Otago Daily Times

Jour­neys to be cel­e­brated

- Business · Otago · Dunedin · New Zealand

TICK­ETS are now on sale for the 2020 West­pac Otago Busi­ness Awards, hosted by the Otago Cham­ber of Com­merce on Novem­ber 13.

The pre­mier recog­ni­tion of busi­ness ex­cel­lence in the re­gion, this year’s 12th edi­tion of the bi­en­nial event has a theme of cel­e­brat­ing the jour­neys of busi­nesses in Otago.

With the on­go­ing tri­als that busi­nesses are con­tend­ing with this year, it’s a fit­ting theme, even if it was de­cided upon be­fore the Covid19 pan­demic.

‘‘We’re find­ing that a lot of peo­ple are re­ally en­joy­ing the op­por­tu­nity to tell their story,’’ Otago Cham­ber of Com­merce chief ex­ec­u­tive Dou­gal Mc­Gowan says. ‘‘Not just their story about this year, but also pre­vi­ous years. The idea about jour­neys and what that means for busi­nesses is quite top­i­cal.’’

The West­pac Otago Busi­ness Awards have long pro­vided busi­nesses with a valu­able op­por­tu­nity to reflect on their in­di­vid­ual sto­ries. En­ter­ing the awards can be a com­mit­ment in time, but the rig­or­ous en­try and judg­ing process can pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for them to ex­am­ine their op­er­a­tions in de­tail.

Mc­Gowan ex­plains that this can lead to new chal­lenges be­ing taken on, and goals for the com­ing years set.

There are other ben­e­fits to be­ing part of the West­pac Otago Busi­ness Awards, in­clud­ing the chance to con­nect with other busi­nesses from the re­gion. And of course, it’s al­ways a great cel­e­bra­tion.

‘‘Be­ing in busi­ness is pretty tough at the mo­ment for many peo­ple,’’ Mc­Gowan says. ‘‘Although it’s only one or a cou­ple of nights out for some, it gives them a chance to re­lax and en­joy each other’s com­pany and have a cel­e­bra­tion.’’

En­tries for the 2020 awards have poured in since the launch event on July 23. In the ma­jor­ity of cat­e­gories there have been more en­tries than in pre­vi­ous years. Fi­nal­ists will be an­nounced tonight.

‘‘THE judges have had a busy time try­ing to nar­row down each cat­e­gory to three fi­nal­ists,’’ Mc­Gowan says. ‘‘In one cat­e­gory there were over 20 en­tries, and some busi­nesses are en­tered into dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories. We’re re­ally happy with the quan­tity and the qual­ity of the ap­pli­cants.’’

Or­gan­is­ing the large scale black­tie gala din­ner at the Dunedin Town Hall for the awards on Novem­ber 13 has been a dif­fi­cult ex­er­cise this year.

Due to Covid­19 the Otago Cham­ber of Com­merce has had to con­sider three dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios for the event.

‘‘For the team here hav­ing three sce­nar­ios and keep­ing peo­ple in­formed about what that looks like has been a big job,’’ Mc­Gowan says. ‘‘Fin­gers crossed we’re go­ing to get this one across the line by Novem­ber 13, and it’ll be a great cel­e­bra­tion of what it means to be part of busi­ness.’’

While 2020 has clearly been chal­leng­ing for those in busi­ness, events of the year have forced many to look at things dif­fer­ently, which has pre­sented op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Mc­Gowan says a lot of busi­nesses in the re­gion had al­ready been forced to trans­form over the last five years. Some things in Otago busi­ness remain the same, how­ever.

‘‘The busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment has changed quite strongly,’’ he says. ‘‘But we still know the value of sit­ting to­gether at a meet­ing and get­ting those deals done face to face. Some of those things aren’t go­ing to change. We want to be able to meet those peo­ple and know that it’s not just about the deal, it’s about the peo­ple who you are deal­ing with, which is just as im­por­tant.’’

This is the 22nd year that West­pac have been in­volved as the pri­mary spon­sor for the awards. Their long­term as­so­ci­a­tion with the Otago Cham­ber of Com­merce rein­vig­o­rated what had pre­vi­ously been the Spirit of Dunedin Busi­ness Awards in 1998.

‘‘They’ve been em­bed­ded in the West­pac Otago Busi­ness Awards right from the start,’’ Mc­Gowan says. ‘‘Their sup­port for small to medium busi­ness, whether it’s through these awards or through their day­to­day ac­tiv­i­ties has been huge for the New Zealand busi­ness com­mu­nity.’’

There are many other spon­sors be­hind the awards, with some new ones join­ing other long­term sup­port­ers this year.

‘‘We’ve been re­ally lucky,’’ Mc­Gowan says. ‘‘Some of them have a past con­nec­tion, either tak­ing part in that award, or win­ning the award that they’re now spon­sor­ing. That’s a re­ally nice story in it­self.’’

0 West­pac Otago Busi­ness Awards: Fri­day Novem­ber 13, Dunedin Town Hall. Tick­ets avail­able from the Otago Cham­ber of Com­merce, call 0800 424 968 or see www.otagob­usi­nes­sawards.co.nz

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 ??  ?? Mitre 10 MEGA Dunedin and Mitre 10 Mos­giel were the West­pac Otago Busi­ness Awards Ex­cel­lence in Re­tail win­ners in2018.
Mitre 10 MEGA Dunedin and Mitre 10 Mos­giel were the West­pac Otago Busi­ness Awards Ex­cel­lence in Re­tail win­ners in2018.

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