Arusha, Tanzania, JAN 22 — East Africa’s ultimate business accolade, the EABC Business Excellence Awards has been launched as EABC commemorates the 20th Anniversary.
The inaugural East African Business Council awards to be held in Nairobi on March 23, aims at showcasing and celebrating businesses that have achieved excellence in various aspects of their operations across East Africa, keeping with the spirit of the East African integration.
The wards will recognize innovation and outstanding achievement across SME sector, which account for over 25 per cent of East Africa’s Gross Domestic Product, and make up nearly 90 per cent of all registered enterprises in East Africa.
“SMEs support creation of sufficient employment and income opportunities for the steadily growing population in the EAC countries” EABC CEO Lilian Awinja said.
SMEs are a nursery for the larger firms of the future. They are involved in the development of appropriate technology as with increasing competition within the SMEs new solutions will be brought forth across different sectors.
Furthermore, disruptive technology is enabling SMEs to seize opportunities of the East Africa Community and global market from inception of the firm.
Given their prominent role in EAC Partner States’ economies, SMEs are particularly important for the achievement of the development objectives of the Community hence need to be recognized.
The Best East African Company – SME Award seeks to recognize SMEs that have achieved notable success in its area of operation.
The judges will be looking for companies who, despite their size, have been able to take advantage of the opportunities brought about by the EAC through exporting of their products and services, according to the EABC.
This award is open to companies that employ between 1-10 persons and have an overall turnover of less than USD 100,000.
“We encourage all SMEs in the region to submit their entries for the EABC Business Excellence Awards at www.eabc-online.com/awards .
The deadline for submission is February 7, 2017,” the apex body of business associations of the Private Sector and Corporates from the six East African Countries said in a statement.
“Winners are people who enter competitions, you can be the best at something but if you don’t compete, nobody will know how great you are,” Nicholas Nesbitt, EABC Vice Chair elaborated during the launch of the awards.
Emerging as a winner of the EABC Business excellence award enables a firm to proudly show case its greatness among peers in East Africa.
In addition to benchmarking, the awards will also serve as an additional promotion to their brand by providing more mileage in marketing and increasing credibility to customers.
At regional level, the EAC has prioritized the need for facilitation and the development of small and medium scale industries including sub-contracting and other relations between larger and smaller firms, as a strategy to achieve the EAC industrial development goals.
The importance of the SMEs sector in the transformation of EAC economies has also been well articulated in the East African Industrialization Policy for the period 2012-2032 (EAC, 2012a) and in the EAC Development strategy for the period 2012-2016 (EAC, 2012b).
The inaugural EABC Business Excellence Awards will be organized across three categories.
The first category will see one company feted as the Overall East African Regional Company.
The second category will recognize business that have excelled in cross cutting categories, namely manufacturing, services, SME, woman owned enterprise, green economy, innovation and Corporate Social Responsibility.
A third category will award companies excelling in a specific industry and will reward outstanding companies across seven industries, namely Financial Services, Transport and Logistics (including airline), Media, Tourism and Hospitality, Building and Construction and Extractive and Mining sector.
“The EABC Business Excellence Awards are designed to recognize and celebrate exceptional business performance” said Awinja.
Entries are open for companies established in any of the EAC Partner States with each company eligible to submit bids for at most three categories of the awards.