Keen contest for Champion awards

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 10:33 07/08/2014

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A total of 44 businesses have been named finalists of the Champion Canterbury Business Awards for 2014.

The awards are organised by a subsidiary company of the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce.

The finalists were named at a special function last night hosted by accounting firm PwC after 130 entries for a variety of industry sectors were whittled down by 30 or so judges.

Chairman of Champion Canterbury and chief executive of the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce Peter Townsend said standards among the finalists were strong and the business community had taken on a new level of optimism in the post-2011 earthquake period.

"Each of our finalists has a good story to tell and we can learn good lessons from them as adopters of best business practice," he said. "It never fails to amaze me what we've got in our communities in terms of business acumen and business expertise."

There was a "balanced" mix of strong entrants coming from not only the quake rebuild and recovery sector but other parts of the economy, with a strong interface between the city and regional economies.

"Despite our preoccupation with the rebuild of our city, we have a balanced economy with our interdependence on our rural sector, an [extraordinary] manufacturing base, excellent service sector support, and software development and IT capability of which we should be very proud," Townsend said.

Champion Canterbury director Leeann Watson said this year the Champion Tourism/Hospitality and Champion Global Operator entry numbers had increased significantly.

Finalists in the tourism/hospitality for small and medium/ large operators include Akaroa Dolphins, Christchurch Gondola, Haka Tours, Air Force Museum, Canterbury Museum and Earth & Sky.

Finalists in the Champion Global Operator category for small and medium/large operators include Modlar, Pacific Simulators, Solar Bright, ARANZ Geo, Enztec and Synlait Milk.

The organisers were also pleased with the growing numbers in the CDC Innovation category, with finalists including Clever Medkits, Pegasus Health (Charitable) Ltd, Canterbury District Health Board, Orion Health and Ravensdown.

"These entries show businesses in a variety of sectors including manufacturing, primary production, software and professional services focusing on innovation to maintain their competitive advantage in New Zealand and offshore," Watson said.

Organisers said a number of entries had come from businesses growing rapidly, not just in the trades and construction sector, but also in retail, hospitality and professional services.

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Watson said the Champion Canterbury group expected the overall category and supreme winners would be businesses thinking ahead long-term and strategically. They would also be making decisions "in the context of a changing, but positive economic environment", she said.

Final judging takes place during August and early September with the winners announced at an awards dinner on September 17.

OTHER FINALISTS

Champion Producer/ Manufacturer

Small: BioBrew Ltd, CRONZ (Carpets & Rugs of New Zealand), Greystone Wines

Medium-Large: Rangiora Bakery, Ravensdown, Tumblar Products Ltd

Champion Infrastructure

Buildtech, Concrete Connect, Leighs Construction

Champion Professional Service

Small: Automation Assist, BVT Engineering Professional Services, Concentrate, Science Alive

Medium-Large: Davis Ogilvie & Partners Ltd, Plato Creative, Warren and Mahoney

Champion Retail

Bundle Boutique (formerly EGG), Snap, Traiteur of Merivale

ACC Workplace Safety Award

Carlton Taylor Industries, Christchurch International Airport, Kilmarnock Enterprises

Charity

Small: Christchurch Children's Christmas Parade Trust, Coastguard, Ministry of Awesome, Pillars Incorporated

Medium-Large: Aviva, Kilmarnock Enterprises, SPCA Canterbury

- The Press

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