Anthony Fox, Armidale Business Chamber

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This month instead of showcasing a single business owner, we are highlighting an opportunity for the whole small business community to shine in our immediate region. Mr Anthony Fox, taking on the role of President of the Armidale Business Chamber at the June 2018 AGM, will be talking to us about the 2018 Armidale Regional Business Awards.

Tell us about the Chamber …

The Chamber’s purpose is to inspire, energise, and resource local businesses by: creating connections and helping forge stronger business networks; promoting change and innovation; facilitating quality training and development; and recognising business excellence.

What’s coming up?

Apart from our regular end of month networking drinks, sponsored by Regional Australia Bank, our focus is squarely on the 2018 Armidale Business Chamber Awards. Nominations are open now, and entries close on 6th July!

Why does the Chamber put so much emphasis on the Business Awards?

There’s so much innovation and great work being done by Armidale businesses – the Awards aim to recognise their achievements and to help inspire innovation and development in the broader business community, as well as employees of business. We should celebrate our success, sometimes in difficult circumstances. Operating a business in regional NSW can be tough going. The Awards night provides us with an opportunity to relax and celebrate. The Awards should also allow our community to find out more about a diverse range of businesses often operating under the radar of most of us.

The Awards are about people – the people who run a business, and those who work within it, and without whom the business would not thrive.

How can a business benefit from entering the Awards?

More than just locally recognising business success. The awards can also raise the profile of our businesses across the region and even the state, opening up invaluable opportunities for networking and collaboration.

In previous years, local winners have gone on not only to represent Armidale at the New England North West Awards but also at state level. In fact, in 2017, five Armidale businesses out of thirteen categories went on to represent the New England North West at state level.

We also spoke to winner of the Excellence in Small Business category, Ross Patch of the Daily Ritual. Ross said, “As a small regionally-based retailer, it was an honour to represent Armidale at the state level and a real boost to be recognised by my own community. My staff and customers really shared my pleasure in the win.”

What Award categories are there this year?

This year, we will have 18 Award categories, recognising achievement in a range of areas: such as innovation, sustainability, outstanding employee, and enterprising woman, as well as all-round excellence in small business. 2018 will introduce a new Award – Excellence in Workplace Inclusion, which recognises businesses that address the needs of a diverse community, including seniors, people from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, and people with disability.

The 2018 Chamber Business Awards will also host three Customer Service Awards, with the popular Customer Service – Retail Award, helping profile local retailers who are finding innovative ways to give customers a better experience in their stores and to manage their businesses more efficiently. The Awards will also recognise local tradie heroes – as well as businesses in the food and entertainment areas – so important for the development of tourism. This Award also includes customer service in the Armidale region.

Who can enter?

Anyone can nominate a local business they think deserves recognition. And this is so important, as many businesses are too modest to “blow their own trumpet”. And of course, self-entry is permissible; we have so many businesses that fly under the radar in our community, and this ensures they have the opportunity to be recognised for their successes.

Do you have to be a member to enter?

The Awards are open to all business in Armidale, Guyra, Uralla and Walcha, and you don’t need to be a member to enter.

How do you enter?

Nominations and Awards entry are now open at – and will run through to 6th July 2018. For further information, see the Chamber website – – or contact the Armidale Business Chamber on 6771 1177.

Any advice for a business preparing their Awards submission?

Write about your business journey, your strategy, your outcomes, your celebration. When answering, use examples to demonstrate your approach, initiatives or successes. And when asked for measurable results and outcomes, use actuals, not percentages. The judges are seeking to determine the credibility of your entry. Before you start, doublecheck your eligibility for the category. We also encourage you to enter more than one category.

The New South Wales Business Chamber has some great tips available online at And of course, feel free to call us to get specific advice.

When will the Awards night be held?

The Awards Gala Night will be held at the Armidale Bowling Club on 10th August 2018. The Gala Awards Night is a great night out, and in recent years it has sold out, so we encourage you to book early. I’m looking forward to hearing the success stories that will emerge from this year’s Awards program.

Thanks Anthony.

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