The Fort Saskatchewan and District Chamber of Commerce's Business Awards are on for 2021.

The 37th Annual Business Awards hosted by the chamber will have a roaring 20s theme as they look to celebrate growth, resiliency, people who grew businesses out of their homes, and all the realities of being a business owner in the 2020s so far.

The 2021 Fort Saskatchewan Chamber Business Awards nominations opened recently, and executive director Tamara Dabels said that they’d seen well over 100 nominations.
 
“We have the best business community in all of Alberta,” said Dabels.

“I think it’s important that the community takes the time to recognize the hard work that these businesses do to provide that culture that we have here; to help support all these programs that are happening. We know the first people we go to for those donations are those small-medium businesses here in the Fort.”

As COVID-19 put a halt to any in-person events last year, an award show-style video was produced and uploaded for people to view from their own homes. Dabels said many people enjoyed the accessibility the video format gave the awards ceremony as it was easier to share with friends and family.

There are ten different categories businesses can be nominated for.

Some awards added in recent years include the 2021 Innovation Award and the GRIT Award. The GRIT award was created in 2020 and is awarded to an entrepreneur who has shown Growth, Resilience, Initiative, and Tenacity, someone who has established and grew a successful business through ‘exceptional’ adversity.

The Innovation Award was created last year to recognize the agility of the business community and how they innovated to remain in business.

The Industrial Heartland Award is open to a business, including smaller businesses and independent contractors in the industry. This includes businesses in energy, construction, fabrication, resources, and manufacturing that demonstrate ‘outstanding leadership’ in innovation, environment, safety, human resources and community engagement.

The small business award is for a business under 50 employees that best reflects the outstanding spirit and success of the small business community, and the Young Entrepreneur Award is open to under 35s that have found success in the start-up and operation of a new or existing business.

Other categories include the diversity and inclusion award, awarded to a privately owned business or organization ensuring diversity is recognized and appreciated and that all employees, clients and customers are respected and valued.
 
Other nomination categories include the Customer Service Award and the Marketing Award of Excellence.

Home-based businesses are being given the spotlight this year as COVID-19 radically altered our ability to work from different locations. The Home-Based Business of the Year Award will go to a business venture operating out of a home, demonstrating excellence in the quality of service and product provided.

Similar to last year, all businesses with five or more nominations will qualify as a semi-finalist. From there, each category will be judged by three anonymous judges. Judges include past Chamber presidents, past category winners, elected officials or Chamber executives from other communities.

Winners of a few categories, including the Diversity and Inclusion Award, are automatically nominated by the Fort Saskatchewan Chamber for the Alberta Business Awards of distinction hosted by the Alberta Chamber of Commerce.

The award night will be held on November 4 at the Shell Theatre; Dables said the event will be spread out to give people a chance to space out if necessary. People will be dressed up in 1920’s style for a night of jazz, cocktails, and fun.

Nominations are open until August 6. To nominate a business, click here.