An Australian Government Initiative

Regional Development Australia

Seeking Region's Innovators

11 July 2017

The Northern Inland Innovation Awards have been highlighting local stories of innovative products and approaches across the region for ten years. Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) has announced that entries or nominations are now open for the 2017 awards program.

Businesses, public and not-for-profit organisations, together with the 12 Local Councils in the Northern Inland region, are being urged to submit entries for the 10th Regional Development Australia Northern Inland Innovation Awards. Entries close on Monday 9th October 2017. Entry/nomination forms can be downloaded from the www.niia.com.au website.

“If you have a product, service, approach or initiative that can be described as innovative, the Northern Inland Innovation Awards is the ultimate platform for promoting your story – it doesn't cost anything to enter; just a little bit of time, said RDANI Executive Officer Nathan Axelsson. “Plus, this year for the first time, if you know a quietly achieving innovator and think their story should be shared with the region, you can nominate them.”

Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) Chair, Russell Stewart said that for a regional awards program, the Northern Inland Innovation Awards have a uniquely narrow and vital focus. “Why not have a go? It is important to share our positive stories. Enter or nominate and celebrate that point of distinction,” he said.

“For the recipient, a regional innovation awards gong is a fantastic marketing tool that reinforces credibility. For the region, innovation is a key catalyst for growth. Every awardee is an inspiration to others and helps to show how progressive our region is. The Northern Inland Innovation Awards are truly special and that is why we have the support of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Prime Super, White Rock Wind Farm, the University of New England and Armidale Regional Council,” Mr. Stewart said.

“We are proud of the great stories of innovation that this region-wide awards program has produced and promoted,” said Mr. Stewart. “I encourage everyone to get onto the awards website (www.niia.com.au) and check out the videos of past category winners and finalists. A top example was the 2016 Innovation of the Year Award recipient, Gunnedah's Wholegrain Milling Company for their 100% sustainable label.”

Each year, the gala Northern Inland Innovation Awards dinner and presentation evening is held in a different Local Government Area in the region. This year, the region's innovation showcase will be staged at the Armidale City Bowling Club on Friday, 24 November 2017.

The award categories are: Agriculture / Horticulture and Associated Services; Health, Aged Care and Disability Services; Retail, Tourism & Leisure; Professional and Government Services; Manufacturing and Engineering; and Research and Education. The RDANI Innovation Awards judging panel will vote on the RDANI Innovation of the Year Award from the winners of each category. Finalists for each category will be invited to attend the gala awards night, with the general public also encouraged to come along.

For further information, go to www.niia.com.au or call RDA Northern Inland: 02 6771 0700.
Media Contact: Russell Stewart: 0457 922878

Please feel free to refer to your local 2016 Innovation Award recipients in assisting to encourage entries this year. All the details of last year's awards can be found on the RDANI website, including photos – print quality versions available on request.

Photo: RDA Northern Inland Chair Russell Stewart with 2016 Innovation of the Year Winners, Renee and Craig Neale and Mathew Jensen of Wholegrain Milling Company, Gunnedah.