During the Awards season, businesses can attend workshops on putting together a compelling entry, benefit from working with a facilitator through ATEED or UNITEC, access mentoring through the Auckland Chamber and Business Mentors New Zealand, meet and network with competitors, sponsors and other awards supporters - and become participants in a pipeline for success.

This support and commitment to continuous improvement sees many business entrants returning a year or two later to compete in other categories and/or achieve Supreme winner status. The following businesses have entered the Awards more than once, often lifting their game and achieving far more than they thought possible.

They have understood that innovation is about more than having an idea. It's about executing the idea, applying it to a real or specific problem or challenge, and providing a solution that adds value to the company and the customer.

In their demonstration of excellence they have shown an ability to put in place constant improvement to current processes, systems and goals.

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These businesses have shown a combination of the following:
1. Shared strategic direction
2. Process design & improvement
3. Performance measurement & feedback
4. Knowledge capture & leverage
5. Leadership and management of change

They have understood that entrepreneurship is about risk taking and being prepared to keep going especially when it's tough with many businesses commenting that they accessed specific support including family, mentors and professional networks or hubs.

All winners demonstrate a real love and passion for what they do and the drive to stay engaged when it's just about pushing on through. Their strengths are a canny ability to pick gaps in the market, anticipate clients' needs, or solve problems.