Scroll to the bottom for a list of all the winners.
Wollongong burger joint His Boy Elroy was the big winner at Friday night's Illawarra Business Awards, picking up four awards at an evening designed to celebrate business resilience.
This year's ceremony was unlike any we've seen in the past, with COVID-19 restrictions meaning only 150 finalists and guests could attend the ceremony.
But for the first time in its history, the event was live streamed so the entire community could watch and support all 72 finalists and 11 category winners.
His Boy Elroy was named Illawarra Business of the Year, and picked up three other awards for owners Lachlan and Selena Stevens - Excellence in Innovation and Adaptability, Digital Service Delivery and Resilience in Small Business.
His Boy Elroy's achievements in 2020 included re-purposing staff during lockdown to introduce its own takeaway delivery service in Wollongong as well as employing 13 more people to open a second delivery and takeaway service in Shellharbour Village in April.
Adam McMahon, of Dignam Real Estate, was named Inspiring Business Leader of the Year. The nod comes five months after he was named one of Australia's leading real estate agents in a national ranking and secured a position in the Real Estate Business Top 100 Agents for 2020.
One of the most moving and motivational stories of the night came from the Inspiring Employee of the Year winner Novica Blazeski, of Home Instead Senior Care Wollongong.
The audience heard how Mr Blazeski's experiences in wartorn Yugoslavia inadvertently shaped his future to work within community services. Affectionately known as Nova, he has gone on to become a dementia and palliative care specialist and is known for his remarkable ability to make people feel at ease, according to his employer.
Mr Blazeski was named Wollongong Home Instead CAREGiver of the Year twice and was recognised nationally when he was chosen from a field of 3000 people to claim the title of Australian CAREGiver of the Year in December 2018.
Illawarra Business Chamber executive director Adam Zarth described all the winners as an exceptional group of businesses and individuals.
"The IBC team and I have felt privileged to serve the business community of the Illawarra through the most tumultuous time in memory," he said.
"The resilience of our business community has been an inspiration to us, and together we have faced challenges and grown stronger."
And the winners are:
- IMB Bank Illawarra Business of the Year - His Boy Elroy
- Inspiring Business Leader - Adam McMahon, of Dignam Real Estate
- Inspiring Employee Award - Novica Blazeski, Home Instead Senior Care Wollongong
- Excellence in Customer Service Award - Joint winners Easy Agile and Ericom
- Excellence in Innovation & Adaptability Award - His Boy Elroy
- Excellence in Import and Export Award - Itree
- Excellence in Sustainability Award - Burnetts On Barney
- Excellence in Digital Service Delivery Award - His Boy Elroy
- Excellence in Workplace Culture Award - FinoComp - Highly Commended - Mercer Administration Services Wollongong
- Resilience in Micro Business Award - Dr Olga Lavalle & Associates
- Resilience in Small Business Award - His Boy Elroy
- Resilience in Business Award - IOH Injury & Occupational Health