Solomon Islands’ very own canned tuna exporter, SolTuna walked away with the prestigious Prime Minister’s Award for the Business of the Year (2014) at the second Solomon Islands Business Excellence Awards, celebrated on Saturday night 30th August.
The panel of ten judges that evaluated a total of 47 entries selected Soltuna as the stand-out nomination, having scored the highest number of points for any one award category, and meeting the set criteria for this prestigious award.
Soltuna was recognized for a number of key areas, among which was its unique feature of employment of women in the factory, which enables rural women to put food on the table at the end of the day.
Soltuna was also given recognition for its significant contributions to the national economy, being considered the single biggest exporter with the decline in logging, for connecting Solomon Islands to the region and the world through canned tuna exports, its new marketing features with different branding and its focus on rural community initiatives.
Special commendation for the Prime Minister’s Business of the Year award went to Isabel Development Company.
IDC was specially noted for its 100% local ownership and for being a big employer. The judges noted that the company has been operating for 42 years against all odds and concluded that it is an ideal business model at the provincial level, with its ships serving Solomon Islands broadly.
IDC was also noted for diversifying into a range of other businesses and for its amazing and unique history for Solomon Islands, with humble beginnings.
It provides a positive example for the “wantok system” that is generally perceived in the negative and moreover, with its recent recruitment of a woman as General Manager, it has been able to purchase 3 new passenger boats which are providing inter-island shipping services for Isabel and across the country.
This prestigious Business of the Year Award was won by Solomon Airlines at the inaugural event last year (2013) with the Central Bank of Solomon Islands receiving the Special Commendation for the same award.
The Prime Minister’s Award this year includes $30,000 cash, an award certificate, a plaque and a specially carved wooden plaque which is the perpetual award to be handed over to each subsequent winner of the award announced at this annual flagship event of the Chamber.
Soltuna was also winner of the Exporter of the Year for the Large Business Category.