Agribusinesses urged to participate in prestigious business awards

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Previous winners are encouraging businesses in the agriculture and horticulture sectors to take part in the upcoming 2013 Telstra Business Awards, with entry opening 11 February.

Agribusinesses urged to participate in prestigious business awards
Shima Wasabi's Stephen Welsh with a box of freshly harvested wasabi

Tasmanian Business Shima Wasabi who won a national Telstra Award last year has experienced a 25 per cent jump in customer base after clinching the award. Owner Stephen Welsh says the application process provides a good opportunity for them to carry out strategic planning.

"Rarely in small business can you take the time out to plan for the future," he says.

Mr Welsh says the business is now attracting larger and international customers, giving them additional exporting opportunities.

"The most valuable experience was the chance to rub shoulders with the best in Australian business outside our own industry and share in their inspiring stories, experiences and tips for success," he says.

Shima Wasabi is Australia's only commercial producer of authentic wasabi with the largest crop in the southern hemisphere. The rare plant is notoriously difficult to grow outside of its native Japan.

Other recent award winning primary producers include Blackmore Holdings (VIC), Beerenberg Farm (SA), Plants Management Australia and M & J Baker Farms (TAS) and Brookfarm (NSW).

Organisers Telstra are also urging Australians to nominate businesses they think deserve the accolade.

Telstra Business Group Managing Director and Awards Ambassador Will Irving says nominating businesses early gives them time to prepare their entry and in turn increase their chances of success.

"Over the past 21 years, these national awards have celebrated the best of Australia's small and medium businesses," he says.

"One of the reasons why they are so respected is the rigour of the entry and judging process, so the earlier businesses are nominated and start their entries are better," he says.

CEO of the 2012 Telstra Australian Business of the Year, advices businesses interested in having a go to spend quality time on the entry process.

"Don't do it on the fly," says Jason Wyatt.

"Get your head around the questions, start thinking through your answers and make sure you send a cracking submission," he says.

Nominations can be made at or by calling 1800AWARDS. Entries for the 2013 Awards can be submitted from 11 February until 4 April.

The five Awards categories are for start-up, micro, small, medium and regional businesses.

Irving says a benefit of entry is a free individual 70-page Business Health Check report, based on international benchmarking standards, which is available to all entrants.

"We offer all entrants the opportunity to evaluate their business performance against core business indicators which is an excellent tool for helping businesses to grow their knowledge today in preparation for tomorrow."

Finalists and winners  will not only receive accolades but also public exposure, a share of $500,000 in cash and business products; and the privilege of joining an exclusive national business alumni.

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