year or so, recognise the impact that the pandemic has had, and celebrate the resilience and achievements of the organisations and people around us. Our industry has largely kept working throughout, indeed the services that are enabled by the infrastructure and connectivity that INCA members deliver has proved to be critically important for many people and businesses through the lockdown, and This award is open to both individual and organisational nominees. Who has really stood out for you? Who has gone above and beyond the call of duty?

Alongside these three new awards we are also looking to make awards in the following categories.

  • Technical Innovation: Designed in part to enable hardware and software providers in membership of INCA to engage with the awards programme, often in partnership with  our operator members and others, this award focusses on the key role that innovations play in our industry. As the pace of construction of new networks accelerates and the size of networks under manangement scales up, innovations can be game-changing in terms of streamlining all aspects of the design, build and operation of those networks. What are the innovations that have proved crucial for your organisation? Who has been delivering the ground-breaking work?
  • Best Rural/Hard-to-reach initiative: Many INCA members specialise in working in more rural and/or hard to reach locations, and this award focusses on the innovation, collaboration and sheer hard work that drives success in these contexts. Who has been delivering outstanding projects in this space? Who deserves recognition for their excellent work?
  • Best Public Sector Project: INCA has always been of the view that local authorities and other public bodies play a crucial role in the delivery of world class connectivity for their communities. Often working in collaboration with communities and private sector partners, balancing needs and priorities in order to deliver successful outcomes requires skill and judgement. This award recognises that expertise and celebrates outstanding achievement in a public sector project.
  • Best Community Project: Designed to highlight often smaller community-led connectivity projects that might otherwise go under the radar and not get the recognition they deserve for their often innovative approaches in commonly challenging circumstances. Where are communities doing it for themselves? what are the projects that deserve to be in the spotlight?
  • Outstanding Contribution (individual and/or organisation): The Outstanding Contribution Award is an opportunity to recognise the particular achievements of an individual or an organisation in our industry. The players that have gone above and beyond in order to make truly distinctive things happen. In the case of individuals, their achievement may be over a longer timeframe – perhaps even their whole career, whilst in the case of organisational nominees, the judges will be looking at achievements in the last year or so. Subject to the submissions we receive, the judges may choose to make two awards in this category, i.e. one for an individual, and one for an organisation.

How to Submit an Entry

Nominations for the 2021 Awards programme are now closed.

To submit a nomination for an award you should first understand what the judges are looking for, as described above. Then make sure that you are clear on the rules of the programme, and lastly take a little time to craft your entry. You need to be succinct and effective with your submission in order to catch the attention of our judges. We are particularly keen to see some short videos (2 or 3 minutes is ideal) as part of submissions, although we won't mark down any submission for not including one. When you're ready you can make your nomination/s (yes you are welcome to make more than one) using our simple form.


The 2019 INCA Awards ceremony

The Panel of Judges for 2021

We have brought together a fine panel of judges for this year's Awards Programme. Collectively they bring a huge amount of expertise, insight and hard-won experience to the task of assessing the nominations and selecting worthy winners.

Melissa Cogavin

Melissa has been a driving force behind the rise of Event Cinema; her expansive strategic vision and superb commercial acumen she has used to simultaneously grow an organisation and change an industry.

Melissa spent 20 years in the UK film industry; 7 years at Disney and 3 years as Director of Film Operations for Paramount Pictures. She set up her own consultancy in 2009 and was retained by Royal Opera House to develop their own distribution department. Over time, seeing the position, branding and infrastructure required to help the industry to grow, she invented the name ‘Event Cinema’ to help audiences recognise the art form and set up the Event Cinema Association in 2012. She appointed a board of 10 key figures in the industry and with a global membership including Odeon, the British Museum and the BBC went on to organise conferences, trade shows, awards and networking events, as well as commenting in the trade press about the growth of the market.

Melissa’s achievements have been recognised with the Outstanding Contribution to Event Cinema Award at the 2015 ECA Awards, and she was also ranked 33rd in the Celluloid Junkie Top Women in Cinema in 2017. In 2020 she took a new direction as Managing Editor of Broadband Journal for the SCTE, Society for Broadband Professionals, based in London, publishing four journals a year and managing all the marketing and communications for the Society.

Catherine Colloms

Catherine joined Openreach in 2016. She is responsible for Openreach’s corporate communications and reputation strategy, including media and digital, public affairs, brand and corporate responsibility.
Before Openreach, Catherine was corporate affairs director at Paddy Power from 2013–2016, and helped found the Senet Group, the first industry self-regulatory body. She was previously a director at Brunswick Group and in 2011 spent six months working on the BP Deepwater Horizon crisis.
Catherine started her career at the Foreign Office where she worked on a range of crisis situations, including the Government’s humanitarian response to 9/11. She also led the development of the UK’s policy on Kosovo and was personal political adviser to Lord Ashdown, the high representative for Bosnia, in Sarajevo.
Catherine is Chair of Vision for a Nation, a charity dedicated to providing universal access to primary eyecare, and a trustee of The Wiener Holocaust Library.

Barry Forde

In a range of posts at Lancaster University spent 30 years deploying campus, regional and national networks across the UK, with a particular interest in the more rural areas. Retired from his role as Deputy Director-ISS in 2009 and founded Broadband for the Rural North Ltd (B4RN), a not for profit community benefit society which is deploying a full fibre FTTH network across North Lancashire, South Cumbria and parts of North Yorkshire. This is now delivering 1GbE and 10Gbs symmetric broadband to over 9,500 properties in the deeply rural last few percent of the country. Awarded an MBE for services to rural broadband in 2015. Retired as B4RN Chief Executive at the end of 2020. Holds a Professorial Fellowship in the Department of Computing, Lancaster University and is a Fellow of the RSA.

Liz Harrison

Elizabeth Harrison is the Strategic Programme Manager for Kent County Council’s broadband programme and has over 15 years of experience in working across the regeneration, digital and infrastructure agendas. Elizabeth is responsible for leading the Council’s broadband upgrade work, which has already delivered better broadband connectivity to over 140,000 homes and businesses through a variety of different approaches – including projects that have worked collaboratively with communities on locally driven solutions.

Oliver Johnson

Chief Executive of UK based analyst house Point Topic Oliver has been involved in online environments for more than 30 years. He joined Point Topic as the COO in 2004 and moved to CEO in 2007.
Starting with internet projects in the mid-80s running bulletin boards, through building some of the first commercial websites in the UK in the early 90s and then to monitoring and analysing B2C and B2B market demand and supply he has built up a significant breadth of experience. Over the last 20 years he has researched, analysed and reported on global broadband markets and players down to zip code consumer modelling. Familiar with the range of influences that drive broadband, from political to legal to technical to socio-demographic effects he originates the bulk of Point Topic’s modelling and data analysis.
Originally a mathematical economist Oliver subsequently moved on from the City (working in strategic management consultancies) and progressed through a number of media rich environments including broadcast TV, online and offline advertising and digital marketing for some of the largest global brands and agencies before arriving at Point Topic.
Oliver oversees the analyst and development work on Point Topic’s geographic products in particular and continues to work on broadband scoping projects for the local and national governments, the European Commission and a range of industry clients.

Sarah Kelly

Sara Kelly is the Digital Connectivity Lead at the Greater London Authority. She joined the GLA in 2013 and oversaw the development of the Mayor’s Connectivity Rating and the Connected London work programme. She now leads on policy and strategy to improve and promote London's digital connectivity, preparing the capital for FTTP and 5G. Most recently she has been the mission lead for the Mayor of London and London Council’s Digital Access for All mission, as part of London’s COVID-19 recovery programme.
Her previous projects include drafting London Plan 2021 policy to secure full fibre and mobile connectivity for all new developments, working with site providers and operators to develop the Standardised Template Mobile Access agreement, securing multi-million grant funding for connectivity upgrades of public sector sites across London, and fostering private sector investment into digital infrastructure while securing social value, to name a few.
Prior to joining the GLA Sara worked with technology start-ups as the Executive Director at the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec). She has a degree in British Politics and Legislative Studies and lives in London.