The Grand Business South Awards, which are presented every two years and are the southern region’s premier celebration of business excellence, were presented at a gala dinner at Dunedin Town Hall.
Oritain Global won the Science and Technology Excellence award before being named the top winner.
Based in Otago, the pioneering company is a global leader in using forensic science to determine the product origin of food, beverage, fiber and pharmaceuticals.
It has evolved from its origins at the University of Otago – where it was developed by Prof. Russell Frew and Dr. Helen Darling – developed into a niche player in a specialized area of the global market.
Now led by Chief Executive Grant Cochrane, the company’s customers range from luxury goods and government organizations to leading food, wine and fiber brands.
Earlier this year, the company opened its fifth global office in Washington DC to accommodate rapid growth and better serve its commercial and government partners.
At this time, the company said it is working to expand its verticals in America by entering new markets with strong commercial partnerships with Cotton USA, Supima and Theory.
These included hemp, red meat, pharmaceuticals, coffee, cocoa, wood, polysciliates, and rare extracts (including diamonds and gold).
The opening of another global office highlighted the increasing importance of environmental, social and governance issues to businesses, consumers and markets in general.
A heightened sense of consumer responsibility has prompted brands to take steps to secure and verify the provenance of products beyond traditional paper and digital traceability approaches.
The jury commented that Oritain Global’s science-based solutions solve a growing global problem by protecting the reputation of brands around the world from opportunists who seek to defraud, fake and exploit the branding aspirations of global exporters.
The jury consisted of Dominique Dowding (The Grand Casino), Jarrod Chisholm (Findex), John Guthrie (Transition to Work), Frank Gibbons (Air New Zealand) and David Kiddey (Kiddey Consulting), assisted by specialist judges Ronda Tokona and Janine Tindall – Morice, Angela Davis and Matthew Holdridge.
There were 54 finalists in 18 categories.
The judges were impressed by the quality of the applicants and were excited to hear about their achievements and inspiring leaders.
The panel evaluated more than 100 applications and interviewed all shortlisted candidates, said Mike Collins, CEO of Business South.
The jury introduced a new category this year, the Young Entrepreneur Award, to recognize an aspiring entrepreneur with “unlimited potential” in the business world.
That recognition went to 16-year-old Georgia Latu, the founder and CEO of Potiki Poi, now the largest poi manufacturer in the world.
Georgia had received various awards since she started making poi in her living room for a school fundraiser.
She won the Young Maori Business Leader at last month’s Maori Business Awards and the Supreme Trailblazer Award at the GirlBoss Awards – which honored young women with a passion for their community and the environment.
Wider whanau helped the young businesswoman complete orders including one from the Women’s Rugby World Cup to earn 32,000 poi.
The judges described her as a “true entrepreneur” who took her love for poi and shared it at retail locations across New Zealand.
Josie Spillane, Managing Director of Highlands — Experience the Exceptional, was recognized as Leader of the Year.
The jury said their leadership and enthusiasm for the company, employees and customers was contagious.
“She has broken the glass ceiling in the world of motorsport in New Zealand, driving a diverse portfolio of companies that exceeds all corporate goals,” they said.
– Supreme Grand Business Excellence Award: Origin Global.
– Leader of the Year: Josie Spillane, Managing Director of Highlands – Experience the extraordinary.
– Distinguished Leader Award (chosen by the Mayor of Dunedin, Jules Radich): the Marsh family.
– Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Georgia Latu, Potiki Poi.
– audience award: Whistle & Pop.
– Excellence in Service: Fable Dunedin.
– Retail Excellence: Miter 10 MEGA Wanaka.
– Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality: iFLY Indoor Skydiving Queenstown.
– Excellence in the nonprofit sector: Draw between Whakaata Tohu Tohu/Mirror Services and KiwiHarvest.
– Excellence in Basic Industries: Milk from the Mataura Valley.
– Manufacturing excellence: United Machinists.
– Excellence in Science and Technology: Origin Global.
– Export Excellence: Farra Engineering.
– Emerging Business: Per civil construction.
– Maori shop: youth employment success.
– Brand strategy and planning: Richard Joseph & Associates.
– Innovation: Come home safely.
– Business sustainability and resilience: Cleans Apparelmaster and Linenmaster.
– Business integrity: Boarding school Tolcarne.
– Prevention of accidents at work: Downer NZ.