Playing a leading part in the celebrations on Friday June 18th, Ara Institute of Canterbury acted once more as the Premier and Supreme Award Sponsor of the South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards for 2021.
The South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce received 75 entries for the Ara Business Excellence Awards, “a real demonstration of confidence and capability,” said Wendy Smith of the BEA. The entries were of an extremely high standard and the judges were challenged during their selection of 48 semi-finalists and subsequently the overall winners.
At a packed ceremony on Friday night, Juice Products NZ, a vegetable and fruit processing factory, came away the supreme winner and recipient of the new ‘global exporter’ award, with Barkers winning both the emerging business and the large business awards.
After the need to postpone the Business Excellence Awards in 2020 due to Covid-19, there was a level of uncertainty regarding businesses’ appetite to enter the Ara Business Excellence Awards with a new date and format in 2021. However, business owners, managers and team leaders engaged enthusiastically, attending preliminary workshops across the three districts in record numbers.
Wendy Smith said, “It has been humbling to see the work that our businesses have completed and the pride in the extra efforts from their teams.”
Past winners have found the entry process not only highly rewarding and motivating, but also of significant strategic value in positioning their business for long-term, sustainable growth.
Darren Mitchell, Ara CE commented “Ara is immensely pleased to be this years’ Premier Awards Sponsor, and we also take pride in our role within the South Canterbury community. We value the economic and social wellbeing of the region, and will continue to provide opportunities for learners to gain the skills, confidence and qualifications that will help the next generation of employees and business-owners to contribute meaningfully to South Canterbury’s success.”
The finalists were announced on the 14th May and included an Ara graduate’s cupcake business. While she didn’t win an award this year, Millie Rose has made a great success of her gorgeous boutique cupcake business, based in central Timaru.
Millie Rose gained her bakery skills from what was at the time Aoraki Polytechnic and is now Ara Institute of Canterbury Ltd) right out of high school. In a 2020 interview, she said “Millie Rose is a gift shop, a fashion boutique and a cake shop, and I’m all about supporting small New Zealand companies and local businesses. The local support has just been incredible. I never expected my cupcakes to be so popular!”