Research Reveals that 56 Countries Have an Active Business Excellence Award Program – Saad Ghafoor & Dr. Robin Mann

The Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER) recently updated its research on the number of active Business Excellence (BE) awards in the world. The previous research[1] found that at least 55 countries had a national BE award.

The new research revealed that 56 countries and 4 regions have active BE awards as of September 2020. In addition to these, 17 countries are running initiatives to encourage organisations on a BE journey. Therefore, in total 77 countries (and/or regions) are promoting BE.

A. Eligibility of an award to be considered as an active BE award

BE awards were considered as “active” if:

  1. They were based on a holistic BE framework and use similar assessment methods to internationally recognised frameworks such as the EFQM Excellence Model and the Baldrige Excellence Framework;
  2. The award was run/held in 2018 or 2019 or planned for 2020 or 2021.

Figure 1: The current EFQM Excellence Model[2]

Figure 2: The current Baldrige Excellence Framework[3]

Figure 3: The current Australian Business Excellence Award[4]

B. What has changed since our previous research? 

  1. It was found that 6 of the countries that were found to have active BE awards in the previous (May 2018) research (based on the criteria that their award was held between 2016 and 2018 or was planned for 2018 or 2019), were found to not have active BE awards in the new research (based on the new criteria). These countries (Cuba, Nepal, Netherlands, Slovenia, Ukraine, and Wales), however, were found to have active BE initiatives and hence were moved to the list of countries with BE initiatives.
  2. On the other hand, 7 countries (Bangladesh, Brunei, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, and Pakistan) that were found to not have active BE awards in the previous research were found to have active BE awards in the new research.
  3. A total of 77 countries (and/or regions) have a BE award or initiative, this number was 73 in the previous research.

A complete list[5] of countries and BE custodians with active BE awards and initiatives and the BE models they use has been prepared by the authors and is available on the Business Performance Improvement Resource ( website.

The list below shows the countries that have active BE awards or initiatives.

Number of Countries with Active BE Awards
1 Argentina 29 Japan
2 Australia 30 Jordan
3 Austria 31 Korea
4 Bangladesh 32 Latvia
5 Belarus 33 Luxembourg
6 Bolivia 34 Malaysia – Sarawak
7 Brazil 35 Mexico
8 Brunei 36 Morocco
9 Canada 37 Pakistan
10 China – Hong Kong 38 Peru
11 Colombia 39 Philippines
12 Costa Rica 40 Poland
13 Czech Republic 41 Portugal
14 Denmark 42 Saudi Arabia
15 Ecuador 43 Scotland
16 Egypt 44 Singapore
17 El Salvador 45 Spain
18 Fiji 46 Sri Lanka
19 Finland 47 Sweden
20 France 48 Switzerland
21 Germany 49 Taiwan
22 Greece 50 Thailand
23 India 51 Turkey
24 Indonesia 52 United Arab Emirates
25 Iran 53 United Kingdom
26 Ireland 54 United States of America
27 Israel 55 Uruguay
28 Italy 56 Vietnam


Regional BE Awards
1 Africa (Africa Excellence Award) 3 EFQM Excellence Award
2 Asia Pacific Quality Organisation 4 Iberoamerican Excellence Award (FUNDIBEC)


Number of Countries with BE Initiatives Only
1 Bahrain 10 Nepal
2 Belgium 11 Netherlands
3 Chile 12 New Zealand
4 Cuba 13 Norway
5 Estonia 14 Serbia
6 Kazakhstan 15 Slovenia
7 Malta 16 Ukraine
8 Mauritius 17 Wales
9 Mongolia

C. Popularity of BE Models and Frameworks

The following graph shows that the EFQM Excellence Model is the most popular with 23 BE awards using it. Another five BE awards use unique BE models that resemble the EFQM Excellence Model. The Baldrige Excellence Framework is used by 10 BE awards with another 11 using BE frameworks that resemble the Baldrige Excellence Framework. Fourteen BE awards use a unique BE model/ framework. Two BECs (Sheikh Khalifa Government Excellence Program of the UAE and Egypt) use the Government Excellence Model (GEM) and two (Dubai Government Excellence Programme and Abu Dhabi Award for Government Excellence) use unique models resembling the GEM.

D. Global study on BE

The research on BE awards is part of a larger research study titled Excellence Without Borders (EWB)[6] which was launched by COER in July 2018 and supported by the Global Excellence Model Council. This research is investigating the current state of and best practices in designing BE frameworks/ models and promoting, facilitating, awarding, supporting, and measuring BE on a national/ regional and sectoral level. Twenty-nine (29) BE custodians from 26 countries are participating in the study.

A public release version of initial findings was provided in September 2019[7]. Further findings are being made available through a series of academic research papers.

E. Conclusion

It was found that 73 countries (37.4%) in the world and 4 international awards are promoting BE in the year 2020 compared to 73 countries and regions in the year 2018. However, the number of active awards has increased from 55 countries to 56 countries. The main challenge going forward is to make BE award programmes supporting BE more sustainable. Continuity in these programmes is central to increase BE awareness and adoption. The relevance of BE has become even more apparent to assist in the global recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic; organisations need to be resilient and agile which are two key components of BE.