Nominations are now open for Tauranga's annual awards celebrating local businesses, which have returned for 2021 with a new name.
The departure of Westpac as the long-standing principal sponsor has seen the event renamed the Tauranga Business Awards.
Hosted by the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce, the awards were scheduled to be launched this morning via a virtual video event.
The video, fronted by local businessman and journalist Sam Ackerman, showcased various locations in the Bay as part of the event's Love Local theme.
It also included interviews with 2020 head facilitator Sven Parnell from KPMG and Business of the Year 2020 award winner Heilala Vanilla chief executive Jennifer Boggiss.
Boggiss said winning the supreme award was a great boost to her team's morale, particularly after a "tough and intense" year.
The company also won the Manufacturing, Construction and Distribution Award and the Business, Digital and Technology Innovation Award last year.
Boggiss said the win had helped her recruit new staff and grow the team in Tauranga from about 15 to 22 over the last year.
She said it was a great talking point with candidates in an incredibly competitive market and helped to lift the company's local profile.
"A lot had heard about us after winning the award."
Boggiss said Heilala Vanilla had won a few overseas awards before but "there was nothing like winning a local award".
The company was not planning to enter this year's awards but Boggiss' message to others considering taking part was "just do it".
"It is a chance to reflect on your businesses. So often we are involved in the day-to-day of our work. It's a time to take a minute or two and look at your business through fresh eyes."
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said the awards team was sad to see Westpac go after a relationship of more than 20 years.
He said the bank's departure did, however, provide an opportunity to reconnect the event with the Chamber's values and align with its purpose: To support and champion people in business.
"For 20-plus years, the Chamber has proudly organised and hosted the business awards, to provide a platform through which we can connect, enable and champion our business community at all stages of their journey.
"The fundamental reasons behind why we hold this event haven't changed, but a change in our sponsorship allowed for us to strengthen the connection between our organisational values and our event."
Cowley thanked Westpac for being a committed, long-term supporter of the Chamber.
"We value our strategic partnerships and have enjoyed the relationship we have shared with Westpac for more than two decades. We look forward to continuing to work with them as a member of the Chamber."
Event organiser Anne Pankhurst said planning was already well under way for the big night, set to be like nothing the Bay business community had ever seen before.
"Last year, in the wake of Covid-19, we broke with tradition and decided to forgo the gala dinner in favour of a smaller, more intimate cocktail event at Trinity Wharf.
"Following feedback from this event, we're taking the best parts of the cocktail night and combining it with previous elements from our gala dinners.
"It's shaping up to be a one-of-a-kind event and we're thankful to our event sponsor Farmer Autovillage for enabling us to get creative in their business."
The awards night will be at Farmer Autovillage on November 12.
Nominations have opened for the awards and anyone can nominate a deserving local business.
The Chamber will confidentially get in touch with that business on behalf of the nominator and work with them to start the entry process.
Email email@example.com to nominate a business or organisation.
· May 18 – June 14: Nominations open
· June 14 – September 20: Entries open; entry forms at tauranga.org.nz/businessawards
· November 12 – Love Local awards event