The name Illawarra is the Aboriginal word for "high place by the sea" so it is fitting that the theme for the 25th annual IMB Bank Illawarra Business Awards is 'land meets sea'.
The Awards celebrate and recognise excellence in business leadership, entrepreneurship, innovation, sustainability, business growth and employment practices.
Winners will be announced at a black tie gala event tonight - Friday, October 18 - at WIN Entertainment Centre from 6.30-11.30pm. The event will showcase local produce on the menu including local wines and event organisers are expecting more than 600 people to attend.
"There is a new category - Excellence in Micro Business, which recognises businesses with between one and four employees that demonstrate exceptional growth in profitability and market share," executive director of the Illawarra Business Chamber, Adam Zarth said.
IMB Bank is the principal sponsor of the awards for the fourth year in a row.
IMB Bank chief executive Robert Ryan said the bank was proud to support an event that recognised many exceptional businesses in the region each year.
"Celebrating business success and encouraging entrepreneurial leadership is vital to developing communities that thrive into the future," Mr Ryan said.
"The IMB Bank Illawarra Business Awards is an integral part of the economic and civic growth in the region."
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In addition to recognising and honouring the most outstanding businesses in the region, the Awards present an opportunity to celebrate the combined successes of the Illawarra business community.
The Awards provide networking opportunities, the chance to share remarkable stories and ongoing brand exposure to the entire region. For entrants, the Awards also provide a platform for reviewing business operations.
Now in its 25th year, the Awards attract attendance of SME business owners, senior executives from the private sector as well as local Government representatives.
Some 13 of the 18 categories are aligned with the NSW State Awards, which allows the winners of these categories to compete at state level and represent the Illawarra.
All entries have been assessed by an independent judging panel and the entire judging process was overseen by independent auditor, KPMG.
The category sponsors are: Access Law Group, South32, BlueScope, University of Wollongong, Peoplecare, CareSuper, Dapto Leagues Club, Venues NSW, Department of Family and Community Services, NSW Ports, Department of Education, WIN Network, IOH, Wollongong City Council and IRT.
Find out more at businessannualawards.com.au.
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