The best of the best awarded at gala celebration

Rockhampton came to life with cheers, support, and encouragement on Saturday night as the winners of eight award categories were announced during the 2021 Best in Business gala event.

Hosted by Capricorn Enterprise in conjunction with the Capricornia Chamber of Commerce, 240 enthusiastic guests packed into Kortes Resort to celebrate local entities who have adapted, achieved, and created immense opportunities to forge a strong and resilient business community.

From local Sports Clubs to Kindergartens, Cafes to Accounting firms, a total of 92 nominations were received across 7 competitive categories, together with 49 additional businesses vying for the exciting People’s Choice category.

Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll paid sincere tribute to everyone working in business through the continued global pandemic and reflected on the depth and strength of the local business community.

“I would like to thank everyone who has purchased tickets for tonight’s event, to all those who took the time to nominate, to all Best in Business winners, and of course, our marvelous sponsors who have helped to make the night possible,” Mary said. “What a great opportunity to celebrate our destination’s truly outstanding business talent. Every business here tonight is a winner!”

During the event, Mary presented five tourism operators including Capricorn Caves, Discovery Parks – Coolwaters, Yeppoon, Discovery Parks – Rockhampton, Fisherman’s Beach Holiday Park and Mount Morgan Historical Railway Museum, with a Best of Queensland certificate, after they received 100 points (a perfect result) in the last round of results. The Best of Queensland program identifies those experiences that bring the Queensland story to life and consistently deliver a high-quality visitor experience.

A fitting tribute was also made to 40 long-standing businesses who have been in operation for 20 or more consecutive years.

A highlight of the award presentation was the People’s Choice category, where public voted via an online poll, with thousands of votes cast over a short 4-week period. Capricorn Coast restaurant and takeaway The Bungalow, based on Anzac Parade in Yeppoon took out the popular category with the highest number of votes.

Chamber President, Phil Henry was pleased at the success of the event and award process, looking forward to the Best in Business Awards returning bigger and better in 2022.

“We could not provide such a high-calibre of awards without our cohort of experienced judges and our sponsors, together with both the teams from Capricornia Chamber of Commerce and Capricorn Enterprise, and we are extremely grateful to all nominating businesses for the high quality of their applications,” Phil said.

Following formalities, MC Alexandra Cullen invited guests to the dancefloor where the Rhonda Janes Band rocked well into the evening and lighting up social media screens with the hashtag #CapricornBestinBusiness, many guests shared their glammed-up and celebratory photos.

Arjan Bloemer, CEO of Central Highlands Development Corporation joined his fellow judges in the search for excellence and distinction and was blown away by the outstanding caliber of nominations across all categories.

“Our independent team engaged in a rigorous and intense judging process to shortlist finalists, before proceeding to zoom interviews, scoring and winner selection,” Arjan shared. “We quickly uncovered the incredible passion and broad depth of business acumen this region offers, and all nominees, finalists and category winners should be extremely proud of their enduring achievements.”

“Some categories were incredibly close, in particular the ‘Best Response to the COVID-19 Business Environment’ category, where we awarded two winners, as it came to splitting hairs for these two very different businesses who both adapted rapidly and precisely to their industry’s forced changes.”

The judging panel included:

  • Tony Gambling, Director of Regional Development – Regional Development Australia
  • Kim Harrington, Associate Vice President Rockhampton, and Central Highlands – CQUniversity
  • Arjan Bloemer, Chief Executive Officer – Central Highlands Development Corporation
  • Adrienne Rourke, Central Queensland Regional Manager – AusIndustry Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

Best New Business (sponsored by Stanwell)
Finalists – Central Queensland Media Pty Ltd, Shiralee Clydesdales and Farm Stay, Tropical Luxury Cars Yeppoon

Best Small to Medium Business (sponsored by Hughes et al)
Finalists – Aquatic Pool & Spa Services, Art by Sophia, Yeppoon Small Motor Service

Best Medium to Large Business
– CQG Consulting (CQ Environmental), Empire Apartment Hotel, Kennas Chartered Accountants & Kennas Financial Planners

Best Community Enterprise (sponsored by Gibb Group)
Finalists – Bundara Kindergarten, CQ Healthy Families, Rocky Sports Club

Best Employee as nominated by an Employer (sponsored by Butler Partners)
Finalists – Lauren Lever (Koorana Crocodile Farm), Loryus Chappel (Capricorn Caves), Shae Minto (Rocky Sports Club)

Best Apprentice or Trainee as nominated by an Employer (sponsored by Ergon Energy)
Finalists – Jacob Stagg (Johnson’s 4WD Repair Shop), Jesse Lawton (Smoooth Juice), Taivia Dunne (Stanwell Corporation)

Best Response to the COVID-19 Business Environment (sponsored by NBN co.)

People’s Choice – (sponsored by Johnson’s 4WD Repair Shop)

Additional social pictures will be posted soon…

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