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Northland Business Excellence Awards part of rescue helicopter Trust success



Morris and Furze helicopter-88A former winner of the NorthChamber Northland Business Excellence awards is encouraging local businesses to test themselves by entering the awards.

Vanessa Furze, from the Northland Rescue Helicopter, says the awards process helped with identifying the areas that needed further development in their business model.

“We learnt a great deal from the first time we entered the awards. After receiving the judges feedback, we went away and looked at our business, identified the gaps and set about working harder on making processes and protocols much stronger,” says Mrs Furze.

And that was the beginning of the Trusts’ journey to success.

Fast forward two years to 2017 and the Northland Rescue Helicopter was a landslide success, taking awards in four categories – Medium Sized Business, Workplace Safety, Not-for-Profit and the overall Supreme Award.

“If we are honest, we developed a different management and governance structure two years after we first entered,” says CFO Tony Morris.

“Although we are a charity, we were a lot more business-like in our thinking by introducing a more in-depth strategic plan, business and financial forecasting, policies and procedures. And that happened by appointing a general manager into the business to drive that change.

“We certainly did not expect to win four awards. We were hoping we would do well in the Workplace Safety category and the Not-for-Profit Organisation category.

“Winning the awards has given us a sense of reassurance that the changes we implemented were working and allowing us to meet our goals that we had set.”

Gaining experience with the Baldridge model also gave the charity a very clear understanding of what was required in the business to ensure there was strong substance in its entries, with governance, finance and HR being key components.

It is also imperative to have the full support of management and/or the Board to back the entry process.

“We think it’s great for businesses in Northland to enter but make sure you put the effort in and do it properly.”

Principal award sponsors Top Energy and Northpower believe the Rescue Helicopter journey to success is testament to the strength of the Northland Business Excellence Awards.

Ironically, Top Energy and Northpower have been principal sponsors of the service since it launched in 1988.

NorthChamber CEO Steve Smith says his organisation’s mission is to inspire and influence business vitality.

“Vitality is defined as ‘a state of strong and active energy’ and the Northland Business Excellence Awards process is an excellent way that a business can review, energise and activate their business,” says Mr Smith.

n Most entries close on July 30 and participating in the Northland Business Excellence Awards is free. For more information visit northlandbusinessawards.co.nz or call NorthChamber on 09 438 4771.


Tony Morris and Vanessa Furze say the business awards made the Northland Rescue Helicopter Trust examine then improve its business model. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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