26 August 2021
Southland Businesses Celebrate Excellence Through Pandemic
Innovation, passion and resilience shown through the Covid-19 pandemic has been highlighted by the finalists for this year’s Southland Business Excellence awards.
Southland Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Sheree Carey said the quality of the finalists, announced on Wednesday, demonstrated the future of the business community was bright.
“If this is the kind of business excellence we can celebrate during a pandemic, imagine what we can do on the other side of this,” she said.
“I’m proud of the fact we’ve got so many applications through in such a rough time. The level of applicants we had this time round were the highest we’ve ever seen.”
Judges had taken four weeks to decide on the finalists from 141 applications in 11 categories, “and were truly inspired by the innovative and passionate stories from throughout the region, and the resilience shown in the past 18 months during the pandemic”, Carey said.
This year a new category had been included, a “One to Watch” award supported by Meridian Energy.
“It’s either someone who’s started their own company or is adding to an existing company,” Carey said.
“So the likes of Gareth Dykes [chief executive officer of Fi Innovations], who took over his dad’s company years ago and has taken it from laying dairy flooring to having these machines doing incredible stuff. The innovation is incredible.”
Other “Ones to Watch” contenders include Benji Biswas, from Crunchy, Fiona Walker, from WM Environmental, Jim Dowling, from Digital Stock, and Rob and Toni Auld from Auld Farm Distillery.
It was the diversity within the finalists that was most exciting for Carey, she said.
“We were able to have Miharo Murihiku supporting the Pasifika community [in the Not For Profit category], so it’s really nice to have that diversity alongside some meat companies like Alliance [In the Primary & Primary services and Workplace Wellbeing Categories], some cafés, some accountants, and a headache clinic,” she said.
“And then you’ve got the likes of Tangaroa Walker [in the Business Personality Award category] who’s doing great things for mental health and wellbeing in the rural community.”
On top of the diversity, there were 10 businesses listed as finalists in the awards for the first time this year, Carey said.
These first-timers ranged from new businesses like Invercargill-based micro green producer and supplier Crunchy to “tried and true” Southland businesses like Morrifield Greenhouses.
“They’ve been around 40 years, and they haven’t had to change their products … because what they came up with 40 years ago works really well,” she said.
“They’ve just gone gangbusters since Covid-19 because everyone’s growing vegetables, which is really cool. It’s a good news Covid-19 story.”
Other businesses listed for the first time include Black Shag, Fat Bastard Pies, The Batch, Transport World, Miharo Murihiku, Jubilee Budget Advisory Services, South Invercargill Urban Rejuvenation, and Kiwi Skips.
Winners will be announced at the Southland Business Excellence Awards Gala Dinner at Transport World, Invercargill on October 15, 2021.
The 2021 Southland Business Excellence Awards finalists are:
Findex (NZ) Ltd Primary & Primary Services Sector Award
Alliance Group, Prime Range Meats, WM Environmental
Invercargill City Council Construction, Trade, Manufacturing & Distribution Award
FI Innovations, Kiwi Skips, Morrifield Greenhouses, PowerNet
Powernet New and Emerging Award
Auld Farm Distillery, Crunchy, MSK Ultrasound
The Southland Times Consumer Award
Black Shag Boutique Café, Fat Bastard Pies, Prime Range Meats, The Batch, Transport World
Invercargill Licensing Trust Not for Profit Award
Jubilee Budget Advisory Services, Koha Kai, Miharo Murihiku, South Invercargill Urban Rejuvenation
Progress People Professional Services Award
BDO Invercargill, Digital Stock, Malloch McClean, Mrs Tradie, The Headache Clinic, WM Environmental
Market South Innovation Award
Crunchy, Digital Stock, Fi Innovations, Kiwi Skips
Blue River Dairy LP Workplace Wellbeing Award
Alliance Group, Aquila Sustainable Farming, PowerNet
ACC Workplace Injury Prevention Award
Altitude Resurfacing, Aquila Sustainable Farming, Prime Range Meats
Southern Institute of Technology Business Personality Award
Janice Lee (Koha Kai), Jocelyn O’Donnell (HW Richardson Group/Transport World), Tangaroa Walker (Farm 4 Life)
Meridian Energy One to Watch Award
Benji Biswas (Crunchy), Fiona Walker (WM Environmental), Gareth Dykes (Fi Innovations), Jim Dowling (Digital Stock), Rob & Toni Auld (Auld Farm Distillery)
Published by Stuff.co.nz – 26 August 2021