Tips

It is with a heavy heart and profound empathy for the difficulty and uncertainty small businesses throughout New Zealand are currently facing that we have decided not to hold The David Awards 2020.

We know that small businesses will be facing enormous challenges and that what the future holds will differ for each of you. For some, the painful reality is that nothing will save your current business. For others, Covid-19 presents opportunities which didn’t previously exist and you may be struggling to adapt and keep up. Many will fall between these two extremes, but wherever your business sits, we have no doubt you have far bigger things on your mind right now - and rightly so - than entering awards. 

What we also know, from more than a decade of small and home businesses sharing their challenges and successes with us, is that small businesses are agile, resilient, creative and very necessary to New Zealand. Every year entrants have demonstrated how, after immense adversity, they have picked themselves up and dusted themselves off, taken a long, hard look at their situation, the challenges and opportunities, adapted what they are doing and stepped up to the mark. Their nimbleness, determination and perseverance have been invaluable in equipping them for the fray. And they have come out the other side stronger, wiser and having found ways to conquer the obstacles or circumvent the roadblocks they encountered along the way.

Like you, many of the judges and organisers of The David Awards are fighting fires in their own businesses and employment situations. We understand not only the stress of steering a business through this time of change and upheaval, but the huge toll it takes at a personal level too.

We would, however, like to share an observation with you. The high number of business failures in the small and home business sector is often cited - and misinterpreted - as a sign of how fragile this sector is. We say to you it is actually a sign of its resilience, because if one bothers to dig a little deeper the picture which emerges is not one of a business failing, but often of a business morphing into something else. Something which is built of sterner stuff and based on a little more experience.

We know you need time to evaluate, plan, tackle the challenges and even heal. In recognition of the extraordinary times we are facing together at present, we are dedicating The David Awards 2020 to all small business owners throughout Aotearoa.

And we want you to know each and every one of you is a true “David” in our eyes.

You are not alone, we know you are resilient and there is light at the end of the tunnel, whether you can see it now or not.

We salute you.

Finally, we encourage you to draw on help which is available.

Overview of support for employers and the self-employed
Overview of other financial support
Overview of some mental health support and tools here and here
Official Covid-19 information

We expect to be back bigger and better than ever in 2021 and look forward to hearing some amazing stories of triumph and fortitude then. In the meantime, be kind to yourselves and each other.

Kia Kaha.

Heather and the Team at The David Awards.

To be notified when The David Awards 2021 opens for entries, please sign up to our newsletter.


We've tried to make entering The David Awards as easy as possible. In order to give yourself the best chance possible, it's worth reading the tips below, which are based on feedback from the judges. Every year they see some stand-out entries, and others which they feel could have had much more of a chance. Here are some of their tips:

  • Read the question and make sure you answer what is being asked. The information on the entry is there to help you and often guides you towards what the Judges are looking for or how long the section needs to be.
  • You don't need to use the maximum number of words but if your content is very much shorter, you might find other entrants have included a lot more detail than you, which may work in their favour.
  • Include examples, numbers, concrete facts, proof of success. You do not have to disclose all your confidential information, but Judges are better able to judge your entry if you include some figures, graphs, results, etc. You may feel your "numbers" are small. The judges are not looking for "big numbers" but proof that you are operating a "real" business and that the successes you claim are genuine. Most businesses which enter are owner-operated and many have no staff. Don't be afraid you "won't stack up". Our judges are specifically briefed not to rank bigger businesses above smaller ones on the basis of turnover or size.
  • Put all your important information into your entry. By all means, include attachments which illustrate your point, but make sure you reference them in your entry (e.g. "Our sales have trebbled in the past three years - see graph in attached document").
  • Sing your own praises - and remember, other people may know nothing about your business so it pays to be explicit about what you do, why you think you deserve to win, and back it up with proof.
  • Start early, so you have time to finish your entry, read it again, edit if necessary, and add to it if you want to. All entries remain editible until the closing deadline.

Good luck!