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Region’s Innovation Awards a tough judging job

One of the biggest ever fields of entrants in the Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) Innovation Awards have now been judged and it was a challenging task, according to RDA Northern Inland Executive Officer, Nathan Axelsson. “The level of entries was extremely high and it was very difficult to separate out the winners. We now encourage people from across the region to get tickets for the gala dinner and presentation night so they too can experience the innovation on show in our region,” he said. “This year, the awards will be held in the Max Centre Ballroom in Moree on Friday, 7 November. Get in quick and be inspired by our region’s innovators.”

Bookings for the gala presentation night can be made through www.niia.com.au. Information about the Awards and YouTube clips about past winners can also be found on the website. Finalists will be showcased to the audience via big-screen video displays. The 2013 Innovation of the Year recipient, ICT International, will explain what the award has meant to them.

Mr Axelsson was one of four judges to assess the Northern Inland Innovation Awards (NIIA) entries. Also on the judging panel were: UNE academic (and RDANI Committee member), Neil Argent; Lauren Zell (Office of Environment and Heritage) and NSW Government Trade and Investment’s Business Development Manager (Northern Inland), Peter Sniekers. “We received 65 entries from across Northern Inland NSW. Times are tough and we’re all busy, so it was great to see so many people take the time and have the pride in what they have done to submit an entry,” Mr Axelsson said.

The Categories are: Agriculture / Horticulture and associated services; Tourism / Leisure and Services; Professional and Retail services; Manufacturing and Engineering; and Research and Education. The 2014 Innovation of the Year Award will be presented to the leading innovator across all categories. The Awards are supported by AgriFood Skills Australia, AusIndustry, the University of New England, Telstra, Trade and Investment NSW and Moree Plains Shire Council.

“From Wallabadah to Moree, Tenterfield to Armidale and Walcha, we poured through entries demonstrating thinking outside the box for commercial, social and environmental benefit. Being innovative is not just about being progressive, it can set our businesses and organisations apart, put them ahead of their competitors or make service delivery more effective and efficient. Getting creative and innovative, recognizing how you are unique and promoting it – is all so important. With the rising costs of living and doing business, growth is a necessity; it is not enough to do everything the same as 10 or 20 years ago,” Mr Axelsson said.

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