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Best Commercial Initiative

The demands for commercial offers on tertiary campuses have been significantly impacted over the past few years.

Members have had to adapt, evolve, and challenge the norms of their commercial operations to accommodate an ever-changing environment and to ensure their operations survive.

An excellent Commercial Initiative will showcase adaptability and outcomes that significantly support positive commercial results. It will incorporate support for its student and campus communities, help maintain relevance, strengthen awareness of its commercial brand, support the changes in consumer needs and identify creative product innovation.

This category awards excellence in Commercial Initiatives and is an opportunity for members to showcase successful developments within the commercial space during 2022/23.

Examples can include but are not limited to; merchandise promotions, membership campaigns, special deals,  graduation services, student care packages, childcare services, accommodation, and residential services, etc.

The Jury will be looking for entries that demonstrate excellence in the following:

  • Astute recognition of the need for the initiative
  • Good adaptability to the changing market 
  • Tangible and measurable goals and objectives 
  • Evidence of strong strategic planning 
  • Creative techniques and strategies used to deliver your desired outcomes 
  • Effective use of resources (teams, funds, assets) 
  • Inclusivity, diversity, and environmental considerations 
  • The quality of the Initiative 
  • Campus community or customer engagement and experience factors 
  • Evidence of success and positive impacts with measurable results 
  • Innovation, leadership, and recognition* (applies to ‘Best of the Year’ submissions only).
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Award Submission Criteria

Submissions need to address each of the following criteria:

    • Name of organisation
    • Organisation logo
    • Name and contact details of the person completing the submission
    • Full-Time Student Load (Total Student Enrolments)
    • Name of initiative

This category of the SEN Awards has two levels of recognition – ‘Award of Distinction’ and ‘Best of the Year’.

For your submission to be considered for an ‘Award of Distinction’ you will be required to complete the first 3 sets of criteria PLUS provide supporting evidence.

For your submission to be considered for the ‘Best of the Year’ Award you will be required to complete all of the ‘Award of Distinction’ requirements, PLUS the additional Innovation and Leadership criteria.

Tell us the WHY of your initiative.

    • What was the reason for the initiative?
    • What were you aiming for and why?
    • What were the goals and objectives you were hoping to achieve?

Tell us the HOW of your campaign.

  • What key strategies were identified and used to deliver on the goals and objectives of your initiative?
  • What creative techniques, and effective use of resources were applied?
  • Was there student input and if so in what capacity? Did you engage with any external partnerships and if so, what was their input?
  • What communication and marketing strategies did you use to reach your target market and promote your initiative?
  • How did you ensure your initiative was inclusive, accessible, and responsible? You can reference details such as: equitable access to the initiative, responsible Supply Chain factors – promotion and/or use of social/fair-trade/local suppliers, use of environmental and sustainable materials/products, waste reduction factors, environmental packaging used, etc.


    • What was the outcome of your initiative?
    • Which of your goals and objectives did you achieve?
    • How have you determined the success of the initiative? What was the overall impact of your initiative, including stakeholder engagement and experience?
    • What were the tangible positive impacts on your organisation and students?
    • Financial overview

This section may be used to support your submission by providing evidence of your claims, it is not a substitute or an additional opportunity for answering the criteria in your submission.

The quality of your supporting documents will be measured against the rubric.

Relevant examples will include documentation that adds value and validation to your submission which could include links to:

  • Before and after comparative data (quantitative & qualitative)
  • P&L or other financial support documents
  • Hero photos that capture the success of the initiative
  • Initiative website page or feature
  • Initiative social media campaigns
  • Initiative video files
  • Initiative PR or media
  • Storyboards
  • Feedback forms
  • Written articles
  • Evidence of Innovation, Leadership, and formal recognition* (applies to ‘Best of the Year’ submissions only).

You can collate supporting documents into a word doc to minimise the number of your uploads.

To progress your submission for consideration at the ‘Best of the Year’ level, you will be required to complete the following criteria. 

  • How was your initiative innovative?
  • What stands out about this initiative from other commercial initiatives you offer or have offered?
  • What did you incorporate in your initiative that has not been offered, seen or done before?
  • How was it coordinated or promoted in a completely innovative and different manner from anything offered before?
  • How does this initiative provide meaningful and significant leadership outcomes for your organisation, your campus community, and within the sector?
  • How has this initiative gone over and above in addressing and delivering on an identified need within your organisation?
  • How is it positively influencing other organisations in the sector?
  • How is the initiative replicable and are you offering support to develop it at other organisations?
  • Have you received official recognition for your initiative within your own organisation, within the sector, or broader industry fields?

Each category has a rubric that will be used as a scoring guide by the Awards Jury Panel against criteria responses in your submission.

Please note:

  • Criteria Responses that are a direct copy and paste from previous criteria fields in the same category submission will be marked as Basic.
  • Submissions that do not provide supporting evidence of the stated claims will be marked as Basic.
  • In the event of multiple applications achieving equal scores, the award decision is at the discretion of the Awards Jury Panel.
  • In order to be eligible to win ‘Best of the Year’, your application will need to achieve a score of at least 13 out of 15.
  • Applications submitting for ‘Best of the Year’ that do not meet the higher score ranking required to win can also be considered for an ‘Award of Distinction’ at the judge’s discretion.

Category-specific rubrics will be available to download on the submission page of each category. 

Click HERE to see an example.