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Nominations Open For The Access Alliance 2021 People’s Choice Accessible Business Awards


The Access Alliance is calling for nominations of New Zealand businesses who are proving that accessibility is good for business, especially in challenging times.

From 15 February to 7 June, New Zealanders with access needs, as well as their whānau, supporters and allies can nominate businesses in their communities who are demonstrating an ongoing commitment to accessibility.

Making the most of the domestic market makes more sense than ever, however many companies may be missing out on significant income potential from the estimated 1 million New Zealanders who have access needs*. International experience suggests businesses who embrace accessibility can see a 20% uplift in sales. With legislative changes due to make accessibility mandatory, it also makes good sense for businesses to get ahead of the curve.

Chrissie Cowan, Access Alliance Chair, says, “Every New Zealander knows someone with an access need. There are simple things that businesses can do to reach a new, loyal customer base, and unleash the workforce’s potential, and increase engagement.”

Companies which embrace accessibility now are future proofing themselves for legislative changes which will introduce progressive realisation of enforceable standards for accessibility.

“The Government and all major parties are committed to accelerate accessibility legislation and introduce new regulations within the next two years. The detail of this policy is being developed now, including awareness and education. Embracing accessibility now is a chance for smart business owners or leaders to get ahead of the coming change and cater for this valuable sector of our community,” she says.

2020 People’s Choice Accessible Retail Winner, The Warehouse Group agrees: “With approximately one in four Kiwis affected by physical, sensory, mental or learning disabilities it is important that access is given the right consideration as a business priority,” says CEO, Nick Grayston.

Everyone will have an access need at some stage of their life. Accessibility is not only about people with disabilities. It also includes people with neurodiversity (e.g. dyslexia), older people, carers, family caregivers, parents using strollers and prams, and people with English as a second language. Accessibility means all people can access the physical environment, transportation, and facilities and services open or provided to the public. Accessibility also applies to products, services, information and communications, including technology and systems.

The 2021 People’s Choice Accessible Business Awards, sponsored by Cookie Time Charitable Trust, have eight categories for nomination reflecting ‘areas of life’ that all New Zealanders have the right to fully participate in. These include education, social inclusion and leisure, employment, tourism and hospitality, digital spaces and the media. Nominated businesses will then be put to the vote to select three finalists per category. Overall category winners will also be up for the Supreme Award.

Winners will be announced on Tuesday 15 June in a 90-minute hybrid live/virtual event. The event will showcase nominees and winners in a multimedia presentation featuring people with access needs, as well as their whānau, supporters and allies and special guests.

*925,000 working age New Zealanders have a disability/ies. New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER), “Valuing access to work” Report, February 2017. Commissioned by the Blind Foundation.

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