Manchester Digital celebrates its 10th anniversary and 60 years of the Baby computer with a special honour to Tony Wilson and a global award

The late legendary Tony Wilson will be honoured when the Big Chip Awards for North West companies excelling in the use of IT and digital technology celebrates ten years with two new categories in gaming and global innovation.

The 10th anniversary awards will recognise the success of Manchester’s Tony Wilson, the Salford-born founder of Factory Records and the Hacienda and the award’s much loved regular compère.

His long-term partner, Yvette Livesey, is the special guest judge of a dedicated ‘Anthony Wilson Original Modern Award.’ The Anthony Wilson prize will be awarded to the entrant whose project from any category that Yvette considers original and modern.

Two brand new categories have also been added to the long list of awards making the Big Chip 10 bigger and better, with categories reflecting the changing digital landscape. The new awards are Game of the North and the Big Chip International Award for Innovation, which will see, for the first time, the Big Chip judge digital projects outside the North West.

This 10th anniversary awards hold particular significance, recognising the growth of the IT industry in the North West ever since it produced the world’s first stored programme computer or ‘Baby’ as it was known, 60 years ago this year.

Entries are open to digital sector companies and all businesses, creative agencies and organisations which have undertaken digital initiatives in the past year – everything from a company website to digital marketing.

In recognition of some of the country’s finest gaming developers established in the North, the Game of the North award is open to stand-alone electronic games working on any platform that demonstrate innovation, outstanding design or “playability.” This category is open to entrants from anywhere in the three regions of the North.

The Big Chip International Award for Innovation is open to any project from anywhere in the world, with digital industry people in the North West invited to nominate a project executed by a third party that demonstrates exceptional innovation in digital media or digital technology. The project should show how it has used the opportunities offered by digital media and technology to create something new or original or to achieve objectives, which would not otherwise have been realised.

The Big Green Chip Award is another first-year award to recognise outstanding use of digital technology that has directly or indirectly helped improve or preserve the environment, or that has achieved its goals in a sustainable way.

Entries are submitted online at www.bigchipawards.com. The first two entries are free. Subsequent entries cost £75. The closing date for entries is 3rd March 2008. The Big Chip Awards will be announced at a glittering awards dinner on Thursday 22nd May 2008 at New Century Hall in Manchester.

This year’s judges will be made up of a panel of figures from the sector chaired by Michael Nutley, editor of weekly industry ‘bible,’ New Media Age.

Organised by Manchester Digital, the trade association for the region’s digital sector, and supported by the Manchester Digital Development Agency, the awards are open to any organisation based in the North West that has designed or commissioned any digital projects in the past year. This can include website, DVD, animation, wireless or SMS projects.

Last year’s winners spanned a wide variety of sectors and included Pavilion Communications, Stardotstar, designer fashion boutique Gorgeous Couture, and animation specialists The Neighbourhood which took the coveted Grand Prix award.

Chair of Manchester Digital, Shaun Fensom, said: “The Big Chip Awards has highlighted the excellent and innovative work of the North West IT and digital sector for a decade. Now to celebrate the tenth Big Chip we are launching an international award for innovation open to projects from across the globe And in recognition of the excellent games design work across the whole of the North we are launching the new Game of the North award.

“This is a landmark year for the digital industry, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the world’s first computer in Manchester. This year’s Big Chip categories reflect how far the digital industry has come and the wealth of expertise that we have in the region. The introduction of a special Green Chip award for those whose applications or projects have helped the environment in some way, also points to the future, where digital technology is increasingly playing a part in helping to reduce our impact on the environment. We are thrilled that Yvette Livesey will be our special guest judge for the Anthony Wilson award. Anthony was a great believer in the importance of the digital industries for the North West and this award in his honour will recognise his special contribution to the sector.”

The Award categories are:
 Best E-business Project
 Best Public Sector Project
 Best Not for Profit Project
 Best Digital Marketing and Brand Development
 Best E-Learning Project
 Best Use of Visual Design
 Best Application of Technology
 Best Use of Animation
 Best Use of Search
 Big Green Chip Award
 Best Freelancer/Micro Enterprise
 Big Chip New Media Agency Award (selected from shortlists for other awards)
 Grand Prix (the best overall entry)
 Game of the North
 Anthony Wilson Original Modern Award

Sub Regional Categories
 Best from Cumbria
 Best from Greater Manchester
 Best from Merseyside
 Best from Lancashire
 Best from Cheshire & Warrington

Categories of distinction
 Big Chip International Award for Innovation

All entries are to be submitted online at www.bigchipawards.com by 3rd March 2008. For more information about the awards visit www.bigchipawards.com.

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For further media information and images please contact Lorna Skingley or Sarah Park at Spinoza Kennedy Vesey PR on Tel: (0161) 838 7770 or email name.here@skvpr.co.uk

Note to Editors:

To order tickets for the awards dinner please contact Dara O’Hanlon at Out There Events on Tel: (0161) 214 5200 or email dara@outthereevents.com

Big Chip Awards Entry Criteria

The Big Chip awards are primarily for the North West. Projects, products or services entered for an award should have originated in the North West or most of the relevant work should have been carried out in the North West. Similarly entrants for an award given to an organisation or individual should have a significant presence in the North West.

The new Game of the North Category is open to entries where the development has mostly been carried out in the North East, North West or Yorkshire and the Humber.

The Big Chip International Award for Innovation is open to any digital project from anywhere in the world, and nominations of work done by other people are invited from anyone in the North West.

The judges may rule that an entry does not satisfy the spirit of these criteria, in which case their decision is final.

Last Years Winners:

Best Commercial Website
Winner: Gorgeous Couture Ltd – Gorgeous Couture Website
Best e-commerce Project B2B
Winner: Into Technology - IT247.com
Best Digital Marketing Campaign
Winner: Pavillion Communications – LifeWorks
Best Use Of Visual Design
Winner: Lightmaker Manchester – Liberty
Commended: Smiling Wolf – www.themaccabees.co.uk
Best Search Targeting
Fast Web Media – Fantasy Premier League
Best e-commerce Project B2C
Winner: Fluid Creativity – www.fishfanatics.co.uk
Best Digital Brand Development
Winner: Amaze - Le Rendez-Vous Toyota Interactive Brand PODS
Best Use of Homeworking
Winner: YuuGuu Ltd – Yuuguu
Best Animation
Winner: The Neighbourhood – Love Your Neighbourhood
Best Not For Profit Project
Winner: MDM Archive – MDMArchive Online
Best Freelancer/ Micro Enterprise
Winner: Radium Audio Ltd
Best e-Learning Project
Winner: Startdotstar - Safe & Sound
Best Public Sector Project
Winner: New Mind – South West Region E-Tourism Project
Best Collaboration
Winner: Pavilion - Open Communications
Best Rising Star
Winner: Push ON - James Clouting
Big Chip Innovation Award
Winner: 3Bview Ltd – 3Bclean
Commended: Yuuguu – Yuuguu
MANCAT Most Promising Student Award
Winner: Cormac Fulton
Big Chip New Media Agency Award
Winner: Code Computerlove
Manchester Digital Original Modern Award
Winner: The Neighbourhood – Love Your Neighbourhood (tbc)

Regional Awards

Best of Lancashire
Winner: iknow-uk - iknow-uk
Best of Merseyside
Winner: New Mind - South West Region E-Tourism Project
Best of Cheshire & Warrington
Winner: IT247.com - IT247.com and IntoScape
Best of Greater Manchester
Winner: The Neighbourhood - Love Your Neighbourhood
Best of Cumbria
Hydrant Ltd - Richard Woodall Website

Grand Prix
The Neighbourhood – Love Your Neighbourhood

About Manchester Digital
Manchester Digital is the independent trade association for the thriving ICT and new media industries in the North West of England.

Its vision is simple: that the way to make Manchester and the North West an even better place for digital businesses is by working together.

A lively events programme offers members opportunities to learn and do business - from the flagship Big Chip Awards - celebrating the best from the region - through regular top quality seminars and evening events, to small self-help groups and networks offering practical help and advice.
Manchester Digital is a non-profit association, independent of the public sector, but well connected with policy makers and committees, where it promotes the sector's interests.

Published on: 12:00AM on 13th February 2008