Fast track to success

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Queenstown’s Chamber of Commerce is putting business excellence into the fast lane. 

The chamber’s Business Excellence Awards, usually held every second year, are on again this October – less than a year after the 2009 awards. 

Entries for the 2010 contest open next Wednesday and close on September 24, with the gala awards dinner on October 29. 

Two reasons are behind fast-tracking the awards, chamber boss Ann Lockhart says. 

While 50 competitors last year was good, some firms had a difficult 2009 and felt unable “to put their best foot forward”, she says. The other reason for bringing the awards forward is uncertainty about whether to hold it during 2011 – not just because of the Rugby World Cup but also because the chamber plans a leaders’ debate during the general election, Lockhart says. 

The 2010 event also has a switch of emphasis. 

“Last year, we had a big focus on entrepreneurship – this year, we’ll be looking for across-the-board excellence,” the chamber boss says. 

Firms can include whatever data they choose to make their pitch but entries are restricted to 10 pages.
“What we’re really looking for is business improvement [and] that can be put as percentages,” Lockhart adds. 

The judging panel is under a strict guarantee of confidentiality about data provided by entrants. 

Judges this year are Skyline director and former hotelier Jan Hunt, banker Mike Sutherland from main sponsor Westpac, Otago University senior marketing lecturer John Guthrie and local consultant Alistair Nicholson, who chairs Wakatipu High’s board. 

Business aside, the glittering awards dinner is fast becoming one of the big nights on Queenstown’s social calendar – 350 people attended the 2009 awards last December. Large-scale business winner NZSki took out the Supreme Award, Queenstown Resort College topped the medium-size category, and D’Or Hair Stylists won the small business section. 

Awards entry is free and restricted to the chamber’s approximately 300 members but Lockhart says she welcomes new members wishing to enter.