READY TO GO: Ballina Chamber of Commerce executive officer Nadia Eliott-Burgess prepares for the awards at the Ballina RSL Club.
READY TO GO: Ballina Chamber of Commerce executive officer Nadia Eliott-Burgess prepares for the awards at the Ballina RSL Club. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Ballina celebrates business success with 17th annual awards

NOW in its 17th year, the Ballina Chamber of Commerce will roll out the red carpet for the newly branded Ballina Coast and Hinterland Northern Star Business Awards tomorrow night.

"The awards program is designed to recognise and reward excellence in business, foster innovation and encourage a focus on sustainability, corporate citizenship and safe work practices," said Nadia Eliott-Burgess, the awards co-ordinator.

"The awards also provide an annual opportunity for traders to review systems and undertake operational improvements, which can be invaluable."

Award categories for 2014 represent the diversity of businesses throughout the Ballina Shire, including Lennox Head, Newrybar, Tintenbar, Alstonville, Wollongbar and Wardell.

Any business within the Ballina Shire boundaries is eligible to enter.

Ms Eliott-Burgess said once submissions were received, a volunteer judging panel from the local area read through the submissions to begin the judging.

At the same time, a team of mystery shoppers undertook the enviable task of shopping to their heart's content throughout the Ballina Shire to gain insight into the way the businesses work with their customers.

"The daunting task of selecting category winners is not one I envy," Ms Eliott-Burgess said.

"Transparency of process is paramount to the integrity of our awards program and we greatly appreciate the contribution of our external judging panels for allowing us to distance ourselves from this judging process.

"If it were up to me, I would give all local business people an award."

Local sculptor David Mackay Harrison designed and manufactured the Pelican sculpture, reminiscent of an Oscar, specifically for the Ballina Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.

"These awards have become a coveted symbol of business excellence, with many proudly displayed on numerous businesses throughout our shire," Ms Eliott-Burgess said.

"This generous support of the awards demonstrates the immense pride many of our local operators feel about living and working in the Ballina coast and hinterland."

The awards night is a red carpet gala affair, attracting the who's who of the region and featuring spectacular food and entertainment.

"The awards event is a fantastic social occasion, with plenty of opportunities to network and engage with entrepreneurial business people or to hit the dance floor to celebrate another year of doing business in paradise," Ms Eliott-Burgess said.

* This article appeared as part of an advertising feature in The Northern Star

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