Winners of the IMB Bank Illawarra Business Awards were celebrated in style in front of a crowd of more than 650 Illawarra business leaders and VIPs.
Symbio Wildlife Park was one of the big winners after being crowned the 2019 IMB Bank Illawarra Business of the Year, in addition to taking out the Excellence in Tourism and Excellence in Customer Service categories.
Outstanding Young Employee was won by Ashleigh Barry of Kells Lawyers, Outstanding Young Entrepreneur was awarded to Christopher Murphy of All Care Health Services and the Outstanding Business Leader winner was David Hiscox of Dapto Leagues Club.
The awards took on a special significance in 2019 as they marked the 25th year of the Illawarra Business Chamber running the event.
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The gala dinner held on October 18 had the theme 'Illawarra: land meets sea', which saw the region's unique and beautiful natural environment reflected in the food, drinks and entertainment, and the WIN Entertainment Centre transformed into a coastal and bush wonderland.
"Our award winners are an exceptional group of businesses and individuals who have been judged as the Illawarra's finest by our esteemed independent judging panel," Illawarra Business Chamber executive director, Adam Zarth said.
"The Illawarra Business Awards celebrate the achievements of our business community over the past year, and the contribution it makes to the life and the economy of our region."
The alignment of the Illawarra and NSW Business Awards means that 13 of the 18 Illawarra category winners now progress through as finalists in the NSW Business Chamber Awards on November 22. This provides regional winners with state-wide recognition and promotion.
Adam said, "The Illawarra is home to the most innovative, driven and dynamic business community in the state, and our 2019 winners exemplify these traits."