Hot on the heels of the claims by the Design Council that shares in award-winning companies are more likely to perform better, comes further research suggesting that winning an awards can boost business performance. Business Europe has reported that nearly two thirds of businesses told the Queen's Awards for Enterprise that winning a prize is a valuable commercial tool that helps them move into new markets. Over half of respondents said that winning awards drive up their sales, and 68% believed it serves to endorse the quality of their product or service. A further seven out of 10 felt a victory in awards schemes helps boost staff motivation. It was found that small firms attached the greatest value to business awards, with young companies in particular holding a very positive view of award schemes. One successful award cited in the report is the Startups Awards scheme, which is sponsored by Startups.co.uk and NatWest and endorsed by the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI). The scheme is open to firms that have been trading for less than three years and employ fewer than 60 people. The awards offer entrepreneurs 13 categories in which to have their successful business plan recognised. Category winners will go on to compete for the Startups Awards 2005 Business of the Year and collect the top prize of up to £5,000. Deadline for entries to the 2005 Startup Awards is August 1st.