Analyzing the accolades

A review of the diverse business awards given out by Kootenay chambers of commerce

Custom jeweler Kara Clarke has won several chamber awards from the Kimberley Chamber of Commerce including Home Business of the Year. She stands in front of a wall full of hanging necklaces.

Custom jeweler Kara Clarke has won several chamber awards from the Kimberley Chamber of Commerce including Home Business of the Year. — Photo courtesy Kara Clarke

Awards celebrate passion, success, dreams put into substance.

I undertook an analysis of the annual business awards given out by chambers in Kootenay Business’s readership. What are the similarities and differences among these chamber awards?

I admit that I had an ulterior motive for analyzing these awards in that I would like to suggest that more chambers give out “green” awards.

Here’s the analysis from this data geek:

How many chambers of commerce are in Kootenay Business’s distribution area? There are 15 chambers spanning our region—from Sparwood to Grand Forks (Boundary Country chamber) and Creston to Golden (Kicking Horse chamber).

How many of these give out awards and what are these annual awards called? Eleven chambers give out annual awards. Eight of these chambers call their awards the Business Excellence Awards, but two chambers add the word “community” (Boundary Country and Fernie), which makes a lot of sense as some winners are not businesses but include non-profit organizations and individuals.

Fernie’s are called Community and Business Excellence Awards, and the Kicking Horse Chamber goes a step further and just calls them the Community Excellence Awards.

When are the awards given out? Most chambers hold their annual awards event in October to coincide with (or near to) Small Business Week, but a few do so in the spring.

How do these awards events work? These annual awards events vary by chamber but can include food, speakers, entertainment and of course opportunities for mingling and networking. At least seven chambers have businesses or non-profits sponsor the individual awards, which help offset the events’ expenses. These galas are extremely popular and are often sold out! For example, Revelstoke’s 2016 awards were given out on November 5 to a sold-out crowd of 330 people.

How many categories of awards are given out? Two chambers give out only a few awards—Nelson gives four and Sparwood hands out five. The rest of the chambers give out between 10 and 15 awards with 13 being the most common number.

What are the typical categories of awards? Typical awards include the following:

Business of the Year (or Business Person of the Year)
Tradesperson or Contractor of the Year
Employer of the Year (and Employee of the Year)
Youth-friendly Business of the Year (or Family-friendly)
Entrepreneur of the Year (and Young Entrepreneur of the Year)
Restaurant of the Year
Home-based Business of the Year
Tourism Business (or Tourism Development) of the Year
Professional Services Excellence
Manufacturing/Industrial Excellence
Non-profit Award
New Business of the Year
Community Booster (or Community Support or Community Leadership)
Customer Service Award

What are some unique categories of awards? Below are some unique awards followed by which chamber gives them out:

Creative Professional: Kimberley
Spirit of Fernie: Fernie
Lifetime Achievement: Castlegar
Business Beautification: Kicking Horse
Youth Employer Award: Revelstoke
Accommodations Excellence: Revelstoke
Team of the Year (given to a business team of workers): Fernie
People’s Choice Award: Fernie
Mayor’s Award: Kicking Horse

How many chambers give out some type of “green” award? Four chambers give out a green award: Boundary Country, Castlegar, Kimberley and Trail. The Kimberley Environmental Stewardship Excellence Award is “presented to a business that through its day-to-day operations strives to protect and enhance our natural environment.”

Given that I write a Green Scene blog, you can see why I’d like to see more chambers add this category to their annual awards list.

If you’d like to see your local chamber change or add to their awards, give them a shout as chambers are always eager to hear from their constituencies.

You can easily read all of the chambers’ 2016 awards by looking under each community’s chamber of commerce on this website.

Virginia Rasch

Virginia is a writer and editor with KPI Media. She is an avid outdoor recreationist in all seasons and has lived in the Kootenays for over 15 years. With degrees in the natural sciences, she has worked as a tour guide, an environmentalist, a writer, and an editor of books and scientific publications. Virginia now brings her passion for everything green to KootenayBiz. View all of Virginia Rasch’s articles

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