Search on for new Waikato Business Awards main sponsor as Westpac shifts focus
Despite uncertain times, interest appears strong within Waikato Inc in taking over sponsorship of the region’s prestigious business awards from Westpac, which is surrendering naming rights after 21 years.
Waikato Chamber of Commerce chief executive Don Good said there had been at least four expressions of interest from Waikato entities in signing up a contract to sponsor the annual awards, which attract brisk competition from the region’s business heavy hitters, noted for traditionally preferring to keep a low profile.
Westpac NZ would continue to be strong advocates for recognising and celebrating business in the Waikato, said head of commercial relationships Hamish Ward.
“We’re working with the chamber on a new programme where together we can continue to support Waikato businesses, and will have more details in the coming months.”
In a separate statement to the Herald, Westpac said: “We regularly review our existing arrangements and are always looking for new partnership opportunities both in Waikato and around the country”.
Good said the new programme with Westpac would be a “thought leadership” series with top speakers, and was being worked on as a national project with chambers throughout New Zealand.
He wasn’t surprised at the level of interest in taking over the Westpac awards mantle, despite the challenging economic environment.
“They’re the highlight of the business year for a lot of companies. I’ve learned that companies appreciate being acknowledged for their contribution even though they tend to prefer being under the radar here.
“It’s important for the business community to see appreciation of that contribution.”
The new sponsor, which Good preferred not to refer to as “principal” sponsor for reasons that would become clear soon, would be expected to sign a “lengthy” contract to engage with the Waikato Chamber of Commerce for the multi-category awards.
The awards gala night in Hamilton – this year on November 12 – had for several years been a sell out, he said.
The Waikato chamber had more than 600 company members and was growing.
It also conducts the new Waikato Hall of Fame, which last year inducted Porter Group founder, the late Arthur Porter, and Gallagher Group principals Sir William Gallagher and John Gallagher as laureates.
The Hamilton-based Porter and Gallagher companies are family-owned, multi-million dollar annual global earners.
2020 Westpac Waikato Business Awards winners were:
• Not for Profit sponsored by Montana Food & Events – Wintec Student Residence Trust.
• Micro Business of the Year sponsored by Porter Group – Bear & Moo.
• Community Contribution sponsored by Foster Group – Hospice Waikato.
• Business Growth and Strategy sponsored by Deloitte – Civtec.
• Marketing and Social Media sponsored by ChowHill – Good George.
• Social and Environmental Sustainability sponsored by Wintec – NZ National Fieldays Society.
• Innovation sponsored by Company-X – MEA Mobile.
• Service Excellence sponsored by AdviSME – Civtec.
• Air New Zealand People’s Choice – Bear & Moo.
• Emerging Leader of the Year sponsored by Success Group – Jessica Fearnley (Mitre 10 Mega).
• CEO of the Year sponsored by The University of Waikato – Mike Jenkins (The Instillery).
• Westpac Waikato Business of the Year was Civtec.
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