‘‘The People’s Choice Award is one we’re keeping because it’s grown in popularity due to online voting from the community. The last time we did it more than 1000 people voted.
‘‘The process will be similar; anyone can nominate a business and online voting will take place during March.’’
The Business Awards were first held in 1998 and, during the next 18 years, more than 650 businesses and individuals were nominated and more than 150 had won an award.
Barooga-based councillor John Bruce said the positivity of the old format still needed to carry into next year.
‘‘The nights weren’t about winners, it was about promoting the great things that are happening in the Berrigan Shire and perhaps giving business an opportunity to promote themselves. I hope this new launch is taking us in that same direction,’’ he said.
‘‘Since we cancelled the event in 2016 we’ve done a fair bit of work, looking at how we can progress these awards by re-launching themes and sourced out to the community to get their feedback.
‘‘What we found out from the feedback is the business community still want the awards.
‘‘People were about promoting local business and highlighting achievements of local people and I think people would be amazed with the number of businesses we have operating in the shire.
‘‘Quite often there would be people saying they didn’t realise an award winner existed and that’s one important thing; we are selling our own businesses to our own people but that’s what these businesses are all about.
‘‘If there’s one thing I was always proud of it was how the business awards would bring our five Berrigan Shire communities together — four towns and the rural community.
‘‘We want to remember that fact; we can come together and communicate and socialise.’’
Tocumwal Chamber of Commerce president Sergio Redegalli said the night was about gathering business people together.
‘‘Getting together is important because we need more conversation and, after four years living here, I’m still meeting new business people across the shire.
‘‘This area is not just built up on farming; the businesses are also the heartbeat of local towns.’’