The Digital Business of the Year award at the EDP Business Awards 2023 aims to acknowledge local firms that have embraced online business, using digital innovation to achieve growth.

Here Dane Hipkin, newly-appointed sales director at Upp, tells us what he wants to see from entrants.

Why were you keen to get involved in the Business Awards?

The Business Awards are an amazing showcase of the best talent across our county. It is brilliant to be able to appreciate and recognise the achievements of these businesses and individuals.

Eastern Daily Press: Dane Hipkin, sales director at Upp, is the judge for the Digital Business of the Year award at the EDP Business Awards 2023Dane Hipkin, sales director at Upp, is the judge for the Digital Business of the Year award at the EDP Business Awards 2023 (Image: Dane Hipkin)

What do you bring to the judging process?

My time in large corporate business has given me a breadth of experience in different areas, including marketing, commercial, finance, product/proposition development and people leadership. This broad experience allows me to have a good understanding of the challenges in business.

Have you ever been judged for an award yourself?

Yes, many a time. As UK retail director at Three, we entered the annual mobile industry awards for Best High Street Retailer. It was a great opportunity for us to be recognised for our efforts against our peers – albeit a little nerve-racking!

Will you use that experience when judging this award?

I understand the hard work and determination that goes into entering these awards, also the emotions during the judging stage! Being conscious of this and trying to get a real understanding will be my priority.

Do you have any anecdotes of moments that changed your business strategy?

During the pandemic, everyone had to think differently. At that time, I had to pivot from 3,000 people in retail, servicing our customers in stores, to a team of webchat and telesales agents.

Our head office teams turned around training and logistics, and the teams in retail didn’t hesitate with the new way of supporting customers.

During that period, you really learned what is possible in a short space of time when a team comes together.

What will you be looking for in the winner?

Businesses that prioritise their people and internal culture and that really demonstrate the importance of this. Within that culture, the customer should be at the heart of everything.

What advice would you give to a business that’s considering entering?

Be authentic and be a great storyteller. There is a high level of competition, so allowing the judges to truly understand why you should win is imperative.

Entries for the EDP Business Awards 2023 close on Sunday, July 16. To enter the Digital Business of the Year category, please visit

To find out more about all the categories, please click here.


Award criteria

This award is for businesses with the resilience required for the fastpaced nature of doing business online.

It will go to a firm that has delivered an outstanding online customer journey, showing responsiveness to customers’ needs, with the business results to match.

Judges will be looking for entrants that have used digital innovation and e commerce to achieve growth, exceptional customer experience and increased financial performance.