27 April 2017

Southland business awards launched

The revamped Westpac Southland Business Excellence Awards were launched on Thursday night.

The awards are held bi-annually in Southland, with the first taking place in 2013.

At the launch, it was announced that several categories of awards had either been created or modified to better represent Southland businesses.

Previously, two of the awards categories had been based on the number of full time employees a business had (either above or below 15).

Southland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Sheree Carey said this time around, the categories would reflect the type of business rather than its size.

“The feedback we got from the judges last year was that it can be quite hard to judge between categories – for example a florist and accounting firm.

“We’ve made the move to sector categories instead, so we can compare apples with apples.

“A small business can be just as successful as a big business, it doesn’t really matter what size they are.”

The revamped categories will include awards for the primary and primary service sector, the construction, trades, manufacturing and distribution sector, the consumer service sector, and the professional service sector.

Another new category included this year was the Healthy Families Workplace Wellness Award.

Rather than focusing exclusively on business performance, Carey said the award was focused on staff welfare.

“It’s about holistic wellness, basically how you’re looking after your staff.”

Carey said she was hoping to see a good turnout from Southland businesses applying for the awards.

“We want to see a growth in the number of businesses coming forward.

“In Southland, businesses don’t tend to pat themselves on the back enough for the great work they do.

“There’s lots of amazing stuff that goes on which most people just don’t know about – we really want to see them get the recognition they deserve.”

Applications for the awards will be open from June 1 to July 28, with finalists being announced on August 23.

The awards gala dinner will take place on September 29.