Rural enterprise award big boost for business

Ranfurly businesswoman Rose Voice has continued to grow her dog equipment business. Photo by ODT.
Ranfurly businesswoman Rose Voice has continued to grow her dog equipment business. Photo by ODT.
Since winning the RWNZ Enterprising Rural Women Award last year, Rose Voice's dog equipment business has gone from strength to strength.

Mrs Voice, who with her husband Nigel runs the Real Dog Equipment Company in Ranfurly, has taken on a part-time machinist to cope with demand and she has speaking engagements booked through to the end of the year.

She is now urging other women with small rural businesses to enter this year's awards, saying it was ''absolutely'' worth it.

Entries close on March 15 for the awards, which are open to small businesses with 10 or fewer full-time staff, that have been operating for at least two years.

The categories are Love of the Land, for all animal and land-based businesses, Help I Need Someone, for enterprises providing a service, Making it Rural, for manufacturing and creative businesses, and Stay, Play, Rural, for tourism and hospitality ventures.

Each category winner will receive $1000 and a trophy and go on to compete for the supreme award, which will be announced at the Rural Women New Zealand national conference, in Christchurch on May 23.

Mrs Voice, who was encouraged to enter by friends, believed it was ''a typical Kiwi trait'', and perhaps more for women, ''to think what they do is not good enough''. But she urged women to ''go for it'' and not have any doubts.

On the way home from Wellington last year, after facing the judging panel, she was ''absolutely buzzing'' and did not care if she did not win anything, as the exercise had been so worthwhile, she said. The publicity garnered from the awards had also been ''huge'', she said.

While Mrs Voice initially found talking to people about her business a little daunting, she now quite enjoyed it.

The ''other side'' of her business, which was the tourism aspect, was now also starting to grow. That included taking people for sled-rides with the dogs and kennel tours.

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