THE finalists competing for top honours at the Wimmera Business Awards were announced.
Over 70 applications were received from across five council areas, which comprised of Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, West Wimmera and Yarriambiack shires and Horsham Rural City Council. 45 finalists were selected across the 15 categories.
Wimmera Development Association project officer Bonnie Severin said the judges had a challenging time narrowing down category winners this year.
“Several judges commented that they were very impressed with the range of products and services being produced by our local businesses in all categories,” she said. “The dedication and commitment of the owners and operators of all businesses was also applauded.”
The best new business category are Paw Po, Golton in the Gap, The Time Gallery and Grampians Wine Tours. Ms Severin said there were record numbers in this division, which showed the drive and enthusiasm of the community to provide new opportunities for the region.
Shortlisted in the best community service division are Nhill Neighbourhood House, Just Better Care, Stawell Neighbourhood House and Grampians Community Health.
Rupanyup Living, Dimboola Pharmacy and Des Lardner’s Organic have earned recognition as the best retail businesses.
Des Lardner’s Organic was also nominated in the best in health and fitness category along with C.Taylor Personal Training, Salon Mode and Dimboola Pharmacy.
The Capital Bar and Bistro, Great Western Hotel and Thai Basil were recognised for its excellence in hospitality, food and beverage.
Priscilla George, Corey Mann and Lauren Kerber are vying for the apprentice/trainee of the year while Ashlee Roll, Klynton Krause and Corey Tucker were recognised as young leaders in business.
The excellence in science and innovation category finalists are Smallaire, Plant Phenomics and Roses Gap Recreation Centre. Smallaire were also recognised for its excellence in agriculture along with Nuseed and Wimmera Machinery Field Days.
Finalists in the best tourism attraction category are Golton in the Gap, Harrow Discovery Centre and Grampians Helicopters.
Laser Plumbing and Electrical, Your Family Vet and Bug R Off have shown excellence in trade and service and Rupanyup Living Brownies, Smallaire and Krause Bricks were recognised for its excellence in manufacturing and export.
Brianna Bowater, Matthew Harfield and Rebecca Sedgley are shortlisted for employee of the year.
The winners would be announced on October 12.