Previously: Last time the Federation Business School Business of the Year award was taken out by R & J Batteries. Who’ll capture the crown in 2021? Photos: FILE

Business Excellence Awards finalists announced

July 21, 2021 BY



Ballarat Foundation Community Impact Award

Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre


YMCA Ballarat


Formed Imagination is up for the City of Ballarat Creative Industries Business Award.

City of Ballarat Creative Industries Business Award

Form Imagination

MDP Photography & Video

Stoke Design Co


The WIN Network Customer Service Award

Chris Packer & Associates

Showbiz Cinemas Ballarat

The Athlete’s Foot Ballarat


Regional Development Australia Grampians Eat Drink West Award

Black Cat Truffles

Dollar Bill Brewing


Bedggoods Motor Group are up for the Bartlett Manufacturing Family Business Award.

Bartlett Manufacturing Family Business Award

Bedggoods Motor Group

Formosa Gardens Nursery

Buddies Community Access Network (C.A.N)


GROW Ballarat Health and Wellbeing Business Award

Adrian Misseri Podiatry

UFS Dispensaries

Uplift Therapy


Federation University Technology Park Innovation Award

Carboni’s Italian Kitchen

Form Imagination

Vitrafy Life Sciences


New commers Dollar Bill Brewing are familiar with winning top awards.

Nevetts Lawyers Manufacturing Award

Design Blinds & Shutters

Dollar Bill Brewing

Sovereign Press


Runway Ballarat New and Emerging Business Award

1816 Bakehouse

Buninyong Hair & Beauty

Vitrafy Life Sciences


Mercure Ballarat Hotel and Convention Centre Professional Service Business Award

BGT Jobs + Training

Chris Packer & Associates

McGrath Ballarat


Integra Restaurants, Cafes and Pubs Business Award

Carboni’s Italian Kitchen

Schnitz Ballarat

The Shared Table


Formosa Gardens are finalists in the Ballarat Times News Group Retail Awards.

Ballarat Times News Group Retail Business Award

Ballarat Car Sales

Formosa Gardens Nursery

Go Vita Ballarat


Power FM Small Business Award

Ballarat Car Sales

Ballarat Indoor Go Kart, Laserforce & Entertainment Centre

Frank Ford Travel


Central Highlands Water Trade Business Award

Ballarat Epoxy & Flake Flooring

Rubi Wax & Beauty

Trentron Electrical


Best the business


Meet those who have been able to survive, revive and thrive over the last 18 months


FINALISTS in the 2021 Federation Business School Commerce Ballarat Business Excellence Awards have been announced, and it’s a wide and varied mix of the region’s enterprises.

The list includes some familiar names who have made it this far before, and new entrants in the final round for the first time.

Commerce Ballarat board chair Hayley Coates at the 2019 awards gala.

But one thing’s for sure, they have all embraced the theme of this year’s awards – survive, revive and thrive.

“The fact that any of these businesses are still able to celebrate anything is a great success after the 18 months we’ve had,” said Hayley Coates, board chair of Commerce Ballarat.

“With businesses comfortable putting themselves forward for these awards means that they have survived and thrived.”

While the theme of this year’s Business Excellence Awards have changed to suit the times, the dual purposes of celebrating the region’s enterprises and facilitating an introspective look are still just as relevant.

“It’s always important to look at the basics of your business and step back and look behind the scenes,” Ms Coates said.

“We all get caught up doing our job and running our businesses, but a good business relies on strong foundation, and that’s where these awards come in.

“They help you go back at look at your foundation and look at where any gaps are and that’s what enables these businesses to be able to thrive in the tough times.”

One of those businesses doing okay in the current conditions are first time finalists Dollar Bill Brewing who are in for the Regional Development Australia Grampians Eat Drink West Award and Nevetts Lawyers Manufacturing Award.

While top prizes aren’t new to Dollar Bill, they won Champion Australian Beer at the 2021 Australian International Beer Awards recently, co-owner Ed Nollie’s said the local nods were meaningful.

“It’s a great honour to be considered for our commercial viability,” he said. “We honestly don’t make a lot of money out of what we do, but we do it because we love what we do and the community we live in.”

With Dollar Bill finalists in two categories that represent the start and end point of the process for the companies products, Mr Nollie said the nods were a great pairing.

“Manufacturing-wise, we’re low-tech but passionate about how we do it,” he said.

“The Eat Drink West thing is magnificent as well as what we do is quite significantly tied to the place that we do it. We use wild fermentation and native yeast and bacteria. Our products really have that sense of place.”

Chair of Regional Development Australia Grampians, Stuart Benjamin.

Chair of Regional Development Australia Grampians, who sponsor the Eat Drink West Award, Stuart Benjamin said his organisation’s reasons for backing the category were simple.

“In the Grampians region our largest economic sector is agriculture, yet of everything we produce that leaves the farmgate only one per cent stays in the region and is value added,” he said.

“The entire push of RDA in the agricultural sector is ‘how do we grow that one per cent?’ The whole idea of supporting the Eat Drink West program is to make sure that we’re consuming what we produce locally.”

Winners in the 2021 Federation Business School Commerce Ballarat Business Excellence Awards are set to be revealed on Thursday, 26 August.

While the exact arrangements for the traditional gala are still fluid, Ms Coates said she was looking forward to the event, whatever form it might take.

“Business owners have struggled so much in last almost 24 months,” she said. “The ability to have the gala dinner, let off some steam, celebrate some successes and have something positive for a change would be balm that everyone needs.”