Business community gather to celebrate success and launch 2023 Business Awards

The Sunshine Coast is seen as the ‘entrepreneurial capital’ of Australia, and it is the reputation for hard work and dedication that the Sunshine Coast business community celebrated at the annual Small Business Month Breakfast in May, which was a huge success with a sell-out crowd of over 260 people present, with 50 at the information session that followed.

SCBA Small Bus Month Breaky panelists Darren McClenaghan (RACV Noosa Resort), Rachel Downie (Stymie), Thiago Perrone (Aussie Tiny Houses) with Sunshine Coast Business Awards chair Jennifer Swaine – photo by Barry Alsop

The event on Thursday 4th May, presented by the Sunshine Coast Business Awards, Sunshine Coast Council and Regional Development Australia (RDA), Sunshine Coast, also saw the 2023 Sunshine Coast Business Awards launched.

“With more than 40,500 small businesses, contributing to more than 50% of all employment for the region, it is no wonder that we are the envy of other regions,” Sunshine Coast Business Awards chair Jennifer Swaine said.

“We have such a rich diversity of business and industries which is reflected by the business winners and finalists in our Awards year after year.”

RDA Sunshine Coast CEO Paul Fisher said the Queensland Small Business Month breakfast was the perfect forum to join fellow small business professionals in sharing stories of success, strategies for growth and to reflect on the past 12 months.

Mr Fisher interviewed a panel of past Sunshine Coast Business Awards winners, with an opportunity for question and answers. The panel will include:

  • Darren McClenaghan – Resort Manager – RACV Noosa Resort
  • Rachel Downie – Founder & Director – Stymie
  • Thiago Perrone – Managing Director – Aussie Tiny Houses

Mrs Swaine said the event was also an opportunity to gain inspiration to enter the 2023 Sunshine Coast Business Awards.“Now in our 28th year, we are delighted that our first-ever naming rights sponsor LPE, have recommitted to continue their support for the awards.

“Our Awards program and Gala event is among the best in the country, and it just wouldn’t be possible to run without the committed support of our volunteer Awards committee and our sponsors so it is great to see LPE once again leading the way in their commitment to the Awards.

“LPE are Sunshine Coast locals and have a mission to create sustainable, future-forward communities. They are the strata community experts offering Embedded Networks, Centralised Hot Water and Renewable Electricity Solutions. We thank them for their steadfast and continued support of the Sunshine Coast business community.”

This year, immediately after the breakfast, the Sunshine Coast Business Awards held its first information session, designed to give entrants a chance to find out more about the application process and eligibility criteria, find out some tips about submitting a competitive application and have the opportunity to ask questions of the awards team including Head of Judging Bruce Williams. More information sessions are scheduled – check the Awards website and socials for details.

Mrs Swaine said this year’s Awards categories had been realigned so businesses should check the website for details and enter the category that was right for them.

“There are 17 categories, with small and large for each, so there is one suitable for every type of business, regardless of size, and we want to encourage as many businesses from across the region to enter as possible.”

The 2023 Sunshine Coast Business Awards will open for nominations and entries after the Small Business Breakfast. The categories with small and large categories in each include:

  • Accommodation (Tourism)
  • Advanced Technology
  • Building and Construction
  • Business Services
  • Clean Technology
  • Creative Industries
  • Education and Training
  • Experiences
  • Export – only available to those exporting internationally
  • Food and Agribusiness
  • Health and Wellness
  • Hospitality
  • Manufacturing
  • Professional Services
  • Retail
  • Social Impact
  • Trades & Services

The Export and Business of the Year winners are drawn from the winners of the categories. Hall of Fame Awards are also awarded to those businesses which have won their category three years in a row.

To find out more about the Awards or nominate a business visit

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