The Tauranga Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards celebration will be returning this year – with a twist and a few changes reflecting the impact of Covid-19. The chamber sees the Westpac Tauranga Business Awards as an opportunity to acknowledge, support and celebrate businesses that have performed well across all facets, including financial, sustainability, customer service and staff.
Given the impacts of Covid-19 on both the events sector and the business community generally, an event of this kind is needed now, more than ever, said event organiser Anne Pankhurst.
“It’s not about winning,” she said. “It’s about bringing the business community together, to acknowledge those who have done it tough, those who have been resilient and pushed through, and to celebrate in the company of their peers.
“Since lockdown, we have been advocating for a Love Local approach that highlights the skills, experience and expertise within our business community, and the Awards are an extension of this ethos.”
With a lockdown on large-scale events until just a few months ago, the Westpac Tauranga Business Awards has not been immune to the effects of the pandemic and a number of changes are being made – both to the process and the event itself.
The traditional “mix-and-mingle” launch night went virtual, with a video launch held recently via the Chamber’s Facebook page.
There is also a new category for 2020: The Productivity People and Ballance Agri-Nutrients Continuous Improvement-Lean Category. This category recognises those businesses that have adapted, and sought to streamline and improve their products, processes or services over the past year.
“We know that businesses have moved very rapidly, through digital transformation and innovation, to change their business model,” said Pankhurst.
“We will be taking a strong focus on these elements through the judging process, looking at businesses that have adapted and that demonstrate creative, entrepreneurial or innovative processes, products or services, or a business model that has enhanced their success.”
The process of the Awards is largely unchanged, with each entrant requiring a self-audit and a rigorous judging process undertaken by an independent facilitator. This includes a visit to the entrant’s business, interviews with owner and staff, and a “pitch weekend”.
While thorough, Anne says this – not the trophies – is the part of the Awards where businesses find the most value.
“So often businesses are too busy ‘doing the doing’ that they don’t have the time to stop and evaluate. This process gives them that opportunity, and to have their businesses reviewed and scrutinised by a professional business expert who can then give them feedback to improve and adapt.”
Then once the hard work is done, the Awards night is a way to take the team out for a celebration of all you have achieved.”
This year, the Awards event is undergoing a few changes. To reflect the Love Local format and focus, the Awards dinner is now a degustation cocktail event. And it will be held at Trinity Wharf Hotel on Friday, 13 November, showcasing a range of food and beverages from New Zealand companies.
“We’re calling it Shine Like A Diamond – so you still get to frock up, but the format is a little more relaxed to allow for great conversation and celebration,” she said.
“Covid-19 has thrown us many curve balls, but we think it is a great opportunity to try something different and most importantly give a big shout out to all local businesses who work tirelessly.”
Nominations and entries are open from Monday, July 20 to Friday, September 25. Visit www.businessawards.org.nz for full details and supporting documents.