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Celebrating success . . . Members of the Oamaru Business Collective Committee (from left) Simon Berry, Cara Tipping Smith, Jeremy Holding, Annabel Berry, Cathy Maaka, Dawn Brown and Rachael Keen, with daughter Harper Keen (3), are excited to launch voting for the first category of the Oamaru Business Collective Awards. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/RACHEL WYBROW

Let the voting begin.

After more than 1300 nominations were received, voting for the first category of the inaugural Oamaru Business Collective Awards has officially opened.

The first category is best new or emerging business. There are 13 businesses nominated, all listed in today’s Oamaru Mail alongside the voting form on P9. Votes can also be cast online at oamarubusinesscollective.net.

Oamaru Business Collective chairwoman Cara Tipping Smith said over the next six weeks, each of the award categories would be put to the public vote in the Oamaru Mail, with the winners being announced at an awards ceremony dinner in October.

“We’re asking the public to get behind our local businesses and vote for their favourite new or emerging business this week,” Ms Tipping Smith said.

Last weekend, nominations were tallied and the committee emailed businesses to inform them they had been nominated, and which categories they had been nominated for. A total of 1328 nominations and 322 through the Oamaru Mail collection box received.

“Every one of the Oamaru Business Collective members received at least one nomination and some received over 40 individual nominations,” Ms Tipping Smith said.

“We’re delighted to see locals supporting locals.”

The Oamaru Business Collective committee was “thrilled” with the response to the inaugural awards, and it was “super” exciting to share the good news with the nominated businesses, she said.

Voting for each category will close at 5pm on the following Thursday. Next Friday, voting will open for best hospitality business of the year.

Tickets have also gone on sale for the awards ceremony dinner on October 2, and are available online at oamaru-business-collective.myshopify.com.

The event includes a three course dinner, the awards ceremony and live music until late. Tickets are $75 each, and numbers are limited to 180.

“We think it’s a great opportunity to celebrate with your team, so do get in early to make sure you don’t miss out,” Ms Tipping Smith said.