The peak business association for the Wheatbelt, the Wheatbelt Business Network announced winners of its Wheatbelt Business Excellence Awards at two award evenings in Kellerberrin and Moora recently.
The WBN hosted over 170 guests at the two award evenings to acknowledge 33 finalists, which were determined after two rounds of
judging. “Small businesses are the real heart of towns and communities across the Wheatbelt,” said Amanda Walker, WBN Chair. “These awards recognise their
achievements and their commitment to our communities.”
In a first for the region, fourteen businesses were recognised as category winners at the two award nights in Kellerberrin and Moora with finalists representing all five subregions of the Wheatbelt. For Tim and Nicole Newton, winners of two categories at the Kellerberrin evening it was an opportunity to be recognised as an outstanding franchise and to meet businesses from across the region.
“It was a great opportunity to network and it was fantastic to listen to the innovative ways in which people in the Wheatbelt are developing and progressing their
businesses,” said Tim.
AgriFresh was recognised as Business of the Year in Moora and is a family business that has been in the citrus industry for 11 years with 315ha of combined orchards in
Badgingarra and Dandaragan. “Our award has undoubtedly inspired and boosted our team’s confidence to continue in reaching for greater heights. The awards have ignited a new zest within our organisation to be more efficient and to invest more into our core asset; our people – to become generational thinkers, to be daring with innovation and challenge ourselves further to be entrepreneurial in our future growth and expansion,” said Managing Director Joseph Ling.
The Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Moora was Joley Holliday of Walkabout Physiotherapy. The award recognises business leaders 30 years or younger and
aims to encourage young entrepreneurs to grow themselves and their business.
“I’m very humbled. It’s given me a real confidence boost and it’s inspired me to create some new business goals that I previously thought were unachievable,” said
Joley. Judges for the Wheatbelt Business Excellence Awards included business and community leaders. Current Commissioner for the Shire of Narrogin Leigh Ballard,
RSM Director Judy Snell, business consultant and RRR Network Chair Maree Gooch, Kellerberrin business owner Steve Cole, Roobix CEO Melissa Strutt and
Katherine Jane of Lavendale Farm – a China Ready accredited accommodation business in York. The Wheatbelt Business Network will encourage all category winners to enter the WA Regional Small Business Awards which are held in Perth later this year and are confident one of them will win state recognition.
“The awards were not only a fantastic way to acknowledge our achievements but they also provided a platform to highlight the amount of highly skilled,
innovative business people, from a diverse range of industries – building successful businesses right across the Wheatbelt. We are extremely proud to be a part of that,”
said Amanda Walker, of Yerecoin Traders who won two award categories in Moora, including for innovation.
The Gravity Discovery Centre and Observatory in Gingin was recognised as the best Business Local achiever at the Moora awards night.
“Our award was such a surprise and a great recognition of all the hard work consistently done by everyone including the Board, staff and volunteers. We are inspired to
keep trying to make the centre a fantastic Wheatbelt business,” said Jan Devlin. Stumpy’s Roadhouse in Brookton and Cranmore Home in Moora took out the
Wheatbelt Business Network Choice awards which recognised businesses that were successful in their own right and were working to grow themselves, their
communities and the Wheatbelt.
Best business with 11 plus employees was won by Wheatbelt Steel at the Kellerberrin evening.
“We were overjoyed that our team has been recognised for its hard work. We believe that it is the little things that each of us do every day, that adds up to the overall
success of the company,” said Sarah Heaphy of Wheatbelt Steel.
Other category winners included Kailam Transport in Corrigin, Kerrigan Valley Beef in Hyden, Treetops Guesthouse in Chittering and AutoPro Moora who took
out best Franchise at the Moora awards evening.
A number of local small businesses supported the delivery of the nights including decorators Rustic Events and Aurora Event Hire, Wongan Hills musician
Georgie Sadler, Stringybark Winery in Chittering, local photographers Ron Ralston and Pixie O’Neill, caterers Woodshed Café and Passenger Platform from Kellerberrin.
Master of Ceremonies in Moora was Ms Pauline Carr, a Shire of Victoria Plains Councillor, farmer and retail business owner, and in Kellerberrin, Rural Focus
frontman Bryan French.
The inaugural awards were generously sponsored by the Small Business Development Corporation, the Moora Chamber of Commerce, Moora Community
Resource Centre, Hon Darren West MLC and Heartlands.
“These partners are so important to us in delivering this huge event. We also had support from Wheatbelt Community Development Service, the Quairading,
Moora, Dowerin, Merredin and Hyden Community Resource Centres who helped recognise and encourage businesses in their towns to enter,” said Caroline Robinson
from the WBN.