(10am 29 June 2012, Town Hall Vestibule)
Hello, everyone, welcome to the launch of our 2012 City of Sydney Business Awards. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nationalities who make up our city.
The City's Awards program has been operating since 2003 - open to any of the thousands of small and medium businesses across our Local Government Area.
It's been enthusiastically taken up by the business community, with the participation rate doubling over the years to reach 640 nominated businesses and a staggering 67,000 votes in 2011. We expect this year's totals will set a new record.
A thriving and creative small-to-medium business sector is very much part of our vision for Sustainable Sydney 2030. It brings distinctiveness, diversity and liveliness to the streets of our CBD and urban villages.
So we're pleased by the ever-growing level of participation in the awards, with participants from right across the City's economy - from cafes to cultural institutions; from virtual businesses operating on the internet, to manufacturing, charities, nightclubs and many others.
There's a category for Bicycle Business while the awards also recognise good social and community work through categories such as Environmental Business, Fair Trade Business and the Lord Mayor's Sustainability Award.
The questionnaires on which the finalists are scored also factor in social responsibility through questions on sustainability planning and community activity.
The awards create a platform for marking and promoting these businesses through numerous media outlets and in the local community.
They provide participating business-owners with an opportunity for networking and building long-term partnerships within the business community and for increasing the exposure of their business to the public, to partners and sponsors. Social Media is a growing part of the awards, with a new LinkedIn group and a very active Facebook community.
And of course, there are generous prizes offered by our sponsors.
Nominations and voting open today, and close on August 10, so there's not much time to waste!
The winners will be announced at the Awards Dinner, to be held on October 10 at Westin Sydney, and hosted by David Koch.
Once again, I thank our sponsors for their generosity and constant support, especially ANZ Bank, our Major Partner for the fifth consecutive year, and I welcome our new Major Partner, Google.
I thank EnergyAustralia, sponsoring the Lord Mayor's Sustainable Business Award, also for the fifth consecutive year and Sponsors:
- TAFE NSW Sydney Institute
- Hayes Knight Accountancy
- Quick-Clips, and
- Our Media Partner, Central Magazine.
Thanks to all of you for coming here this morning and helping us spread the word on the 2012 Business Awards. I'd now like to introduce Ron Allum, whose company, Deepsea Systems, helped take James Cameron to the bottom of the ocean.