12 August 2021

Southland Resiliency Leads to Record Entries for Business Awards

A record number of entries in this year’s Southland Business Excellence Awards has shown businesses have not only survived the pandemic, but found ways to thrive.

The Southland Chamber of Commerce has received a record 141 entries for 11 categories for this year’s awards, a 29 per cent increase on the 109 entries last year.

Chamber chief executive Sheree Carey said the amount of applications showed businesses were resilient, and that confidence within the sector was high.

“That’s not just businesses that are surviving, they’re excelling.”

Feedback from judges had indicated that the quality of applications were also higher than ever, she said.

“That is really good for us, and really good for Southland because it shows that even in a Covid-19 environment, our businesses in all those different categories and sectors have bounced back really well.”

There were a record 20 applicants in the innovators’ category, which Carey believed was the result of businesses adapting to Covid-19 uncertainty.

“A lot of people had to pivot in their businesses and think about new innovation during the pandemic, whether that was pivoting the business online, upgrading something, whatever it looked like.”

The new and emerging category for businesses under two years old had received nine applications, which was commendable given for 18 months of those two years these businesses had been dealing with a pandemic, Carey said.

She thought the way businesses had supported each other had been a contributing factor to the record entries, and that was unique compared to other business chambers across the country.

“I think we’re uniquely Southland, and we put our hand out to help.”

Finalists will be announced on August 25, with awards scheduled to be held on October 15.

Published by Stuff.co.nz – 11 August 2021

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