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Get nominating . . . Looking forward to receiving nominations for the inaugural Oamaru Business Collective Awards are (from left) committee members Rachael Keen, Cathy Maaka, Jeremy Holding, Dawn Brown, secretary Tanya Ribbens, and Annabel and Simon Berry. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN

The Oamaru Business Collective Awards are an “amazing opportunity” to show local businesses some love, Cara Tipping Smith says.

Nominations for the inaugural awards open today, and the Oamaru Business Collective chairwoman is encouraging everyone to “get out and start nominating your favourites”.

A list of all 69 participating businesses is printed in today’s Oamaru Mail, along with a nomination form. People can nominate the businesses for any of the six categories: best new/emerging business, best hospitality business, best trade, best professional service, best shop and best customer service personality.

“Anyone can nominate all the nominations, I think, show real support for local businesses,” Ms Tipping Smith said.

“It’s a chance to put a favourite business in the spotlight, and it’s really great encouragement for those businesses that you value.”

The Oamaru Business Collective launched the awards earlier this month. Ms Tipping Smith said the committee wanted to create something positive for the town during the winter months, and bring the business and wider community together to celebrate.

It was also a way to acknowledge the challenges for businesses post-lockdown, but more importantly, recognise their strength, aptitude and resilience, she said.

“This is a chance for us all to celebrate the contribution that local businesses make to our community.

“We can’t wait to find out which businesses will be nominated for which award. I’m excited to see what happens next.”

Nominations close on August 13 and voting starts on August 20. The first category to vote for will be best new and emerging business.

“That’s going to be cool, to see some of those brave people who’ve made the start in the last three years and have them celebrated first,” Ms Tipping Smith said.

“And there’s some really good new businesses that we’ve got in town.”

Ms Tipping Smith said there was a real buzz in the business community about the awards.

“That sense of excitement, and that elbow nudging; ‘Are you in? Are you doing it?’ and that group coming together is great.”

Nominations can also be made online at oamarubusinesscollective.net. All of the nominated businesses, so long as they meet the criteria, will be eligible to be voted the winner of the category.