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The spirit of entrepreneurship and the rising stars of the region’s business community were celebrated at the 2023 Scenic Rim Business Excellence Awards on Friday evening.

Almost 200 guests gathered at The Centre Beaudesert where veterinary pharmaceuticals enterprise Plasvacc Pty Ltd received the highest accolade, the Regional Prosperity Award, after winning the Excellence in Business Award as an employer of more than 20 staff.

Competition was keen with 43 businesses and four individuals competing for awards in 11 categories, which Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said recognised the dedication and determination of those helping to drive the region’s growing economy.

“Building a successful business requires passion, determination and resilience and the ability to continue to adapt and evolve to meet customers’ needs and an ever-changing economic environment,” he said.

“These awards provide an opportunity to recognise those who go above and beyond in customer service and innovation and who remind us all of the stellar success that can be achieved through vision and purpose.”

The awards were presented in the categories of: Excellence in Tourism and Accommodation; Excellence in Hospitality – Food and Dining; Excellence in Retail, Excellence in Trades and Construction; Excellence in Agriculture; Excellence in Transport, Logistics, Manufacturing and Mining; Excellence in Professional Services; Excellence in Community Services; Most Outstanding New Business; Excellence in Business (20+ staff); and Trainee/Apprentice of the Year. 

The overall Regional Prosperity Award was presented to the business that has achieved outstanding results, exhibited sound management and demonstrated all-round excellence. 

Judges Melissa Johnson Morgan, Associate Professor of the University of Southern Queensland’s School of Business, and John Hale, the Mentoring for Growth Program Mentor from the Queensland Government’s Department of Employment, Small Business and Training, commented on the high calibre of entries in the 2023 awards.

In judging the business nominations they considered a range of factors including outstanding customer service, environmental awareness, understanding of target markets, well-defined and understood business strategies, rigorous systems, effective risk management, financial performance and a clear commitment to excellence in all facets of their operations.

Mayor Christensen said the awards also recognised the trainees and apprentices who represent the future of the Scenic Rim.

“One of the challenges for our region, and indeed other communities, is that we often lose talented young people to larger urban areas once they graduate,” he said.

“Our schools and local businesses are to be congratulated for offering our young people an insight into the opportunities available for them to succeed and grow their careers in the Scenic Rim.”

Mayor Christensen said he was proud of the contribution of local businesses which has seen the steady growth of the Scenic Rim’s economy, whose GRP is now some $2.09 billion annually.

“As well as showcasing our industry-leading businesses, the biennial Business Excellence Awards send a strong message to potential investors and jobseekers that the Scenic Rim is a region of great opportunity,” he said.

“The achievements of our awards recipients should inspire others to strive for similarly high standards of excellence which are building the reputation of the Scenic Rim as a great place to do business.” 

The winners of the 2023 Scenic Rim Business Excellence Awards are as follows:

Excellence in Tourism and Accommodation
Mount French Lodge

Nestled in the picturesque countryside of Mount French, this luxurious lodge features eight beautifully appointed apartments accommodating just sixteen guests. The business model is innovative in that the property is let to only one group at a time, attracting families, friends and corporate clients for special celebrations and providing a motivating space for business planning workshops. Recent improvements include additional accommodation and a stunning outdoor pavilion.

Excellence in Hospitality – Food and Dining
Picnic Real Food Bar

Picnic Real Food was established in 2021 in the North Stores precinct at North Tamborine. Its menu, with a focus on wholesome food, features fresh produce from local growers and changes seasonally. Environmental sustainability is a key feature in its food packaging and goal of zero waste, which sees 20 kilograms of kitchen food scraps reduced to two kilos of nutrient-rich compost overnight. An Environ Waste Management system manages all on-site waste water and supports an on-site vegetable, herb and fruit tree garden.

Excellence in Retail
My Country Escape

From a meticulously renovated historic building in Canungra, My Country Escape showcases a carefully curated range of merchandise supporting local products and artisans, from stylish homewares and body products to sustainable clothing, all in a welcoming and uplifting atmosphere. It was judged an outstanding local business which gone from strength to strength, contributing to the community and supporting local events. Collaboration with Griffith University design students has seen the Canungra store expanded to include an outdoor space for community workshops.

Excellence in Professional Services
Honni Hayton Counselling

Honni Hayton Counselling was established five years ago in response to the need for accessible and specialised mental health services within the Scenic Rim. As a sole practitioner, Honni aimed to create a safe, local haven providing expert counselling and tailored support to enhance emotional and mental well-being. She has grown her business and her business skills during difficult years of the pandemic, successfully pivoting to provide a valuable online counselling service to the community.

Excellence in Trades and Construction
Totally Flooring, Beaudesert

Totally Flooring, a family-owned and operated retail flooring store which opened in Beaudesert two years ago, is a great example of a sole trader taking a leap by utilising trade skills to start their own independent business in what is a largely franchised industry. Providing a high level of customer service, Totally Flooring has its own team of installers and has extended its product line to include window furnishings, tile products and trade accessories. It is a great supporter of local community sport, aims to employ staff who live in the region and also supports other small businesses.

Excellence in Agriculture
Aquis Farm

Achieving a perfect score of 100 in the awards judging, Aquis Farm is a world-class business with a team of experienced vets, trainers, breeders and industry experts to ensure the well-being and success of racehorses. Established in 2015, it is dedicated to sustainable practices in equine management, environmental stewardship and social responsibility and aspires to be the premier global destination for horse training and racing with bloodlines dominating world events. Water conservation, pasture improvements, paddock rest and use of renewable energy are at the heart of its sustainability practices.

Excellence in Transport, Logistics, Manufacturing and Mining
Beaudesert Exhaust

Established in 1982,Beaudesert Exhaust has grown from providing basic exhaust and radiator parts to large-scale manufacturing and supply chain production. Beaudesert Exhaust provides services to a range of Australian businesses and manufacturers including 3D scanning and modelling, specialty coatings and the supply of pre-production components for a broad range of applications. It is at the forefront of automotive manufacturing, catering to customers whose passions include 4WD activities, camping, caravanning, fishing and off-road adventures.

Excellence in Community Services
McAuley College Beaudesert

McAuley College opened in January 2017 as a direct result of community advocacy for a Catholic secondary school and enrols a diverse range of students. It offers rural heritage values and supports creative, contemporary and innovative learning through quality teaching in an environment of engagement and community partnership. McAuley College has developed a Senior Program to engage with local businesses to provide work experience and works closely with Mununjali House and Amy Blow to build a space for First Nations students to celebrate their history and story.

Most Outstanding New Business
Neds Restaurant

The family-owned and operated Neds Restaurant aims to be the destination of choice for steak connoisseurs and those seeking a memorable dining experience in the Scenic Rim. It sources the finest quality ingredients from local suppliers, supporting the regional agricultural and food production sectors, and actively engages with other local businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry to forge strong community partnerships. Its environmental impact is lessened by monitoring energy consumption, reducing waste and sourcing sustainable products.

Excellence in Business (20+ employees)
Plasvacc Pty Ltd

Plasvacc Pty Ltd manufactures high-quality blood plasma products for horses, camels and dogs was judged as an extremely well-run business with caring staff, an holistic approach to animal welfare and high ethical standards. Of the 27 staff at its Kalbar headquarters, 23 are women and most are Scenic Rim residents who have enjoyed long-term careers in fields of science, manufacturing, biopharmaceuticals, animal husbandry and administration in a family-friendly workplace. Plasvacc’s employees have grown in number worldwide, partly driven by the acquisition of its United Kingdom division.

Trainee/Apprentice of the Year Award
Kasey Payne – Boonah State High School

A dedicated, hardworking and community-minded young woman, Kasey Payne has been a school-based trainee at Hayes and Co, where she is currently undertaking a Certificate III in Business. Kasey has demonstrated exceptional commitment to her studies and the agricultural industry, actively participates in the Boonah State High School Cattle Club and is President of the Junior Show Society. She is an aspiring ambassador for vocational training, having also completed Certificate studies in Sport and Recreation and Tourism alongside her school responsibilities.

Regional Prosperity Highly Commended
Boonah State High School

Boonah State High School’s strategic approach to rebuilding its connection with the community has seen enormous benefits for the school, the students and the community. As regions such as the Scenic Rim often lose talented young people to larger urban areas once they graduate, the school is doing all it can to expose its students to the availability of valuable opportunities and industries in the region. The school sees itself as a training ground for the next generation of young people who will help Scenic Rim businesses to succeed in the future through the leadership of Dan Marrone, the enthusiasm of Kelly Skewes and the dedication of its teachers and students.

Regional Prosperity Award
Plasvacc Pty Ltd

With its Kalbar facility the only one of its kind in Australia, Plasvacc operates in three countries and is at the forefront of the veterinary industry. It exports to fifteen countries and helps to ensure the welfare of animals in Australia and abroad through the production of pharmaceuticals that contribute to a high standard of care. Plasvacc has been operating for 25 years and its global success and recognition attests to the company’s achievements as an innovator in the animal health and agricultural industries.