Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards

On Saturday 22 July, I was pleased to join a packed house at Belmont 16 Footers Club to celebrate businesses in my area at the 2017 Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards.

The aim of the awards is to recognise businesses operating in the city of Lake Macquarie that provide exemplary products and services. The nomination process is extensive and can assist businesses in ongoing growth and development. From world-class product developers to digital innovators, accounting firms to manufacturers, the award finalists showcased the diversity of businesses thriving within the city of Lake Macquarie. Almost 40 businesses from various parts of Lake Macquarie contended for awards across 15 categories as part of the 2017 celebration of business excellence and success. Sixteen Charlestown businesses were recognised as finalists and demonstrated the strength of Charlestown's business sector.     

The Business of the Year award was received by Charlestown business JettProof. JettProof manufactures calming sensory clothing which has the ability to positively transform the lives of children and adults living with autism sensory processing disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and anxiety by helping them regulate their body temperature to stay calm and focused. JettProof clothing was created by a caring and concerned mother for her adorable child, Jett. JettProof clothing aims to minimise meltdowns and aid in social situations and is proudly 100 per cent Australian made. JettProof clothing was also awarded Excellence in Branding and Marketing and Excellence in Innovation and founder Michelle Evan won the Excellence in Entrepreneurship category.     

The Young Business Person of the Year was awarded to Charlestown constituent and business owner Ryan Bennett. Ryan is the co-founder of Zimpleweb, which provides all website services under one roof, from design to search engine optimisation. Blake Bennett, also a co-founder of Zimpleweb, was recognised with the Excellence in Young Entrepreneurship Award. Business Person of the Year was another Charlestown business owner, Amber Moncrieff from Hunter Plastic Surgery, who won the category for the second year running. Hunter Plastic Surgery was also awarded Excellence in Customer Service by the Whole Business for the second year in a row, and Jessica Laing from Hunter Plastic Surgery was awarded Excellence in Customer Service by an Individual.    

Centre for Hope, an organisation I have been proud to talk about in this place on numerous occasions, was the deserving winner of the Excellence in Not for Profit/Charity category. Centre for Hope assists both Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people who are considered to be in need of intervention to improve their educational and life outcomes. The centre's vision is to empower young disadvantaged Australians to respect themselves, to connect to the wider community and to live an inspired life. Centre for Hope has created several highly successful programs such as student mentoring, Wheels for Hope, The Drop drop-in centre, a homework centre at Windale Library, and the Supporting Families program.     

Other finalists from the Charlestown electorate included Precision Taxation Accounting and Management; Charlestown Golf Club; Inspired EC, which provides early childhood consultancy; Mega Save Chemist; Liftango, a groundbreaking rideshare app linking employees with free trips to and from work; Electromotive Force [ELMOFO], which supplies and uses components from zero emission racing and motoring; HCF; The Place: Charlestown Community Centre; The Esplanade Motel, Warners Bay; Charlestown Caring Group; Street Appeal Garden Solutions; The Green Room, a performing arts studio; and Michael Nolan Vocal Studios. The majority of finalists coming from the Charlestown electorate is proof that businesses do not have to be based in large metropolitan cities like Sydney and Melbourne to be highly successful. It is also proof of what a business powerhouse Charlestown is.    

In its sixth year, the 2017 Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards demonstrated once again that there are many businesses in Lake Macquarie who have achieved and continue to achieve excellence. The awards were created and run by Lake Macquarie Business Growth Centre in Gateshead and are sponsored by Dantia, SafeWork NSW, the University of Newcastle, St George Bank, PDH Accounting Services, Turnbull Hill Lawyers, Nationwide Super, Zimpleweb, ATUNE Health Centres, Thurnham Teece, Garaty Murnane Insurance Brokers, Lake Macquarie City Council, and Dynamic Business Technologies. The gala dinner was a celebration of these achievements. It was certainly pleasing to see so many business people and workers come together on the night to support their colleagues. Congratulations to all the finalists and winners. Their dedication to business and the pursuit of excellence is truly inspiring.