Gippsland businesses were the winners at the annual Federation Business School Gippsland Business Awards on Friday night .
Awards Chair, Graeme Sennett, told the 400 people at the gala event the quality of entries this year was outstanding, creating a “good problem” for judges and demonstrating the quality and depth of business in the region.
“The quality of entries, the finalists and the eventual winners show that our regional business sector is not only healthy but innovative and successful,” Mr Sennett said.
Local health professionals Warragul Dental Care, took out the new ‘Health and Wellbeing’ category on the way to winning the Business of the Year Award.
Once again excellence manufacturing in Gippsland was recognised with Warragul’s Eli Innovation and Elite Pack from Drouin being named joint winners of the Manufacturing / Export category.
“We had an extremely strong field this year, with our entries up on previous years so each of the category winners really earned their spot,” Mr Sennett said.
“Our gala on Friday was a great celebration of the capacity and ability of Gippsland businesses.”
Each finalist is assessed and independently rated by five different judges across 10 judging criteria, and as appropriate, receiving site visits or judges undertaking mystery shopper visits.
The category winners came from across the region and are listed below, together with a selection of accompanying judges’ comments.
Health and Well Being & Business of the Year Award – Warragul Dental Care – Warragul
Demonstrates leadership by being at the forefront of technology including 3D scanning and printing and also coaching others in the industry. A significant innovation has been the introduction of Dogter Bruce (DOG) to help anxious clients which has created a great deal of interest. The business is accessible to everyone with free dental screenings and sessions for kids as well as accepting free community health service patients.
Accommodation – BIG4 Inverloch Holiday Park – Inverloch
Business has won numerous industry awards. It has incorporated many new initiatives to grow the business including upgrading the indoor swim park and a new chatline when booking in online. Its long-term plan is be known as the best holiday park in Victoria.
Beauty and Personal Care – Embrace Fitness and Wellbeing – Morwell
Well articulated information about the business, future growth and direction. Excellent detail on services provided and wide range of ways that the business continues to promote itself and grow. Demonstrates strong leadership in its field, placing high value on client feedback and outstanding business planning.
Business and Professional Services – Satin Edge Photography – Warragul
A solid application highlighting the benefits of managing the various aspects of a business to reduce expenditure and meet the needs of the market. Rebranding and refocusing have paid dividends for this business. Technology, including the introduction of drone photography, has seen the business diversify.
Food Wine Producers – Sailors Grave Brewing – Orbost
A great success story for an Orbost based business that has identified and met the needs of a specific market segment. Clear goals and marketing approach have delivered results. Also impressive is the business model which recognises the value of new boutique beers and leverages this to generate increased market penetration.
Hospitality – Portside Food and Wine – Sale
This business relaunched, reinvented and changed its concept to appeal to all and achieved massive growth in a short period. Holds regular polls on Facebook to gauge what clients want. Plans to include a function centre, with seating for up to 150 people, are underway. The business uses a number of environmental products and initiatives to reduce the impact the business has on the environment.
Manufacturing / Export – Eli Innovation – Warragul and Elite Pack – Drouin
Eli Innovation – A regionally based business meeting the needs of farmers in an environment with great fluctuations in liquidity. The product is well positioned price wise and future expansion plans provide further opportunity for growth. Strategic partnerships have increased the companies reach and underpin ongoing growth and development.
Elite Pack – An innovative small manufacturing business with a clear record of sustained growth, excellent customer service and a just in time delivery process. Supplying both national and international clients, meeting the changing needs of a challenging market has delivered results, with flexibility and internal efficiency recognised as key drivers for business success.
Mechanical Trades and Construction – Cutting Edge Electrical – Warragul
This business taps into opportunities wherever possible. Big on research and development and expansion, the business is exporting products to China, has clear succession planning in place, a strong focus on staff culture, wellbeing and training and community support.
New Business – GippsTech – Warragul
GippsTech has shown that a world-class digital development agency can be built out of a small country town. This excellent business has delivered proven results, providing significant direct and indirect support to the local community. With a clear vision and empathy for the regional community the business is making an impact by improving capacity, generating income and providing real support.
Retail – Norte Wear – Inverloch
Very focused business with a clear mission and direction. The business is environmentally focused with an outstanding business model, where clearly the values of sustainability are driving the bottom line and contributing to the profitability and community contribution of the business.
Tourism Activities and Attractions – Walhalla Goldfields Railway – Walhalla
A successful tourism initiative, grown through careful planning and financial management. A strategic approach to growth and an excellent compliance regime support a sound tourism attraction heavily dependent upon having engaged and active volunteers.
Hall of Fame: Latrobe Valley Buslines – Morwell
Recognising outstanding business contribution and a positive impact on Gippsland, the 2018 Hall of Fame award recipient was Latrobe Valley Buslines.
A family business serving Gippsland for over 50 years, Latrobe Valley Buslines has grown, developed and changed to meet changing business needs. The long tenure of its staff reflects the high level of employee engagement and a clear commitment to the community is demonstrated by support of many grassroots organisations.
Together with their environmental and ethical values, this has resulted in the attainment of B Corp Certification – an international standard demonstrating the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. Latrobe Valley Buslines is the only bus company across Australia and New Zealand that is has become B Corp Certified.
For additional media comment please contact Graeme Sennett 0417 509 149