7 Mar 2012

The countdown has begun for small and medium businesses to enter the 2012 Telstra Australian Business Awards, with only four weeks remaining to complete an entry before submissions close.

For the second year, Australians will be able to vote for their favourite business in the 1300Australia / Telstra Phonewords People’s Choice Award – open to all entrants of the Telstra Australian Business Awards. Voting opens Wednesday 4 April, after the close of entries for the Awards on 2 April.

Gavin Scholes, CEO, Telstra Phonewords (now 1300 Australia) said the Awards provide small and medium businesses with the opportunity to gain valuable attention and increase their business profile.

“Australian SMBs are doing it tough this year in our current economic climate and the People’s Choice Award will recognise those great local businesses chosen by members of the community, customers, suppliers and employees who know them best,” Mr Scholes said.

Steven Perissinotto, director of online retailer of animal health products, VetShopAustralia.com.au, and a 2011 People’s Choice Award winner, said the Award provided the business with exposure that has supported 15 per cent growth over the past year.

“Despite the tightness in the retail sector there are growth opportunities for small and medium businesses online. There is no doubt that if you’re not already online, you should be. As more people look online we’ve seen a dramatic increase in sales which goes to show you need to be where your customers are,” he said.

Mr Perissinotto’s view is supported by recent data from the Commonwealth Bank1 which shows growth in total online retail spending grew by 36.5 per cent to $12.9billion over the past year.

The latest Telstra Business Back to Business Survey2 also shows 36 per cent of small businesses intend develop an increased online presence as a way to spur growth in 2012.

After entries close, the Australian public can vote in the 1300Australia / Telstra Phonewords People’s Choice Awards for their favourite business via the Awards website and the Awards Facebook application.

Members of the public may vote as many times as they would like before midnight on 28 May, however voting is limited to one vote per person for each eligible business, Five finalists in each state and territory will be invited to their respective events, where the winner in each state and territory will receive prizes worth $2,000.

The 2012 Telstra Australian Business Awards have five Award categories including the HTC Start-Up Award, News Limited Micro-Business Award, MYOB Small Business Award, Commonwealth Bank Medium Business Award and the Telstra Regional Award.

State and territory winners of the five Award categories will go on to the Telstra Australian Business Awards in Sydney on 29 August 2012 where the 2012 Telstra Australian Business of the Year will be announced.

For information on entering the Awards call the Telstra Business Awards Team on the phone word – 1800 AWARDS.