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Some find it hard to quantify the impact of winning an award, others swear by it.  The 42-year old export awards continue to be a magnet for exporters seeking fame, recognition and marketing leverage.

The best thing for Beca about winning the supreme award at last year’s New Zealand International Business Awards has been the pride engendered within the organisation, says managing director international, Paul White.

“As a leading player in the engineering design sector, we’re proud that our projects regularly win major technical awards. However, this award has thrilled everyone at Beca by endorsing the way we do business, and giving recognition to the success of our offshore operations.

“The New Zealand media coverage [of the awards] has been invaluable in building our profile locally, particularly with potential clients and staff.

“Offshore, meanwhile, we hope to leverage the endorsement of ‘NZ Inc’ at the Shanghai Expo and similar arenas, and we anticipate that the prize money [of $100,000] will yield concrete results in terms of future project wins.

“We feel our efforts in entering have been repaid tenfold in terms of pride, profile, endorsement, staff motivation and financial reward.”


The government’s national export awards programme has been running for 42 years and was revamped last year to focus less on sectors and look more holistically at running an international business from New Zealand, says convenor of judges for the past two years, and this year, Jack Stephens, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise group general manager, international.

“We go to a lot of trouble to help people before they do stage II,” Stephens says. “It’s not just about what you are doing but how, and demonstrate that to us, such as processes for tracking performance. We base it on the old Baldridge framework.”

Winning the special category “Best Use of Research and Development in International Business” last year has helped Triodent with relationships here and overseas, says publicist Peter Watt.

The company’s trademark product overcomes one of the most difficult procedures in dentistry – filling molars.

Watt says of the win: “It’s hard to quantify but has added to the respect people have for us. We have more credibility and get action from some businesses where we may not have so easily before.

“Ninety-eight per cent of our business is overseas so perception overseas is really important. And it helps to be able to say we were New Zealand’s top company for R&D in 2009. It’s in oiling the wheels; it gets us some mana we didn’t have before. A lot more people know about us now, even domestically, due to the awards publicity as well as word of mouth.”


Emerald Foods won the 2009 “Best business $10m to $50m” category. Chief executive Shane Lamont says there has been increased credibility in overseas markets, and internally.

The win is hailed on marketing material such as websites and email signatures, especially in Asia, including Japan, where it’s particularly important.

“Staff put in a fair amount of effort to enter and the thorough process plus the external review provides validity for the company’s systems, procedures and technologies. It can be a challenge to focus on anything other than selling products,” Lamont says.

Of all the categories, “Best Use of Design in International Business” was the most suitable for winner Modtec, says Ian Cooper, head of sales and marketing.

“Just this year in Sydney we were with one of the largest furniture manufacturers in the world and we were more confident with that award behind us, and it gave them more confidence in us.

“Recognition from media articles helped secure one strong international lead and to secure an expat employee for whom we would not have been on the radar otherwise.”

 Entering was absolutely worth the effort, Cooper says.

“And it was a good night!”


Last year’s “Emerging international business leader”, Mark Eglinton, chief executive of NDA Group, says the award was generic enough to span multiple roles and has been helpful.

“It’s a good category because you need recognition of individuals and companies, but sometimes it’s hard to make that distinction because a company is a bunch of individuals,” Eglinton says.

Two-and-a-half years after the IBEX Group of Companies was supreme winner, general manager of IBEX Industries Ray Connor says his firm still promotes the achievement on its website and the back of business cards, to tout offshore.

But nothing lasts forever. “It has a limited time window. If in 2017 we are still waving that flag it will be pushing it; even 2009 was a stretch.

“Your team, products and so on change and the market moves. A lot happens in that time,” Connor says.


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