Last week, Hunter Business announced the Hunter Business Award winners for 2021, celebrating with more than 70 business finalists and sixteen winners from across the region in a night full of colour, fanfare and excitement at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre.
The evening kicked off with a surprise encore set of the recently staged Metropolitan Players performance of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert by an ensemble cast and proceeded through sixteen categories of Awards recognising the Hunter’s finest.
Business Hunter CEO, Bob Hawes said the night had a real flair of celebration set right from the get-go and the atmosphere was one of festivity and recognition of the enduring challenges faced by many businesses in 2021.
“It was an evening marked by a celebration of success, ultimately,” Bob said.
“Our business communities came together to pay homage to one another and tribute each other’s achievements in another tumultuous year.
“While we all had hopes for a return to our highly anticipated and traditional Gala Dinner for the Awards this year, the Delta variant of COVID-19 had other ideas; and once again, our business community embraced the event in droves.
“We saw winners from diverse sectors – energy and coal, natural cosmetics and products, environmental organisations and small businesses and entrepreneurs driving new business and industry in the Hunter.
“Our Award winners this year really showed how diverse and ready our region is to grow and contribute to the recovery economy in Australia.”
Stephen Hunt of Hunt Hospitality took out Business Leader of the Year amidst a strong list of finalists, adding another string to his recent bow of recognition for business excellence.
Port of Newcastle won the Contribution to the Region Award and Muswellbrook Chamber of Commerce took out Local Chamber of the Year.
Deck Café at Lovedale won the Innovation and Adaptability category for their innovation in spearheading a take-away degustation menu to bring deliciousness into locked-down homes, with many other food outlets following suit.
Business Hunter President, Tony Rhodes said that the Awards showcased the business community’s entrepreneurial spirit with a focus on community and sustainability central to the categories.
Tony was delighted to present the Business Hunter President’s Award to the COVID-19 Response Team at Hunter New England Local Health District.
“This year was a year to acknowledge community as well as business,” Tony said.
“With COVID’s enduring impact throughout 2021, it was important that our Board recognise that business contribution is sometimes reflected through community organisations like Hunter New England Health.
“It was clear this year that the team stepped up and delivered day in and day out for our community when we needed them the most.”
Imaginelle of Redhead won the Excellence in Sustainability award for their range of organic, cruelty, and nasties-free care and cosmetic products.
Youth Express took out the Excellence in Community Enterprise for their work finding at risk youth communities’ education and employment pathways.
“All of our winners should be credited for the advances they have made this year,” Tony said.
The Awards returned more than 120 entries in 2021 and were finalised down to 70 entrants across the categories.
Bob said that this showed the region had an appetite of resilience and success despite the challenges at our feet.
“Not all industries in the Hunter were adversely impacted by the events of the past two years, but by and large our Awards showcased the endurance of our region and our capacity to continue to deliver for our region in spite of what else is going on.”
“We continue to show that we are a region ready, and I congratulate all our finalists and winners once again,” Bob said.
All Hunter Business Award winners will automatically be deemed finalists in the Business NSW State Business Awards, being held virtually on 26 November 2021.
The full list of winners and finalists can be found on the Business Hunter website.
IMAGE | The stars of the show – the winners from the 2021 Hunter Business Awards.
Business Hunter is the new name for the organisation formerly known as the Hunter Business Chamber. We are the largest regional peak business group in Australia, representing members across all business and industry sectors. Business Hunter is a not-for-profit member organisation dedicated to connecting people in business with what they need to succeed.
We have been the voice of business in the Hunter since 1886. Our members are part of a network of more than 2,500 businesses across the region. That network includes members of 20 aligned local chambers across 10 local government areas, stretching from the Mid North Coast to Lake Macquarie and inland to Scone. From main-street retailers to ASX 100 corporates, our member businesses power Australia's strongest regional economy.
The name Business Hunter was adopted in February 2020 to better reflect the vibrant and diverse businesses the organisation represents. The new name also aligns with our affiliates Business NSW and Business Australia.
Business Hunter has been through a number of name changes; what has never changed is our commitment to helping our members do business better, to drive growth and prosperity in the Hunter region.