Grampians and Pyrenees Business Awards in St Arnaud on Friday night will reflect a rapidly evolving business, industry and development landscape across western Victoria.
A sell-out awards gala dinner, celebrating business excellence in Northern Grampians, Ararat and Pyrenees municipalities, is at St Arnaud Town Hall from 6pm.
Large-scale enterprise has been a traditional business driver across the region, but its face is changing.
Renewable-energy opportunities continue to surface and organisations are more than ever embracing the concept of value-adding.
A broad cross-section of smaller businesses and enterprises are also seizing the initiative and making impressive headway in the sector.
A primary indicator of changing players in the business environment is the decision by French renewable energy company Neoen to be the awards’ major sponsor.
Neoen is working in partnership with Nectar Farms and Northern Grampians Shire Council on Bulgana Green Power Hub, a world-first value-adding project incorporating renewable power generation and storage with largescale horticultural production.
Established wind farms from Ararat through the Pyrenees have had, or are having, a major influence on enterprise decisions.
Regional Australian advocate and businesswoman Kerry Anderson, author of Entrepreneurship: It’s Everybody’s Business, will be guest speaker at the awards.
Ms Anderson will discuss how communities can capitalise on an era of entrepreneurship and create opportunities in rural and regional Australia.
Northern Grampians Shire Council is hosting the biennial awards and mayor Tony Driscoll anticipated a big night of celebration, achievement and acknowledgement.
“There are a plethora of entries. The awards have unearthed some great businesses and this will showcase what they are doing and achieving,” he said.
“It will show a side that many in the community are unaware and is a great chance for everyone to show pride in the region.
“The reality is that it’s all about celebrating the vibrancy of business in our region and attracting new businesses.
“What is great about these awards is that they reflect how business and communities are far from bound by municipal boundaries. There is a lot of crossover. And it is great that we get a chance to showcase St Arnaud.”
Ararat mayor Paul Hooper echoed Cr Driscoll’s sentiments, adding he had observed how businesses had benefitted from awards success.
“Previous winners have spoken to me about the awards and in some circumstances how it’s helped launch their businesses to a new level,” he said.
“It’s made them look at the business- es more strategically and feedback from judges, when taken in the right manner, has proved to be advantageous. It is a good thing to celebrate our successes in the region.
“The awards are also a chance for the business community to enjoy each other’s company and have a bit of fun while making the most of networking opportunities.”
Award categories, apart from Business of the Year, include: New Business, Agriculture-viticulture; Retail; Manufacturing; Hospitality Food and Beverage; Trades and Construction; Professional Services; Community-social Enterprise; Tourism Attraction or Service; Tourism Event; Community Event; Apprentice-trainee of the Year; Employee of the Year; Healthy Workplace; People’s Choice.