Richmond Chamber awards to recognize resilience during pandemic

With a nod to how businesses have fought to stay alive during the pandemic, the Richmond Chamber of Commerce is switching its focus for its annual Business Excellence Awards.

For the last 42 years, the chamber has been recognizing the financial success of local businesses.

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This year, the spotlight will be trained on resilience, with the nominations opening today, Monday, June 15.

“Typically, financial success is a key aspect of business success, and the Business Excellence Awards have always acknowledged that,” said Fan Chun, the chamber’s chair.

“However, COVID-19 has sent shockwaves through every aspect of our economy. Excellence in 2020 might mean running PPE drives, pivoting your business model online, or finding creative ways to keep your staff employed.

“That excellence isn’t always reflected on a balance sheet. We’d be doing a disservice to Richmond’s employers if our awards didn’t acknowledge the reality of our times.”

 Susan Ness, chair of the 2020 Business Excellence Awards Task Force, said that, in 2020, “…it’s more important than ever to find and celebrate the businesses in our community who deserve our recognition.

“As much as this has been a year of hardship and challenges, when we look back, I'm convinced we will find it has also been a year full of hidden and emerging opportunities.”

Awards will still be handed out in 10 categories: new business, young entrepreneur, outstanding workplace, business leadership, green business, innovative enterprise, association (non-profit), and small, mid-size, and large businesses of the year.

The changes returning nominees will see include questions centred on ways they have adapted for COVID-19, and a shorter nomination package, in recognition of the many pressures on everyone’s time. 

In compliance with restrictions on gatherings, the awards gala itself will be adapting in 2020, pivoting to a virtual format.

“For an organization that’s used to throwing 400 person galas, this is going to be a big change,” said Chun.

“We’re doing a lot of work behind the scenes right now to make sure that the 2020 awards are the exceptional experience Richmond expects from us.” 

Nominations will remain open until Sept. 8. Details of each category and the nomination form are available at

The virtual Business Excellence Awards ceremony is set for November. 

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