Awards ceremony pays tribute to stalwarts

Emotional moments at the Tenth Annual Event

Venkat Raman

Nine years ago, we conceptualised an Awards Scheme to recognise, reward and celebrate the success of Indian businesses in New Zealand and structured a system of entries and their evaluation by a panel of judges that would be fiercely independent of this newspaper.

We were determined to enhance the value of the service that we render to the community, confident of bringing the independence, credibility, honesty and most important of all, confidentiality to the Awards Scheme.

The Pioneering Sponsors

The Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards (INLIBA) became a reality on November 19, 2008, thanks to the then Waitakere City Council, its the then Mayor Sir Bob Harvey, the then Chief Executive Vijaya Vaidyanath, the then Waitakere Enterprise Chief Executive John Wadsworth, other sponsors, judges and entrants.

It was a modest enterprise but conducted with confidence and diligence to create an opportunity for our businesses to showcase their performance and celebrate their success with others.

We were not wrong. INLIBA has been growing year-after-year and today, political, business and community leaders regard it as an important event in the country’s calendar to applaud successful entrepreneurs.

New Categories

The starting point was of course the Awards Scheme itself. We started with eight individual categories and one Supreme Business of the Year Award and over the years, effected changes – adding and deleting categorises based on the suggestions of sponsors, entrants and judges.

The Awards Progamme this year comprised 14 individual categories, one additional Commemoration Award (based on the suggestion of our panel of judges) and the Supreme Business of the Year Award.

They are (1) Business Excellence in Retail Trade (2) Business Excellence in Innovation (3) Business Excellence in Marketing (4) Business Excellence in Customer Service (5) Best Employer of Choice (6) Best Small Business (7) Best Medium Sized Business (8) Best Large Business (9) Business Excellence in International Business with India (10) Best Financial Advisor (Mortgage) of the Year (11) Best Financial Advisor (Insurance) of the Year (12) Best Accountant of the Year (13) Best Young Entrepreneur of the Year (14) Best Businesswoman of the Year and (15) Commemorative Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence and Supreme Business of the Year.

Our Judges

Our Panel of Judges comprised five experts in the first year. Chad Wilkie, Convenor of the Panel, expanded it to include ten judges. Our judges are reputed and responsible, with the requisite expertise, talent and unimpeachable integrity.

Mr Wilkie said there was a strong entry group across the board, and good finalists in each category that made it tough for the judges to pick winners.

“We had a very experienced group of independent judges who went through a rigorous process of evaluation to select the very best company in each category.”

Mr Wilkie and the judging panel have demonstrated high levels of professionalism and independence, taking IBA to a class of its own.

Awards Night Ceremony

Tribute to Raman (Ray) Ranchhod. Lalitha Ranchhod with the Tribute with (from left) Bill English, Jacinda Ardern, Mahesh, Remela and Tejal Ranchhod

The Awards Night, a Gala Black Tie Dinner, held at the SkyCity Convention Centre on November 27, 2017 was a spectacular event, with a very large gathering of people interacting with each other and networking for commercial opportunities.

They were also able to greet individually Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Opposition Leader Bill English, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford, Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, more than 15 Members of Parliament and several other dignitaries.

Michele A’Court, a celebrity entertainer was the Master of Ceremonies and proved instantly why she is a popular host.

Performing Artistes

A classical dance by Ratna Venkat, accompanied by vocalist Ashish Ramakrishnan and the ‘Gurus of Groove’ band comprising Joseph Alexander (Electronic Drums), Joscel Alexander (Acoustic Drums), Hemant Thaker (Keyboard), Carlyle Fernandes (Lead Guitar) and Ron Pereira added colour, rhythm and melody to the evening. The ‘Gurus’ also provided musical interludes.

The Tenth Annual Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards had some finer, emotional and gratuitous moments. We paid tribute to the late Raman (Ray) Ranchhod who passed away on June 6, 2017 and Wenceslaus Anthony, who left for his heavenly abode on July 23, 2017; paid our gratitude to Sir Bob Harvey, BNZ Indian Community Banking Head Ansuya Naidoo, Spy Glass National Sales Manager Karl Anderson, Ratna Venkat, Joseph Alexander, Joscel Alexander and Hemant Thaker.

Speaking at the inaugural Awards Night, Sir Bob had said that the potential for business relations between New Zealand and India was huge and that all the entrants to the Awards scheme this year would be part of an exciting future.

“I am certain that the awards will grow in both size and significance,” he had said.

Prophesies are divine inspirations that always come true.

Pictures by Creative Eye Fotographics)

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