The launch of the Solomon Islands Small Business Champions Awards unveils an annual business excellence award in Solomon Islands which will start in 2009.

Technical Director of Small and Medium Enterprise Council of Solomon Islands, Leliana Firisua, said the initiative is to encourage and promote small businesses development nationwide to allow them to operate effectively.

He said that the award will become an annual event and is the first of its kind in the Solomon Islands.

"There are certain criteria that are being put in place by the Awards Committee administered by the Council which represent public, private sector and civil society organizations."

The Solomon Islands Small Business Champion Award 2009 has twelve categories of awards. Five of which are related to industry and seven of which are related to non - industry.

The entry forms to allow participation under this Award will be available to all "Small Businesses" nationally through the offices of all private sector associations, and through all offices of the Industrial Development Divisions (IDD) of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Employment throughout the Provinces.

Entries for the awards close on Tuesday 30th June 2009 whilst the National Presentation Evening is set for Saturday 4th July 2009.

"Today, four categories have confirmed the assistance from the ANZ Bank, GEF - SEFP (via CBSI) - Executing Agency (EA) for SEFP-SI which is a World Bank initiative, the Department of Commerce industry and Employment and the SMEC/PITIC program," said Mr. Firisua.

The award categories are as follows: Industry, building and construction, catering, restaurants and conferencing, professional and commercial services, retail and wholesale, tourism, non-industry, small business person of the year, customer service, exporter of the year, home based business, innovation, new Solomons' business and preserving the environment.

The launching and unveiling of the "Solomon Islands Small Business Champion Awards 2009" was officiated by the Chairman of the Business Council of Solomon Islands, Antonio Lee.