IAN Henry’s business group including Nowra Toyota and Mazda was awarded the Shoalhaven’s Business of the Year on Saturday night.
The Business Leader award went to Bomaderry Bowling Club secretary manager Garry Wilbraham.
Those were the major two of 18 awards presented at a sell-out event, at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre, attended by 450 guests.
While the majority of people were there to support and celebrate award finalists it was the entertainment that captivated the crowd. An aerialist suspended upside down was pouring the sparkling wine supplied by local winery Cupitt’s.
Singer Mikaela Dan from The Voice entered the auditorium from the upper floors, and made her way to the stage. There she was accompanied by 12 dancers from awards finalist, DanceWorks.
The night was compered by local talent, Chance Hanlon, and also featured a floor co-host, Rebecca Hanlon. Throughout the night, Rebecca adding a new dimension of engagement to the night interviewing guests.
The awards honour the region’s finest businesses, and Business Chamber president Brendan Goddard said last year organisers raised the bar high with the gala night.
“This year it was our intent to raise it higher again, looking to wow our guests in every way possible,” he said.
At the business end of the night, award judges noted Mr Henry’s Palmira Holdings Enterprises demonstrated continuous growth, impressive sales figures, and commitment to utilising technology to improve performance.
Judges David Linden-Smith and Anna Finch said Palmira Holdings Enterprises was an innovator.
“The business constantly adopts new technology for the benefit of its customers, employees and ultimately its bottom line. It has shown again and again that an old dog can learn new tricks,” Mr Linden-Smith said.
Mr Henry said the nomination was a rigorous and enjoyable process to go through.
“While we were so excited to win, we certainly did not expect it,” he said.
Business leader Mr Wilbraham said he was ‘blown away to win the award’.
“The Club gives me the latitude to do what I want and it enables me to do so much for the community, which I love,” he said.
It was refreshing to see a number of new business win Awards in several different categories, as well as some of our consistently Awarded businesses continue to enjoy success.
The chamber also introduced a new employer-nominated award, Employee of the Year, which was awarded to Eric Coulter, long-time employee of Southern Cross Housing.
Eight category winners will go on to represent the Shoalhaven at the Illawarra Business Awards on Friday October 20.
2017 Shoalhaven Business Awards winners
- Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality – Bomaderry Bowling Club
- Employer of Choice – ANZ Mobile Lending
- Excellence in Retail & Personal Services South Coast – Jervis Bay Hearing Centre
- Excellence in Professional and Commercial – RMB Lawyers
- Excellence in Community Service (not-for-profit) – The Oolong Aboriginal Corporation
- Excellence in Inclusion – Kimberlie & Co Cleaning
- Excellence in Production – Nowchem
- Employee of the Year – Eric Coulter (Southern Cross Housing)
- Outstanding Home Based Business – Kimberlie & Co Cleaning
- Excellence in Social Responsibility – The Aboriginal Oolong Corporation
- Start Up Superstar – South Coast Kids
- Excellence in Innovation – RMB Lawyers
- Excellence in Small Business ( under 20 employees) – ABABY
- Excellence in Business ( under 20 employees) – Palmira Holdings Enterprises
- Young Business Executive – Patrick O'Regan (Pepperell& Associates)
- Young Entrepreneur – Sian Ludlow (Stella Studioz)
- Business Leader – Gary Wilbraham (Bomaderry Bowling Club)
- Business of the Year – Palmira Holdings Enterprises