The Shoalhaven's night of nights, the 2021 Shoalhaven Business Awards has been staged, with the event held online for the first time.
With COVID forcing the usual awards extravaganza at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre to be postponed, it turned out to be a history-making for the Shoalhaven Business Chamber with the 36th annual awards gala event held tonight (Thursday) online.
And it was a successful night for Dog Force Australia, who was crowned the 2021 Shoalhaven Business Awards Business of the Year, while Kim Armstrong of Kimberlie and Co Pty Ltd, was named the outstanding business leader.
The event attracted more than 1000 local business people viewing the format online as it was live streamed on Facebook.
Businesses have patiently waited to find out who took out awards in 18 categories due to the organised event on August 20 unable to take place due to COVID lockdowns.
Although the awards were presented in a different format, this eagerly awaited online event was well received.
Shoalhaven Business Chamber president Jemma Tribe said the event was a great success:
"It was such a special evening - even it was a new way to celebrate to achievements of our local business community," she said.
"With everything our local business community has faced over the last 18 months, we were able to recognise and celebrate many diverse businesses and it was very competitive field, so the winners and finalists should be very proud."
This years business category winners include:
Employer of Choice Nowchem.
Excellence in Business Nowchem.
Excellence in Innovation Dog Force Australia.
Excellence in Micro Business Coast Allied Health.
Excellence in Small Business Dog Force Australia.
Excellence in Sustainability Little Eco Baby.
Outstanding Community Organisation Jervis Bay Maritime Museum + Gallery.
Outstanding Start Up Insight Legal Solutions Pty Ltd.
Excellence in Professional and Commercial Dog Force Australia.
Excellence in Retail and Personal Nowra Farmers Market.
Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality Cupitt's Estate
Excellence in Workplace Safety Nowchem.
Excellence in Inclusion CareSouth.
This years individual winners include:
Outstanding Young Employee Abbey Jackson of Coast Allied Health.
Outstanding Young Business Leader Elspeth Finney of Shoalhaven Family Law.
Outstanding Employee Jodie McDermott of J and T Dale Plumbing.
Outstanding Business Leader Kim Armstrong of Kimberlie and Co Pty Ltd.
The 2021 Shoalhaven Business Awards Business of the Year is Dog Force Australia.
Shoalhaven Business Awards judges said Dog Force Australia "has developed a reputation domestically, and internationally, as a provider of top-quality canine detection, protection and training services".
"Arguably Australia's leading provider of dog detection services and training, this registered training company's clients include Australian law enforcement and government agencies through to private security operations - servicing clients as diverse as the Royal Brunei Gurkha Reserve Unit and the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary through to ASEAN and Elton John," the judges said.
"Leaders in their field, they have literally set the benchmark for quality in canine detection training by developing the Australian Standard.
"Started in 2014 to address an industry shortcoming, the business is today leading the way in developing the benchmark and standard for the field. With the welfare of its assets top of mind, Dog Force Australia has proven it has vast growth potential over the next 10 to 15 years and beyond."
The judges also awarded seven highly commended to the following recipients:
Excellence in Micro Business Wine Knot Tours.
Excellence in Small Business Hotondo Southcoast PTY LTD.
Outstanding Community Organisation Salt Care.
Outstanding Start Up The Virtual Society.
Outstanding Young Business Leader Ashleigh McGuire of RIPE Mentoring.
Excellence in Inclusion Salt Care.
Excellence in Inclusion South Coast Brides.
All trophies and certificates will be given out at a special ceremony on Wednesday, December 1 at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre where all finalists and winners will be congratulated and celebrated in person.
Ten winners in aligned categories will proceed as finalists to the Illawarra Business Awards which will take place on Friday, November 19 at the WIN Entertainment Centre.
The award live stream will remain on the Shoalhaven Business Chamber Facebook page in video format for people to replay at their leisure.