We get that there is a tonne of information to absorb and understand when it comes to entering the Awards.

That is why we’ve put together this list of FAQs. If you have any questions you would like to see added to the list, please get in touch.


What is the portal address?

How do I log into the portal?
You must create a new username and password. The portal has undergone a number of changes this year, and as a result, every user MUST create a new profile, regardless of whether you have entered before.


What date do the Awards open?
Wednesday 17 May, 10.30am

What date do the Awards close?
Tuesday 27 June, 5.00pm

When do I need to be available for interviews?
Interviews are conducted between Thursday 20 July and Tuesday 8 August.


Do I need to be a Shoalhaven Business Chamber member to enter the Awards?
No you don’t, the Awards are open to all businesses in the Shoalhaven (definition of ‘business in the Shoalhaven’ outlined in terms and conditions 2.3).

Can I enter a category that I won last year?
Yes. However, if you went on to the Illawarra Awards, and you also won your category there, then you cannot enter the same category again. For example, if you won Excellence in Business at the Shoalhaven Awards in 2016, and you then went on to win Excellence in Business at the Illawarra Awards (in 2016), you cannot enter it again until 2018. If you were a finalist in the Illawarra Awards, but did not win, you may enter the same category again this year.

Why can’t I enter a category that I won at the Illawarra Awards in consecutive years?
This is a condition set by NSW Business Chamber. As the Shoalhaven aligns with the NSW Business Chamber, we must abide by their terms and conditions.

Are there any restrictions on categories I won prior to 2016?
No, unless you have been admitted to the Hall of Fame for winning (that same category) three times. Then, you can no longer enter that category.

Can I get someone else to complete my entry?
Yes, in fact there are business owners who already do this, and it is quite common across many award programs. If writing is not your strong suit, consider delegating it to someone else. Many businesses do this to eliminate time being a barrier to entry. It’s important that you work with the person writing the entry to ensure it’s in line with your expectations, and to ensure you are clear on what is in your entry, should you make it to interview.

Isn’t that ‘cheating’/giving an unfair advantage?
Excellent business leaders are not necessarily skilled at crafting compelling business writing. And you may have an incredible story, but not know the best way to tell it. It is completely feasible to run an exceptional business, but have poor spelling, poor grammar, poor sentence structure, or not know how to effectively and convincingly use the English language to your advantage. If this sounds like you, by outsourcing the writing element of your submission, you are giving yourself the best possible chance of creating a winning entry. Organisations such as Proof Communications, a Sydney-based business-to-business writing consultancy, specialise in writing business award entries. They can not only write, edit and proof your entry, they can help you uncover valuable information that will ensure you stand out from the crowd.

Do I need to answer the ‘Inclusion’ and ‘Social Responsibility questions in each category in order to enter that category?
No, you do not. These questions still contribute towards your entry in your chosen category, but they will also provide you with an entry into their respective Awards. Think of it as three bites of the cherry; one Award entry actually gives you the chance to be a finalist in three awards!

Will I be interviewed if I am selected as a finalist for Excellence in Inclusion or Excellence in Social Responsibility?
Yes you will. If the judges from the Inclusion and Social Responsibility Awards select your response to be a finalist, they will need to interview you specifically to understand more about your business and how it relates to Inclusion and/or Social Responsibility.

Can’t I just enter the Excellence in Inclusion or Social Responsibility categories?
The only way to enter and be a finalist in these categories is to enter another category. Why is this? We feel that these are important considerations for all businesses. We want to generate awareness about the need for inclusiveness and social responsibility in all business operations.

Does my written entry count towards my final assessment?
Yes it does. The final selection of a category winner is a combination of your written application and your interview.

Can I enter the Awards if I am sponsoring?
Yes you may. You cannot enter the category that you are sponsoring, but you may enter any other category.

Can I enter the Awards if I am judging?
No, you cannot enter if you are also judging. This is because each judge plays a role in selecting Business of the Year, which would create a conflict of interest.

Will the sponsor of my category see my entry?
No, the sponsors provide funds to make the Awards possible, but there is no relationship between sponsor of a category and the judge of that category. The only exclusion to this is the Excellence in Inclusion category, which is sponsored by Hansa Sailing and where one of the judges will be Jackie Kay (from Hansa Sailing).

Become a Member

Members of the Shoalhaven Business Chamber get access to a large number of benefits.