Chief Executive: Time to back our businesses

Published: 2 August 2021

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The health of a district’s economy can often be seen in the number of businesses that trade within its boundaries - from farmers to manufacturers to coffee shops.

Growth in the number of businesses shows entrepreneurs are prepared to take risks and start new ventures.

The good news here is the number of businesses in the Ashburton District rose to just over 5,300 in 2020. Go back 20 years, and the number was 3,738.

Most of those businesses are small to medium enterprises but collectively, they employ nearly 20,000 people, about two-thirds of our population.

Those businesses that breathe life into all parts of our community are being toasted at the inaugural ANZ Business of the Year Awards, and Council is partnering with event managers Ri Ra to stage these awards.

We hope that the Mid Canterbury community will get on board - this is your place, and you have plenty to be proud about.

Two important events have happened in the past seven days in the life of these awards. ANZ has joined as a platinum sponsor and the first half-dozen entries have been received.

We are keen to spread the word and encourage as many entries as possible, so next Friday, 6 August, Council is hosting a networking event at the Ashburton Trust Event Centre. It’ll be a chance to learn more about the different categories and register.

We know things have been tough for some businesses over the last 18 months, but these awards are an opportunity to talk about some of our successes, those businesses - big and small - that have adapted, grown, changed, or completely pivoted to survive in this challenging pandemic environment.

Resilience is a common theme.

One of the categories is the People’s Choice Award, and people in the community have a significant role in selecting the winner. They will be able to vote by text, so look out for signs on retailers’ shop windows with details of voting codes.

As well as the People’s Choice, there is also a Future Business Leader Award and a Supreme Winner, chosen from the winners of categories for primary industries, export, tourism, manufacturing, not-for-profit, and technology and innovation.

Entries must be received by 5 pm on 30 November, and winners will be revealed at a gala evening on 18 February next year.

The business networking event will be at the Ashburton Trust Event Centre on Friday, 6 August, from 4 pm to 6 pm.

We’d love to see you there.

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