A Rotorua architect company was able to keep its staff on full-time work and pay during the Covid-19 lockdown and has since continued to secure large and long-term projects.
DCA Architects of Transformation managing director Darryl Church said the company was able to keep the team on full-time work and pay.
Church said while business productivity was affected by about 15 to 20 per cent in lockdown, only a few projects were put on hold.
"Coming out of Covid has seen some of our projects that might have otherwise struggled with funding, find success with Government PGF and CIP funding applications and have come back on," he said.
"We have come out of the lockdown in a strong position with several large and long-term projects. We have been able to grow the team to maintain targets with current and new work."
However, Church said there was a fair amount of uncertainty for the long-term future.
"Our short-term looks rosy out to 2021-2022, but after this carries an amount of unknown.
"We expect there will be an economic slowdown, which will cause markets to heat up for competition.
"We expect we will need to be smarter about how DCA promotes its services to retain value, rather than enter a race to the bottom by undercutting fees."
The company won the Supreme Business Award in last year's Westpac Rotorua Business Awards.
Church said since winning the award the practice has seen strong growth and has employed three more staff in 2019, who all moved to Rotorua from outside of the district.
"While we can't attribute any of our new commissions due to winning the Supreme Business Award, we feel like there is an unspoken confidence factor that DCA run a successful business."
The biggest surprise about winning the award, Church said, was the outpouring of heartfelt congratulations from many people and local businesses.
"The kudos of winning such an esteemed award has placed us in a position of trust and respect."
It is the first time the company has won entered the awards.
"We were fully expecting that we might need to enter a couple of years in a row before we crafted and polished our submission. To win outright on the first go was unforeseen and unexpected."
Church said putting yourself forward to be judged was a very hard thing to do, but he encouraged everyone to have a go at some stage.
"For the first 20 years, our practice focused on doing the work, and not so much on the business mechanics.
"It wasn't until we started working with a coach and created a leadership team that we became more focused on strategic goals and a pathway to achieve them.
"If entering the Business Awards is the catalyst for other businesses to start thinking about being better at business, then win or lose, the process of planning and improvement has begun and this has to be a great outcome."
Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust
The Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust has been busy post-Covid-19 lockdown with lots of inquiry for new leases.
Chairman Malcolm Short said four new town businesses were at various stages of the negotiation process and two were subject to the resource consent process.
"In addition, we have several other leasings that are a result of existing businesses relocating as a result of their growth."
Short said businesses, while maintaining a cautious outlook, were seeing the opportunities presented within Rotorua.
"It is important that as a city we embrace and support these businesses, ensuring that we focus on encouraging through the removal of barriers and making it easy to do business here. If our businesses grow and prosper, so does our city."
The Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust was named the Outstanding Contribution to Rotorua Award at last year's business awards.
Short said as the original donors of the land on which the city was established the trust's connection and contributions to Rotorua go back more than 140 years and extended beyond building the Rotorua Central Mall and Trade Central.
"Our focus has been on developing our traditional lands for the benefit of our owners and for the city so the recognition is effectively marking our progress to date."
Short said Covid-19 was the defining event of the last year.
"As a predominantly retail-orientated commercial landlord, the lockdown impacted our tenants significantly and meant that we had to engage in negotiating rental support packages for all of our tenants," he said.
"Like almost all businesses in New Zealand, and indeed the world, Covid-19's economic impact has been significant with our cashflow reduced significantly during the second quarter."
However, Short said the full impact of Covid-19 would take months, if not years, to determine "as it looks like the virus has a long health and economic tail to it".
But while the uncertainty generated by the first lockdown was significant, the support provided to its tenants was one of the trust's key successes with all tenants entering into agreements, Short said.
"As a result of the combined support from ourselves and that received by our tenants from the Crown, I am pleased to say that the majority of our tenants have made it through the last six months."
Short said the Trust's focus was now on making the business stronger and better equipped to navigate future events.
"As testing as the impact of Covid has been on us all, our view is that it is important to remain positive and future-focused."
Short said Covid-19 had shown that a business can be doing everything "right" only to find the world has been turned upside down.
"The business awards, in general, are an opportunity to celebrate success and excellence which is something we all need to embrace and recognise.
"The first six months of this year have been testing for everyone, and anyone who is in business deserves to be celebrated for their achievements and contributions to the economic prosperity of the city."
Awards celebrate Rotorua's resilience
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said entries for this year's Westpac Rotorua Business Awards were coming in strong.
This year, the awards have been "reshaped" with fewer entry categories but more of an emphasis on Covid-19 and how businesses changed, adapted and recovered from the lockdown.
Heard said there was a People's Choice category, an award for the Best Essential Service during lockdown and one for the Employer of the Year.
"We have titled the event a celebration of Rotorua's resilience. A lot of our businesses have done some fantastic things through Covid and we want to celebrate that."
Entries for the Rotorua Business Awards closed on September 11.
What: Westpac Rotorua Business Awards
When: October 31
Where: Rotorua Energy Events Centre
What to wear: Black-tie