Awards open for rural business women

ELENA MCPHEE
Last updated 09:17 07/07/2014

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Entries to the sixth Enterprising Rural Women Awards are open.

Organisers are encouraging Marlborough contestants to sign up.

The awards, run by Rural Women New Zealand, are designed to recognise the achievements of women running small businesses.

Communications officer Jackie Edkins says it was a shame that no-one had represented Marlborough in 2013.

"Certainly we'd really, really like to see some more entries from the top of the South Island."

Previous winners had been innovative and had "thought outside the square", using their location or resources to their advantage in quirky ways, she says.

Examples were a woman who had a lot of snails in her garden and started a snail farm which supplied Auckland restaurants, and a woman who started her own plus-size footwear business when she could not get shoes in her size.

Often businesses were started to supplement an unpredictable farming income.

"They have saved a few people in the lean times," Edkins says.

Last year's supreme winner was Diane Coleman of Treeline Native Nurseries in Rotorua.

She says she had enjoyed the experience and had received a lot of publicity.

"It has really put my business on the map," she says.

To be eligible businesses must be based in a rural area, have less than 10 fulltime employees, and have been running for at least two years.

Partnerships are eligible as long as a woman is an active partner in at least 50 per cent of the business.

There are four awards:

Love of the Land - sponsored by Agrisea - for all land-based business, from animals to agriculture.

Help! I need somebody - sponsored by Access Homehealth - for businesses providing any type of service, from retailers to agricultural contractors.

Making it in Rural - sponsored by Telecom - for businesses that involve manufacturing or creativity.

Stay, Play Rural - sponsored by Xero - for businesses engaged in rural tourism or hospitality.

Category winners will receive $1,000 in prize money and a trophy, with a further $1,000 going to the supreme winner.

Entries close on September 5, and the awards will be presented in Rotorua on November 15.

Entry forms are available online at the Rural Women New Zealand website. Email questions to: enquiries@ruralwomen.org.nz

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- The Marlborough Express

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