The annual Berrigan Shire Business Awards will take a new shape this year, with a re-energised format.
Berrigan Shire economic development officer Phil Nunn said Berrigan Shire Council will move towards a ‘business week’ format this April, in place of the existing awards night only celebration.
The week will still include the awards and special gala dinner, but will also include a host of additional activities and events.
An employment expo and business development program including workshops and forums will allow for the celebration and promotion of local business to last an entire week.
‘‘The decision was made to try re-launch and re-energise the employment expo, to make it even more interesting and to better serve the interest of shire based businesses,’’ Mr Nunn said.
‘‘It will increase awareness of and promote Berrigan Shire businesses, and further enhance the value of the Business and Environment Awards process, whilst also trying to encourage businesses to be looking at continually improving their operations.
‘‘It will encourage students to consider developing a working career in the region, and encourage employers to try to create employment pathways for our young people.’’
The business development workshops, designed to improve business operations, will cover topics such as marketing, customer service, using the internet for business development and business planning.
Mr Nunn said there is also an intention to offer training in event management, either during the business week or at another time of the year.
Subject to confirming arrangements with schools and employers, the employment expo component of the week will outline the possibilities that exist for young people to forge a future in the region.
‘‘It is only one part of a broader career education program run by the schools, but council thinks it’s important to outline an alternative to moving away from the region to live and work,’’ Mr Nunn said.
‘‘The expo, however, can only be successful if we can enlist the support of business operators to promote employment, career and business opportunities within the region.
‘‘Hopefully, we can engage the students with an array of information and contacts that set them thinking that there is a possible working future in the region.’’
Fitting in with the aim of the employment expo, the shire also hopes to launch its ‘Work, Live and Invest in Berrigan’ initiative, but Mr Nunn said it is ‘‘still a work in progress’’.
‘‘This is still being developed, but it is designed to portray Berrigan Shire as a good place with lots of potential to develop a business operation, or to come work or train here.
‘‘The whole aim of these changes is to increase the recognition of Berrigan Shire as a good place to live, work, train and invest.’’
Changes will also be made to the awards part of the business week, the highlight still being the gala presentation night on April 17.
New award categories will be introduced this year, Mr Nunn said.
‘‘There will be greater recognition of new business operators, tourism and hospitality businesses as they are seen to be a key part of our future economic prosperity.
‘‘It also aims to highlight that events offer a great way to bring visitors to the region, thus promoting Berrigan as a place to live, visit and do business.’’
Each town’s business chamber or advancement group will be encouraged to nominate worthy businesses for each award category.
Individual members of the community can also nominate any business they feel contributed positively to the economy or environment of the region.
‘‘Local people tend to have a pretty good understanding of how businesses are being operated, and have the capacity to recognise those that are doing it well,’’ Mr Nunn said.
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