16 May 2023

Big effort being made for this year’s business awards

Entries are now open and new categories have been added to this year’s Southland Business Excellence Awards as they continue to make a comeback after Covid-19 pandemic disruptions.

The 2021 awards had to be postponed five times due to Covid-19 and when finally held in 2022 the attendance numbers were down.

“Last year we were caught in the middle of Covid which really limited what we could do, so this year we are wanting to make it a big prestigious event for the business community,” Southland Business Chamber event manager Leanne Humphrey said.

“People are in a better place this year.”

Humphrey said this year they would be bigger than ever, with 550 people expected to attend and with businesses of all sizes and industries invited to participate.

She said the awards were designed to celebrate the achievements of local businesses and recognise their contribution to the growth and success of Southland.

“We’ve got three new categories – individual excellence in export, employer of the year and small business of the year.”

A total of 13 categories will be contested covering sector excellence and business practice, each with its own winners all of whom go into consideration for the supreme award. Fi Innovations took out the supreme award last year. In 2019 Blue Sky Meats took overall honours.

“It’s important to be celebrating the Southland business community and the awards are a chance for individual businesses to reflect on when they started and how they’re going,” Humphrey said.

“In Southland, we don’t like to blow our own trumpet, but this is a chance to acknowledge you are running a good business.”

Last year’s panel of judges are returning: Frank Gibbons (Air New Zealand), Lani Evans (One Foundation), Amy Allison (Department of Internal Affairs) and Shelley Bell (Wilson Bell Consulting).

“They all come from outside Southland, so there is no bias,” Humphrey said.

We get entries in the hundreds, it’s a big job for the judging panel to go through them all.”

The awards started 10 years ago and are held biannually.

Entries close on June 16, the finalists will be announced on July 31. A finalists’ celebration event is scheduled for August 31 with the black tie awards night set for September 15 at Transport World.

Source: Stuff.co.nz – 12 May 2023

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