New Zealand companies operating on the world stage are encouraged to tell their success stories, as part of the New Zealand International Business Awards (NZIBA).
This is the 50th year NZTE has presented the prestigious awards, and the judges are looking forward to a fresh wave of entries, which open May 30.
“The reason I love judging these awards is because we get to meet these incredible New Zealand businesses who have achieved phenomenal things on the international stage,” says David Downs, NZTE’s General Manager of internal Partners and Convenor of Judges.
“The key benefit of entering is the chance to tell your story to a much wider audience – and have people there to listen. It’s about the story of your success, what makes you tick and what makes your company so interesting.”
Last year’s supreme winner, the experiential tourism company Magic Memories, has expanded rapidly since being inducted into the NZIBA hall of fame, and its director Geoff Burns says entering an awards programme is a good process to go through, regardless of the outcome.
“It’s a good learning experience, it encourages you to make sure you can tell your story simply and that you have good validation of the success points along the journey to date, and what that may look like going forward,” he says.
Develop your story
Last year was the first time Magic Memories had entered an awards programme, and Burns says the company chose the NZIBA because they wanted to recognise the assistance NZTE had given it over the years.
He says it can feel daunting when the paperwork arrives, but independent assessors from Frost and Sullivan are on hand to help companies refine their awards entries. The assessor help score and rank the entries, and are on hand to advise companies on what information to include in their entries.
Frost and Sullivan moderate the judging, but it’s the independent judges who decide on finalists and the winners.
So what are the judges looking for? Downs says judges need to know about companies’ successes and what makes them tick, and are looking for evidence of resilience, long-term planning, and strategic intent.
“We want to see the passion that drives the business and be told the story about the part you and your team have played in the organisation’s success. We also want you to demonstrate how you’ve worked to meet your customers’ needs. It’s important for you to know what makes your business tick and – above all – be able to tell that story,” says Downs.
Last year’s winner of the Excellence in Innovation category, Milmeq, values the experience of entering the awards.
The company is a typical New Zealand success story – it started out of a garage 60 years ago and now exports its custom refrigeration systems for primary food processing around the world.
Its chief executive Mike Lightfoot wants to encourage other businesses to enter this year’s awards.
“The whole process of entering an award is a brilliant exercise. It makes you step back and have a good look at your business, and have other people come in ask some very informed questions about your business. If you’re unable to answer those questions it’s a good time to reflect,” says Lightfoot.
He says when the company won an NZIBA, it provided good validation for the people who work in the business.
The benefits of winning a NZIBA can be vast and in his role as an NZTE customer manager, Richard Dunsheath has seen winners leverage their title.
“I would encourage companies to enter for the huge promotion opportunities, the ability to attract talent, the ability to raise capital and the ability to gain exposure to new and existing customers. It’s really important,” says Dunsheath.