Group asks for support to give local businesses STARS treatment

Councillors here are willing to spend an extra bit of cash to send local business people to the STARS.

Dave Barrett, manager of Saugeen Economic Develop­ment is asking for financial help to better recognize local businesses. He was at council on Oct. 1 about the Oct. 29 Saugeen Territory Awards of Recognition and Success (STARS).

Nominations come from businesses and citizens in the following categories:

– Young Entrepreneur of the Year;

– Entrepreneur of the Year;

– Corporate Citizen of the Year;

– Company of the Year (under 15 employees);

– Company of the Year (over 15 employees); and

– Customer Service Ex­cellence Award

The six awards are presented at an gala evening annually held in Arthur.

The event offers many opportunities for businesses to network and highlight their services.

The STARS in business awards project relies entirely on businesses supporting businesses. Funding for the project is through a strongly visible spon­sorship program. The STARS in business awards have enjoyed much success since 2003.

The Saugeen Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with the local chambers of commerce and business associations, is very proud of the businesses and entrepreneurs in their area. The awards project was initiated to help celebrate and recognize those businesses and entrepreneurs, and to provide an opportunity for businesses to become more visible in the larger Saugeen Territory, comprising of the municipalities of Chats­worth, Grey Highlands, Minto, Southgate, and Wellington North.

Barrett offered an update to what is happening, and noted there were 22 nominations in Minto. While he expressed his thanks for past support, he sought further support to “stabilize” funding for the event.

Barrett said the intent is to run the gala on a break-even basis – but the results vary year to year. One year resulted in a profit of $4,000, while last year’s ended with a deficit of $6,000.

He said in the past five years, Minto has been well represented as winners in various categories. This year’s request in­volves a new municipal spon­sorship program.

He said in the past, Minto has been quite good with combined sponsorship (including event tickets) of roughly $700.

But this year, Barrett said organizers want to recognize the nominees as well as the winners. To do that, he requested a two-year commitment of $1,000 per year.

“We are trying to do a better job of recognizing the nominees,” and the sponsorship will also allow the organizers to bud­get better.

Mayor David Anderson  commended the group on the work it has done promoting local businesses. He did, however, note the gala is generally set for the same night as a regularly scheduled council meeting.

Last year, council chose to move its meeting date.

“It was worth it to see the successes of our local business people,” Anderson said.

Barrett stated small and medium size businesses are the backbone of Ontario’s economy. Council’s resolution was to agree to provide financial sponsorship of $1,000 this year.