Key Dates - How to Enter - Eligibility - Categories - Nominate a Business - Benefits of Entering - FAQs - Past Winners - Judges - Contact Us

FAQS - Frequently Asked Questions


I was nominated for the Business Excellence Awards. What do I do now? read more

Congratulations! Being nominated does not automatically enter you into the Awards – and does not count towards your final result. It is now up to you to complete a submission. Being nominated means your nominator believes you are worthy of recognition. CLICK HERE for more information on how to enter.

Does my business have to be nominated to enter the Awards? read more

No. Unlike previous years, you do not need to be nominated to enter the Awards. Skip the nomination stage and simply start working on the your written submission. CLICK HERE for more information on how to enter.

Can I nominate my own business for the Awards? read more

We encourage you to! While third party nominations are welcome, it is quite normal for a business to self-nominate. No one knows how much you and your team deserve recognition as much as you! If you want your nomination to be anonymous, CLICK HERE; however if you are ready to get the ball rolling on your application, then skip the nomination stage and start your submission.

Can I nominate a business for the Awards? read more

Absolutely! If you know a local business who is doing something great, I am sure they would love to hear about it! Anyone can nominate a business to enter the Awards and the identity of a nominator is not taken into account by the judges nor is it disclosed to the nominee. CLICK HERE to nominate a business.

Can I nominate a business multiple times? read more

The number of nominations a business receives does not contribute to the judging process or the entrant's score. Businesses still have to complete a written submission for the awards if they are nominated – and may choose not to. Nominating a business multiple times simply means they may receive multiple emails encouraging them to apply.

Will multiple nominations help improve my chance of winning? read more

No. Judges only assess entries based on information provided in their written submission.



Do I have to use the entire word count? read more

No. Use headings, dot points, space between paragraphs and keep it simple and concise. Remember – quality over quantity. You don’t have to use the entire word count if you feel you have already fully answered the question. 

Do I have to address all the guiding questions? read more

Your response should include references to each of the guiding questions, however you do not have to answer them in the order in which they are listed. When formulating your responses, consider: What do you do? How do you do it? What are your results? How have these results contributed to your business's success? Why are you exceptional? If a sentence starts with, "You may wish to consider", these are simply suggestions to guide your thinking and responses. If they are not relevant to your business, you do not have to answer them.

How do I format my application in Award Force? read more

When you type or cut-and-paste your entry into Award Force, normal Word style formatting may not transfer. Award Force uses a system called ‘Markdown’ for content formatting across the system. CLICK HERE for instructions about how to create Headings, Bold, Italics, Bullet Points, Lists and Line Space using Markdown.

Can I pay someone to help write my application? read more

Yes. Many copywriters, marketers and grant-writers offer services to assist with award entries. 



Which category should I enter? read more

Read the category descriptions and written submission questions carefully. If you are still unsure, we recommend that you select a likely category and then move on to drafting answers to all the questions. Once you have completed answering all the questions, review your category selection and consider if it still feels like the most appropriate choice based on what you have written about your business. 



Is my business eligible if it is virtual/online? read more

Yes. As long as you have a valid ABN and your registered business address or place of business or service delivery is located in the Cairns LGA, you satisfy the criteria.

How long must I have been in business to be eligible? read more

You must have been operating your business for at least 12 months or commenced trading by 1 June 2022 at the latest.

Do I need a valid ABN to be eligible? read more

Yes. You must have a current valid ABN.

Can I apply if I operate outside of the Cairns LGA? read more

You must operate your business or provide services within the Cairns Regional Council Local Government Area. If you operate outside of this area IN ADDITION to your business activities within the region, then you are still eligible to apply. If you operate solely OUTSIDE the Cairns Regional Council Local Government Area, then you are NOT eligible to apply.

Can I apply if my business is based in Douglas Shire, Mareeba Shire, Tablelands Regional or Casswory Coast Regional Council Local Government Areas? read more

No. You must operate your business or provide services within the Cairns Regional Council Local Government Area.

Does my business have to be a member of the Cairns Chamber of Commerce to enter the awards? read more

No. The Business Excellence Awards are about celebrating the outstanding achievements of all businesses in the Cairns LGA. Membership of the Cairns Chamber of Commerce is not a condition of entry nor considered by the judges in the awards process.

If I won an award category in 2022, can I re-enter the same category in 2023? read more

No. You cannot re-enter the same award category in which you won the previous year. You can however enter another category or re-enter the same category if more than 12 months has past since you previously won.

If I was a finalist in 2022, can I re-enter the same award category in 2023? read more

Yes. As long as you did not win the category, you are eligible to re-enter the same category in 2023.



How many applicants make it to the finalist stage? read more

There is no set number of finalists per category as this number depend on quantity and quality of the submissions. If the calibre of submissions for any given category is very high, the number of finalists will be capped at 15.

What do finalists receive? read more

Finalists receive an official "Finalist" logo to display on their website, email footers, social media platforms or other marketing collateral. They will receive a finalist plaque to display in their office and an invitation to the exclusive VIP Finalist Evening. FInalists will also receive recognition and coverage onvarious social, digital, print and broadcast media platforms. For an extended list of benefits, CLICK HERE.



Who are the judges for the awards? read more

Judges are invited by the awards management committee. They are recognised and highly regarded members of the Cairns business community. Each year there are between 20-30 volunteer judges. All judges are required to sign non-disclosure agreements and maintain high levels of confidentiality. Judges are also required to advise the awards committee of any applications where there are perceived conflicts of interest.

How are applications judged? read more

Each application is assessed by at least 3 judges. Judges individually score their allocated applications and those scores are totalled and averaged for a final score. 

How are winners selected? read more

Category winners are simply the business with the highest score in their category. 

Will references or letters of support help improve my score? read more

No. The entry requirement to include two (2) professional references with your submission has been removed from the 2023 selection criteria. If you wish to include testimonials in your written submission that support your business case and assist to address the selection critieria, then you are welome to do so.



Can a sponsor enter the Awards? read more

Yes. A sponsor can enter the Business Excellence Awards, however, they cannot enter the category the same category in which they are sponsoring. No one affiliated with their organisation will be assigned to the judging panel for that category.