With the trophies distributed and the 1988 ceremony deemed an undoubted success, it was time to organise for the future, fulfil the stated goals, and make the Awards a truly national event.

Getting any new event off the ground is hard, and keeping it on its feet can be even harder. After the first flush of success, the second year is often touch and go – it makes or breaks an idea – however good or worthwhile it may be.

In the case of the Ethnic Business Awards, the toddler barely stumbled, as excerpts from an article from the time illustrate:

‘The National Australia Bank’s New South Wales and Australian capital Territory General Manager Arthur Sanderson can look back on the growth of the NAB Ethnic Business Awards, which has been so rapid that the term “small” has been dropped from the title after only one year.”

‘“We started with the idea of supporting ethnic small businesses which had struggled against the language barriers and a new environment to succeed and prosper,” Mr Sanderson said. “Now we want to also recognise those who’ve grown out of the small business class and are succeeding in a larger environment.”

‘“Next year we will seek to recognise and reward business migrants as a new force in Australian business and we will seek to support the large and vigorous ethnic media in some way.”’

‘The NAB Award has grown out of the bank’s Business Migration Department, which now has an National Coordinator, David Johns, based in Sydney, with Managers in each state and an active offshore participation.”

The fledgling Awards may have been keeping its feet firmly on the ground and its eyes on future horizons, but there were still some stumbling blocks to be negotiated and they would, indeed, carry over until the third birthday!

‘Mr Sanderson indicated one of the ways the Awards will expand in 1990: “Hopefully, entries from South and Western Australia will be able to be accepted. Unfortunately, the Anti-Discrimination Laws in those states did not permit the Awards to be offered there this year, but we hope that the Awards will be seen and approved for what they are – an honest attempt to reward those who may well have suffered discrimination, and who certainly started with disadvantages such as lack of English, and yet who have succeeded in improving themselves and helping Australia’s economic development as well.”’

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