Auckland’s South has a high density of existing and new manufacturing businesses, many of which are displaying an impressive level of innovation and new product development including Rayglass Boats, winner of Excellence in International Trade.

"We started in 1988 as a small company building sports fishing boats. Now we build production line sports fishing and weekending boats through to coastal protection boats and high end tenders for America's Cup group syndicates, where there's a need to transport lots of people without worrying too much about the weather. So our boats are built for rough water use - the gladiators of the seas, so to speak," says Dave Larsen, Rayglass Boats chief executive.

With developments at the airport and in potential new industrial sites, South's role as the industrial and logistics hub of Auckland now accounts for one quarter of Auckland's GDP and has a higher employment growth rate than the Auckland average, accounting for one in four jobs in Auckland. South's Supreme winner, Auckland Motorway Alliance, employs over 60 professional staff and 60 specialist road crew.

Businesses are positive about growth although this is tempered by a feeling of being slightly out of control with the speed of progress. There's high demand for assistance with building business capability, particularly around marketing and export. The South's major increases in information media and telecommunications, construction and administrative and support services is highlighted by this year's category winning businesses such as Chancellor Construction Limited, Global Financial Services Limited and Discoveries Educare.

Highlighting these businesses success and growth, Global Financial Services Limited say their strategy for the next two to five years is to not only expand locally but also into other markets such as Europe, Korea and the Philippines. They did $900 million worth of mortgages last year and plan to hit $1 billion this financial year.

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As part of the Regional Business Partner (RBP) programme, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) has delivered a 54 per cent increase in the number of referrals to people and opportunities for businesses in the South in the 2015/16 financial year compared with the year prior.

ATEED works closely with the Howick, Papakura, Mangere - Otahuhu, Otara - Papatoetoe, Manurewa and Franklin local boards to stimulate economic growth in the South.

In Manukau the employment arm of Auckland Chamber of Commerce provides a range of employment programmes connecting local businesses with talented, ready-to-work job seekers - supporting people into jobs, strengthening business and strengthening the community.

The latest Auckland Council Business survey released in June this year shows that 73 per cent of businesses in the South had innovated in the past year and introduced new or improved goods and services to market, with 36 per cent undertaking research and development. For businesses in the South, a strong community focus is also paramount to success.

"We're a lifestyle goods retailer selling skateboards and snowboard hard goods, clothing and lifestyle accessories. We've changed from a traditional above-the-line marketing model to a lot more involvement in our community.

When people walk in, they become friends of ours. We build relationships with them and that relationship becomes a lasting relationship," says co-owner Tim Guy of Boardertown, winner of Excellence in Customer Service Delivery.

EXCELLENCE IN INNOVATION sponsored by AUT
Auckland Motorway Alliance

EXCELLENCE IN CUSTOMER SERVICE DELIVERY sponsored by Austin's Food Design Events
Boardertown Limited

EXCELLENCE IN STRATEGY AND PLANNING sponsored by Multi-Media Systems Limited
Auckland Motorway Alliance

EXCELLENCE IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE sponsored by Ports of Auckland
Rayglass Boats

EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR sponsored by Milmeq
Chancellor Construction Limited

EXCELLENCE IN MARKETING sponsored by Villa Maria
Global Financial Services Limited

BEST EMERGING BUSINESS sponsored by Air New Zealand
Discoveries Educare

SUPREME BUSINESS EXCELLENCE sponsored by Westpac
Auckland Motorway Alliance