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Christchurch recovery innovation shines through in business awards

The Canterbury business community’s response to the 2010 Christchurch earthquake has resulted in innovation that’s being recognised at the Champion Canterbury Business Awards.

Businesses continued operating despite aftershocks and the closure of neighbouring businesses, and many have had to think and operate differently when creating new business models, says event director Leanne Watson.

“One of the most important things is the way the businesses have actually responded to the changes in the local Christchurch operation environment.

“We are starting to see some of those examples come through the actual awards. The rebuild is really gearing up this year [so] we will probably see stronger signs of that in next year’s [awards].”

Watson says the earthquake has legitimised the role of celebrating business success for the Canterbury region despite the hardship it caused.

“We have been through a whole lot of hard times and we are pretty resilient”, she says. “We celebrate the fact they [Canterbury businesses] are still going.”

The awards were set up to recognise and reward business success, she says.

“If you ask most people who are the top sporting figures of New Zealand they can run off the first five pretty quickly,” says Watson. “If you ask the same sort of question of top businesses in a region most people don’t know.”

Businesses can apply online until June 18 with nominations due on May 28. Finalists are announced on August 6.

This year’s winners ceremony takes place on September 17 at the CBS Arena with awards in nine categories. These include produce and manufacturing, infrastructure, professional service, tourism and hospitality, retail, global operating and charity trades.

Of these seven main categories, six have a separate award for small businesses and another for medium and large businesses with more than 15 full time employees. Additionally there are two special awards for workplace safety and an innovation/technology award.

Last year, the Canterbury A&P Show won the small enterprise award for the tourism and hospitality category. A&P event director Geoff Bone says winning the award gave the organisation a significant profile in the business and political community. Last year was the A&P Show’s most financially successful and he attributes that to its success at the awards.

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