The SAISC Steel Awards event has come a long way since its humble beginnings 38 years ago when the occasion was marked with a cheese and wine event attended by a handful of people, in a room decorated with printed posters of the entries.

This year, record sponsorship of the awards has grown by a remarkable 40%. In 2018, the awards attracted 10 sponsors while this year, 14 leading steel companies have put their weight behind this prestigious event.

Asked why he thought that the 2019 Steel Awards has attracted this increased level of sponsorship, CEO Paolo Trinchero explains that the event has always been seen as the ‘Oscars’ of the steel industry.

“Over the past three years, the SAISC team has built the Steel Awards as its own brand and took a strategic approach to increasing the reach and visibility of the event within the broader built environment,” Trinchero explains. As such, the SAISC has adopted an integrated approach to marketing the event, sponsors and projects submitted across traditional print, online and digital channels.

Steel Awards’ record sponsorship despite tough market conditions

‘Speaking for steel’ – record-breaking sponsorship for SAISC 2019 Steel Awards despite tough market conditions. Image credit: SAISC

“I think that both sponsors and nominators have noticed, and appreciate, the value of this broad media and market exposure,” he adds.

The main objective of Steel Awards is to showcase excellence in the use of steel in construction. Sponsorship income enables the SAISC to deliver a world-class event potentially attended by more than 900 people in three locations concurrently. The sponsorship income also enables the SAISC to develop and deploy public relations (PR) and marketing material throughout the pre-and post-event period – showcasing the benefits and cases studies of the use of steel in construction in South Africa.

This year’s entries closed on 29 March 2019 with a record-breaking 94 projects entered, compared to 80 projects entered in 2018 and 56 in 2017. The first judging sessions started on 30 April and site visits are being conducted throughout May and June.

“One of the encouraging signs in this year’s awards entries – the tough economic challenges and constrained market conditions of these industry sectors notwithstanding – is the increase in large industrial, mining and manufacturing entries, as well as international projects by South African contractors using South African Steel,” he says. Also notable is an increase in the number of projects submitted by architects.

“The increased sponsorship this year, as well as the greater number of entries, is an indication that the SA steel construction community is extremely dedicated and tenacious, committed to ‘telling and selling’ the positive story of steel and able to deliver world-class projects,” Trinchero concludes.