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Address by chief judge Small Business Awards 2010
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29 November 2010

ADDRESS BY CHIEF JUDGE

DIWAN CHAND, MANAGER AGRICULTURE

2010 SMALL BUSINESS AWARDS

Chief Guest, Mr. Michael Joe

Members of the FDB Board

CEO, Ratu Deve Toganivalu and members of the Bank’s Executive Committee

Valued sponsors from – FINTEL, Reserve Bank of Fiji, New India Assurance, Goodman Fielder/Crest Chicken, and the Fiji Sun;

Invited guests, ladies and gentlemen.

It is my honour this evening to briefly share with you the process taken and the criteria used in assessing the entries for the 2010 Small Business Awards.

At the close of the competition on 24September 2010, we received a total of 48 entries, 20 more than last year. It was encouraging to note that some entries from previous years had re-entered the competition.

The entries were received under six categories, namely Agriculture, Wholesale &Retail, Manufacturing, Professional Services, Tourism, and Open category.

The total number of entries received under each category after some reclassification was:

Agriculture                              14

Wholesale/Retail                      12

Manufacturing                          3

Professional/Services               3

Tourism                                   4

Open                                        12

Each of the category winners this evening will walk away with $1,500 in cash. The overall winner will collected an additional $3000.00 in prize.

The three (3) most important criteria under which businesses could submit their entries were:

·        That they have gross annual sales of no more than $100,000; and

·        That they be in operation for a minimum of six months at the time of submitting the entry.

·        That the business is 100% locally owned.

Based on these guidelines, 5 entries submitted under Agriculture, and Wholesale & Retail Categories were disqualified because their annual sales turn over far exceeded the maximum limit of $100,000. One entrant withdrew from the competition in the very last minute.

The remaining 42 entries were then judged based on 3 broad assessment criteria of

Business Growth, Sustainability and Future Plans.

The judging panel comprised of team of 3 experienced lending officers from the Bank’s Head office in Suva, 2 of who have served as assessors in previous competitions.

At this juncture, I would like to acknowledge the valuable contribution of my fellow judges:  Jone Sovalawa and Ikapote Vanua.

The judging process adopted this year was slightly different from previous years in that physical inspection of the shortlisted projects was introduced. The 1st round of judging was an independent in-house assessment of the business proposals as submitted on paper by the 3 Judges. Points were awarded and then averaged out to select the best 3 proposals from each category.  

In the 2nd round of assessment the judges travelled around the country travelling as far as Wainunu in Bua visiting the short listed entrants to physically inspect their respective projects, looked at book records, and interviewed them to get a better understanding of their business. One thing that came out very strongly was that some entries that were not presented well on paper turned to be well managed businesses. Based on these additional findings, category winners were then determined.

The winning entries along with those who didn’t make the final cut in the respective categories were then presented for scrutiny by the category sponsors, whom I am pleased to relay, agreed with judge’s selection.  

Apart from selecting the individual category winners, we also had the difficult task of selecting the Overall Winner.

In declaring the overall winner, we had to look beyond points scored and consider other factors such as -

·        Uniqueness of the project;

·        Project location, strengths and challenges encountered during establishment

·        Knowledge and skill level of the entrant;

·        Use of natural resources

·        Potential for growth; and

·        Contribution to the economy.

That has been a brief run-down of the assessment and I now hand you over to the MC to get on with the main event, the awarding of 2010 Small Business Awards.

Thank you for listening.

Vinaka Vakalevu

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