By TRACEY ROXBURGH
Entries have opened for the 2021 Real Journeys Queenstown Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, back after a three-year hiatus.
Launched at a function at the Mountain Club on Wednesday night, this year’s awards feature new categories to recognise the challenging environment local businesses have operated in over the past 16 months.
Normally held biennially, due to Covid the last awards were held in 2018.
Designed to celebrate innovation and creativity in the Whakatipu’s business sector, this year there are nine categories: Remarkables Park Covid resilience and diversification award, MyHR employer of the year, SIT excellence in innovation, Smart Environmental excellence in sustainability, Shotover Media’s excellence in marketing, excellence in strategy and planning, Destination Queenstown excellence in service delivery, Todd & Walker Law small business of the year and Mountain Scene people’s choice.
Chamber CEO Ruth Stokes wants all businesses, regardless of their size, to put their name forward and celebrate their success after the most challenging period in Queenstown’s recent history.
‘‘After a year like no other, I am constantly impressed by the strength, resilience, and positivity of Queenstown businesses.
‘‘Entering the awards delivers real benefits for you and your business, to enhance and review your processes, benchmark your business and lift your profile.’’
Stephen England-Hall, boss of head sponsor Wayfare, says the awards provide a chance to reflect on the past year, and acknowledge businesses’ contribution to the region and community.
‘‘The last year has been one of extremes and being able to recognise the successes through that time is a fantastic thing to do.
‘‘It’s good for the businesses them selves and their people.’’
Stokes says the entry process this year’s been simplified — there are just three questions per category to be answered — and entries can be done entirely online.
Businesses can enter up to three categories; all finalists are automatically eligible for the people’s choice award, to be voted on by the public.
The judging panel comprises outgoing Destination Queenstown interim boss Ann Lockhart, marketing specialist John Guthrie, SIT programme manager Sonali Mendis and HR specialist Jason Ennor.
Award entries close on September 23 with a gala dinner planned onboard the TSS Earnslaw and at Walter Peak High Country Farm on November 6 at which winners will be announced.