With the soft, sultry tones of local musician Ezer Eve playing in the background, finalists enjoyed a night of networking and celebration at the second awards night for the 2017 Wheatbelt Business Excellence Awards on Friday 14 July in Bindoon.
Finalists attended the evening from the communities of Northam, Bindoon, Chittering, Moora, Gingin, Toodyay and Yerecoin. Six independent judges who are successful entrepreneurs in their own right judged the entries. “The awards were a great opportunity for businesses to work on their business rather
than always in it,” said Leigh Ballard of Ballard Seeds in Narrogin who was a judge and attended the night. Leanne Phillipson and Anne-Maree Hagge of the Bindoon Bakehaus and Café were acknowledged as Business of the Year, sponsored by the Small Business Development Corporation, and Business with 11 plus employees, sponsored by Hon Darren West MLC. Anne-Maree paid tribute to her staff and their customers saying, “They are our greatest gift”.
Young entrepreneurs, brother and sister team Rachel and Justin Withnell had a fabulous night and were jointly awarded Business of the Year, Micro Business of the Year, sponsored by Heartlands, and Young Entrepreneurs of the Year, sponsored by Chittering Chamber of Commerce. Beginning the business, Bindoon Mowers and Machinery, in their very early twenties, the brother and sister team started a very basic business with only a sign on the shed, 1 toolbox, 1 work bench and a few small parts. Today the business provides Chainsaws, Brushcutters, Ride-on/Push mowers, Water pumps, and all forms of parts and servicing for small machines.
Excellence in Innovation, sponsored by the Small Business Development Corporation was awarded to The Meat Hook Toodyay for innovative developments in the business and for product innovations. Anthea Brown, owner, said, “This is a team effort. Thank you to Dave and Sam for their hard work and thank you to all our customers for your support.”
Nicky Brennan of Yerecoin and owner of Rustic Events was awarded the Micro Business award. “I definitely would not be here without the support of friends and family and of course the amazing Wheatbelt community who have embraced my business.”
Owner of The Space Place Oberservatory and Cartref Park Country Gardens Bella Wunderlin was very surprised with her award for Business with 5-10 employees, sponsored by the Commonwealth Bank. The business provides an astronomical viewing experience to the public, either at The Space Place or at their choice of site through the Travelling Telescopes.
Julie Walsh and her team at Topp Dogg in Moora was the WBN Choice award winner. She said, “In our daily grind of trying to survive in the business world we need someone to be there to say good work and well done” Topp Dogg supplies footwear, sports apparel and equipment, fashion, uniforms and equestrian needs.
Bindoon based business Scissor West won the Home Based category, sponsored by Hon Mia Davies MLA. Scissor West services and supplies hairdressing scissors to hairdressers and barbers in the metro area, Wheatbelt, Great Southern as well as across Western Australia. Finalists were treated to a presentation by
Carl Della of Corporeal Health which aims to meet the growing needs of rural communities in Western Australia by providing access to first-class, innovative occupational and community health services. Carl was a BusinessNews WA 40under40 finalists, 2016 WBEA winner and Google Regional Online Hero.
The awards are generously sponsored by the Small Business Development Corporation, Commonwealth Bank, the Hon Darren West, Hon Mia Davies, Heartlands WA and the Chittering Chamber of Commerce. Shire of Victoria Plains Councillor Ms Pauline Carr was the MC and was very well received by all guests. Thanks to the Shire of Chittering for an excellent venue and the Chittering Chamber of Commerce Committee for helping set up and pack up on the night.