Sunshine Coast Excellence in Business Awards gets by with a little help from its friends
  • Wednesday 14 July 2010

Sixteen years after the first Sunshine Coast Excellence in Business Awards was staged, the event is now the biggest business award event in the country to be held outside of a metropolitan city.

Although the awards are free for businesses to enter, the months of planning and logistics associated with reviewing, judging and staging the award presentation ceremony comes at considerable cost and that’s where the generosity of local business owners, banks and local government sponsors step in.

Sunshine Coast Council’s Chair of Economic Development and Entrepreneurship, Councillor Lew Brennan said that as Platinum Sponsor for the awards, Sunshine Coast Council considered its support vital to acknowledge the economic diversity and important role that business plays in the region.

“The awards also encourage other businesses to start-up or relocate to the Sunshine Coast buoyed by evidence of a thriving, successful regional economy,” Cr Lew Brennan said.

“There are some pretty compelling natural advantages to doing business here on the coast and the nominees and winners of these awards are real life examples of that,” he said.

“From the sole operator to multi-million dollar turnover businesses they all provide a valuable contribution to the economic wellbeing of our region.”

University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) is another supporter, this year as a Gold Sponsor of the Professional Services category. USC Dean of Business, Professor Evan Douglas said that as a long term sponsor of the awards that the University was committed to “recognising and celebrating the success of best practice professionals who make significant, positive contributions to the lifestyle Sunshine Coast residents enjoy.”

Professor Douglas said that he hoped to see some of the Faculty’s Business Graduates utilising their education and experience to become future award winners in coming years.

“Currently the Business Faculty has approximately 1,400 students enrolled in more than 30 professional programs.

“We have even developed niche courses in innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship and sustainable tourism in response to regional needs and industry trends.

“These courses fit well with some of the award categories” Professor Douglas said.

Joint Gold Sponsor Suncorp Bank sees the Sunshine Coast Business Awards as a great way to recognise and reward local businesses for providing quality service. David Harrys, Executive Manager of Business Banking Sunshine Coast said that Suncorp Bank recognised the role that awards such as these could accelerate business success.

“The Sunshine Coast Excellence in Business Awards offer businesses a marketing edge on their competitors and as a sponsor, offers us the opportunity to be directly involved with potential clients in a positive and celebratory atmosphere.

“Being actively involved in local communities is at the heart of what we do and are particularly excited to play a part in helping local businesses be rewarded for their success and contribution to the community,” Mr Harrys said.

Joint Gold Sponsor, Sunshine Coast TAFE’s Institute Director Ross Hepworth, said that TAFE’s ongoing association with the awards was closely aligned to its ongoing association with small to medium enterprises in the region.

“As one of the largest public enterprises on the Coast we have the privilege of training a highly skilled workforce for the region.

“In addition to trades, we have many courses suited to the business environment that can add real value to new and existing businesses.

“Training and education is heavily aligned to economic prosperity and growth and by providing the skills to help businesses be successful it’s one way that we can all share in that prosperity and growth,” Mr Hepworth said.

President of the Maroochydore Chamber of Commerce Myles McNamara, whose organisation runs the awards said that he was already expecting a record number of entries this year and was pleased to see strong whole-of-region representation from businesses in the north, south, central and hinterland regions.

“These awards are really about providing a platform for recognising the diversity, strength and depth of enterprise throughout the region.

“They are not only a celebration of the Sunshine Coast’s business achievements but provide valuable networking opportunities to help businesses continue to build on their success,” Mr McNamara said.

With entries closing on Friday July 30, Sunshine Coast businesses are encouraged to enter the awards (at no cost) by self nominating, or nominating another business of their choice, and then submitting the answers to nine - 12 questions that make up the final entry submission. There are 13 award categories to choose from and with entry content limited to no more than six, A4 pages even the busiest of businesses should be able to find the time to enter.

The awards boast a range of quality, high profile sponsors including Sunshine Coast Council, Suncorp Bank, Sunshine Coast TAFE, University of the Sunshine Coast - Faculty of Business, Mission Australia Employment Solutions, AusIndustry, GT Print, Sunshine Plaza, Telstra Country Wide, Trade Qld, Hot/Zinc FM, Seven Local News and the Sunshine Coast Daily.

The awards will culminate in a gala awards celebration and awards ceremony in November 2010.

HOW TO ENTER:

  • Nominations for the 16th Sunshine Coast Excellence in Business Awards close at 5pm on Friday 30 July.
  • Nomination forms and information is available at www.maroochy.org or by phoning 5443 5661.
  • Categories include: Building/Manufacturing, Business Services, Creative/Knowledge Industries, Environmental Industries, Export, Food and Beverage Production, Innovation, Lifestyle Services, Professional Services, Retail, Tourism, Outstanding Business Person of the Year and Outstanding Employee of the Year.
  • All entries require a nomination and the completion of nine business submission questions (plus an additional three questions for the Special Awards - Innovation and Export).
  • The judges will evaluate entrants by way of the written entry submission, demonstration of best management practices, an onsite interview, a ‘mystery shop/visit’, and referee attestations.
  • The final Sunshine Coast Excellence in Business Awards ceremony will be held in November. It is the largest regional business award event to be held outside of a metropolitan city in Australia.