Thirteen Illawarra businesses and individuals will compete to be the best in NSW as finalists for the 2019 NSW Business Chamber Business Awards, which will be announced at a gala evening tomorrow night (Friday, 22 November 2019) at the International Convention Centre, Sydney.

The NSW Business Awards celebrates business excellence in entrepreneurship, innovation, export, business growth, sustainability and employment practices. The State Finalists represent the category winners from 16 regions across NSW.
 
A strong field of Illawarra businesses who won aligned categories in the 2019 IMB Bank Illawarra Business Awards have qualified as finalists in the state awards.
 
Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director Adam Zarth said that it was a testament to the strength and ingenuity of the Illawarra business community that such a large and diverse local field will compete for top honours at the state awards this week.
 
“Fresh off a highly successful Illawarra Business Awards night, we have thirteen winners from our region going on to even further heights at our state awards,” said Mr Zarth.
 
“The nominations are a clear representation of the excellence and innovation of the Illawarra business community, which we should be rightly proud of. We’re looking forward to being there on the night to cheer them on.”
 
The gala evening will see a variety of performances featuring sparkling new star – Mitch Tambo, a modern country favourite – The McClymonts and other Australian favourites such as Thirsty Merc and Vanessa Amorosi.
 
Details of the Illawarra finalists in the NSW Business Chamber Business Awards appear below, and further information on the awards is available at: https://www.businessannualawards.com.au/2019-State-Business-Awards/Finalists
 

Media Contact: James Newton - 0417 135 858
 

Excellence in Export – Aceit Sportswear
Aceit is a leading provider of uniform solutions for clubs and businesses in the Illawarra, Australia and Internationally. 
 
Their export sales have doubled in each of the past two years and now represent 25% of their business.  Their export sales are predominantly in the UK where their relationship with Bowls England has generated sales to national and club teams as well as individuals.  They also have supplier agreements with World Bowls and national organisations in South Africa, Spain, the Netherlands and Malta.
 
Start Up Superstar – All Care Health Services
All Care is an in-home aged care service provider that utilises digital support to provide a quality, innovative and flexible in-home care experience.
 
All Care’s 2 co-founders commenced the business in February 2018 to capitalise on the deregulation of the home aged care services market. The business attained accreditation as a provider of in-home aged care and currently provide care for more than 90 clients delivered by 31 employees.
 
Local Chamber of Commerce – Corrimal Chamber of Commerce & Industry
The Corrimal Chamber of Commerce proudly held their 39th annual “Spring into Corrimal” community festival in September boasting more than 60,000 attendees. The Chamber has been operating for 70 years and has an extremely strong connection to local businesses and the community. All committee members exude energy, passion and drive for the Corrimal region and strive to make it flourish further.
 
Outstanding Young Entrepreneur – Christopher Murphy, All Care Health Services
Chris is one of the founding partners of All Care Health Services, a provider of in-home aged care services, which commenced providing services less than 2 years ago.
 
Prior to this, Christopher spent 5 years working for other start-ups and he is also a co-founder of Energy Panda, an award-winning energy literacy social enterprise based in Canberra.
 
Christopher and his business partner linked market research, technology and direct experience to capitalise on the deregulation of the in-home aged care services market and their business is growing rapidly.  He is also developing a next generation whole-of- enterprise technology platform for aged and disability care services that they hope to enter into the market within the next 2 years.
 
Outstanding Employer of Choice – FinoComp
FinoComp is a software development company based in Jamberoo that is creating innovative software solutions for the global wealth management industry.  Their unique software solutions are being used by some of the largest life, pension and investment companies in Europe.
 
The business demonstrates its commitment to work/life balance and the health and wellbeing of their people in all aspects of their operations – from their approach to flexible working, their induction processes, recognising achievements and milestones and providing bi-weekly personal training.
 
With a flexible culture built on trust, diversity and creativity, their people are empowered to deliver global software solutions.
 
Outstanding Business Leader – David Hiscox, Dapto Leagues Club 
David has been the CEO of Dapto Leagues Club since 2007.  David is leading change in the Clubs Industry and developing plans to reinvent the Dapto Leagues Club into the future to ensure its ongoing success. He is a catalyst for positive cultural change across the Club Industry among, industry associations, boards, senior leadership and staff.
 
His leadership style includes a clear vision to influence positive change by utilising innovative thinking encouraging a better understanding of the customer journey, and shaping organisations to deliver what it is that customers and community want. An example of this is “Tabatinga” a new offering for children, at Dapto Leagues Club. Reshaping the Club in line with the changing needs of the growing Dapto community.
 
Excellence in Sustainability – Green Connect
Green Connect is a Social Enterprise that employs young people and former refugees with a 3 fold approach to social and environmental issues – paid employment and life skills, commercial waste management at events and an organic produce farm at Warrawong.
 
A key driver of all of their activities is environmental sustainability - they run tours to teach people how to grow, reuse and compost. They clean festival sites and are always trying to find ways to recycle what is left to waste on these sites. Their Op Shop is a recent addition and partners with other organisations to upcycle, recycle or reuse items that cannot be sold through the shop rather than sending them to landfill.
 
Excellence in Innovation – IRT Group
IRT Group is an Illawarra based, national community owned provider of aged care services to customers in retirement villages, residential aged care and those living independently at home.
 
To support and drive innovation IRT has dedicated teams in the business with the sole purpose of identifying current and future customer needs as well as a start-up style incubator and a disruptive tech team.  IRT’s engages with its customers in all innovation activities.  This has resulted in a number of innovative programs across the business – both technical and human based such as the world’s first fully autonomous resident shuttle service in residential aged care and a co-developed resident location device that will be available to aged care providers world-wide.
 
Excellence in Small Business – J&T Dale Plumbing
J&T Dale Plumbing is a family business run by two brothers with a team of 13 including three apprentices.  They provide the complete range of plumbing services throughout the Shoalhaven region from their fully equipped workshop and 6 utility vehicles.
 
Their business success is built on their recognition that reliability and quality workmanship leads to a strong reputation in the market and this is also supported by “giving back” to their local community.
 
Their attention to detail in the highly competitive field of maintenance plumbing has ensured that their service and product is clearly articulated and this has resulted in major growth and highly motivated staff.
 
Outstanding Young Employee – Ashleigh Barry – Kells Lawyers
Ashleigh Barry is a Senior Associate at Kells Lawyers where she works in the Family Law team.  Ashleigh has progressed rapidly through the ranks of because of her strong work ethic, her technical skill and her ability to connect with her clients. 
 
She is committed to the future of Kells where she is Chairman of the Social Committee and has recently led a review of the intern and mentor programs encouraging flexibility in the workforce for students also studying at university. Ashleigh has undertaken these tasks whilst maintaining a hectic workload.
 
Excellence in Micro Business – Mt Hay Retreat
Mt Hay Retreat is a boutique escape located on 360 acres in Berry offering an adult only retreat to escape and unwind in a secluded and luxury environment. Anthony and Louise, husband and wife run their business with only 1 extra staff member.
 
This micro business is continuing to improve the way they do business by focusing on their target market and delivering excellent customer service
This has earnt them many repeat clients and 5 star online reviews across all the major booking sites.
 
Mt Hay’s owners are actively engaged in the tourism industry and also support local charities. 
 
Excellence in Business – RMB Lawyers
RMB is a regional law firm established over 100 years ago operating out of 11 offices, specialising in personal services law and commercial transactions and disputes.  They also have two other entities – one that provides on-shore outsourced services for capital city law firms and one that is focused on work in the military sector with serving and former military personnel.
 
Their success is based on three key focus areas – their people (engagement, enjoyment and learning), their clients and, continual process improvement.  They are also very active members of the broader community through sponsorship, participation and pro bono work.
Over the past year RMB has seen improvement in all of their key metrics particularly sales revenue and profitability growth, customer experience and referrals, talent retention and diversification.
 
Excellence in Social Enterprise – The Flagstaff Group
The Flagstaff Group is a not-for-profit Australian Disability Service employing almost 400 people.
 
As a social enterprise Flagstaff operates to provide life skills and employment for people with disabilities through a variety of sustainable commercial businesses as diverse as frozen meals, laundry services, packing and assembly, recycling and shredding.
 
Each business unit is developed to provide meaningful work for staff in a financially and environmentally sustainable manner and the customer base for their products and services includes many recognised businesses across the Illawarra and beyond.