The Mornington Peninsula Business Excellence Awards recognise innovation, sustainability and excellence across all industry sectors.
With the 2023 program now open, we are taking the time to celebrate the winners from last year.
The inaugural Mornington Peninsula Business Excellence Awards were established to recognise excellence, and they certainly delivered that!
On 19 October 2022, two hundred local business people and their supporters came together at a sold-out gala presentation event. There was a buzz of excitement in the room as businesses took the opportunity to share the night with their colleagues and connect with other like-minded business people after a tough few years.
The awards were developed to celebrate the range of local businesses and industries who demonstrated excellence, innovation and sustainability in their field. They are one of the highest awards that a business can receive on our Peninsula.
More than a hundred entrants across nine categories were judged by the Small Business Mentoring Service expert judges on how they demonstrate innovation, sustainability, and excellence.
The results are as follows:
This was awarded to a business that shows a commitment to excellence, innovation and sustainability in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. The winner of the Agriculture and Manufacturing Award was:
Two Bays Brewing – A niche brewing business, Australia’s first dedicated gluten free brewery and taproom, it has a national focus, and you can find them in every Australian state from Port Douglas to Hobart and as far as Port Hedland in Western Australia.
The judges chose Two Bays brewing for their outstanding innovation in developing and marketing a gluten free beer and selling it to 2,000 outlets, their business planning, product acumen, knowledge of the market and their focus on continuous improvement, in terms of trailing new brewing methods and beers.
The finalists of the Agriculture and Manufacturing Award were:
Hawkes Farm – A traditional vegetable farm growing potatoes, carrots, strawberries, corn and a variety of other produce. Their main produce is potatoes and they have recently expanded their activities into a farm gate store and an incredibly popular on-site hot chip van.
Mock Red Hill – A fifth-generation business that grows bio-dynamic apples. It has evolved from the orchard into developing a range of products, including cider, drinks, freeze dried apples and vegetables in addition to establishing a farm gate and a cider lounge
Peninsula Fresh Seafood – A business that started with harvesting and selling mussels at Safety Beach and which has expanded, though customer demand, into seafood processing and wholesaling. Their products are available for sale through mobile vehicles at various locations across the Peninsula.
This is awarded to a business which shows exceptional innovation, creativity, talent or ideas which are produced as products or services. The winner of the Creative Industry Award was:
Little Woodworkers – A small family business that makes quality wooden toys and self-assembly kits for preschool and primary school children. They facilitate in person classes where the children not only have fun but learn about sustainability in a unique and memorable way.
The judges chose Little Woodworkers for their uniqueness in the education space, offering a hands-on experience for children with their innovative wooden self-assembly kits, their ability to pivot during Covid by developing tutorials, videos and designing their own tools, and finally their overarching commitment to sustainable practices.
The finalists of the Creative Industry Awards were:
& Gallery Australia – A contemporary art gallery showing mid-career and senior artists who have dedicated their life to their creative practice. They have a monthly Solo Exhibition program and group exhibitions in the The Salon, in addition to a visible stockroom and a Sculpture Yard.
Gordon Studio Glassblowers – An intergenerational family business which practices the ancient art of glassblowing They have an onsite studio and gallery where you can see them practising their craft and marvel at the skills involved in creating beautiful pieces of glass art.
PIER Marketing – A boutique marketing agency that specialises in taking a strategic approach to supporting businesses and helping them reach their goals. They work across 5 areas – strategy and research; marketing services; digital marketing; websites and graphic design.
This is awarded to a business or organisation delivering excellence in health, allied health or community services and demonstrate innovation, commitment, and connection to the community. The winner of the Health and Community Award was:
Atticus Regional Medicenter, Hastings – Atticus is an allied health service at Hastings offering general practitioner and specialist doctor services, with a strong focus on the patient’s holistic health. They have expanded their medical services to residential aged care facilities, home care services and telehealth at a national level
The judges chose Atticus for its innovation in providing a socially aware, entrepreneurial approach to healthcare and its outstanding provision of clinical, medical, and aged care support to the community. Their multidisciplinary teams work in unison to treat the whole person and their commitment to sustainability practices conserves the natural environment.
The finalists of the Health and Community Award were:
Crib Point Early Learning Centre – A 65 place Early Childhood centre that is a family owned and managed. They cater for children aged from 6 weeks to 5 years across the Crib Point area, providing high quality care and education to all the children who attend. They also offer a government funded three and 4-year-old kinder program.
Victorian Hearing Company – A locally owned and run private practice, with an independent Audiology clinic. They offer a full range of hearing and auditory processing assessments for adults, children, veterans, pensioners, employers for workplace screenings as well as tinnitus counselling and public health educational talks.
This is awarded to a business which consistently delivers high quality food and/or beverage experiences and excellent customer service to the public. The winner of the Hospitality Award was:
Red Gum BBQ – An Aussie-smoked, American-style BBQ restaurant. It focusses on slow cooked, authentic Southern American BBQ cuisine with a distinctly Australian difference. The meats are organic, ethically sourced and traditionally smoked for 12-16 hours using red gum in the giant Texas offset steel pits.
The judges chose Red Gum BBQ for the overall excellence demonstrated in every aspect of their business, from planning to the food offering to training staff, their innovation in developing new products such as rubs and sauces and their unquestionable commitment to sustainability
The finalist of the Hospitality Award were:
Commonfolk Coffee Company – Commonfolk scour the globe for coffees to purchase for a fair price to the grower and then roast and brew their products on site. They have created spaces for the community to eat, drink, caffeinate and they partner with other businesses that share the same values. Their vision is to provide quality coffee, food and hospitality, improve the communities they impact, and have fun while doing it.
100 Mile Foodie – The 100 Mile Foodie café was created to offer people living with a disability paid supported employment. The café’s vision is to support clients 100% in achieving their employment goals. They employ 12 people living with a disability, with client support workers supporting each of them individually to accomplish their dreams of paid employment.
This is awarded to a business which provides customer and business advice via customised, knowledge-based services offering real solutions and assistance. The winner of the Professional Services Award was:
Prof Consulting Group – A boutique food and grocery consultancy business which works locally and internationally across retailers, brand owners, food and agriculture or investors. They help clients access new markets, create innovation and improve their industry growth
The judges chose the Prof Consulting Group due to their innovative international business model, their integrated supply chain management system, their unique position in the industry as a leader and their ability to achieve savings for their clients through strategic sourcing strategies, product innovation and market strategies.
The finalists of Professional Services Award were:
Angela Allan-Mads Collective Group – The Group help service-based businesses in Australia and overseas to gain more high-ticket clients and generate more revenue, using conversion copywriting, Facebook and Instagram automation.
Exclusive Property Management – Specialising in property leasing, management and legislation education for short- and long-term rentals across the Mornington Peninsula. Their primary focus is connecting landlords with quality tenants.
This is awarded to a business that offers an exceptional and/or unique retail experience, maintains a high level of store presentation, exceptional customer service and has an established in-store and online presence. The winner of the Retail Award was:
Talking Hens – a small retail business that sells backyard, free range laying hens, poultry products and high-grade chicken feed.
The judges chose Talking Hens for their excellence in animal husbandry, their care in choosing and educating customers that buy the hens, their research into sustainable products such as black fly larvae for chicken feed, their use of hemp-crete and repurposed timber for the chicken coops and their use of 3D printing to trial chicken feeders made from plant-based plastics.
The finalists of the Retail Award were:
Cellar and Pantry – A provision store which stocks handpicked Wine, Beer, Cider, Spirits, deli, gift and fresh Mornington Peninsula produce. Foodies can sample the range at their Deck Café, order a picnic basket or gift hamper, grab a cook at home meal or simply shop for good ingredients.
Indigo Threads – A high quality on trend women’s fashion and accessories, aimed at mature women who are young at heart. They provide not only fashion, but styling advice and suggestions in putting together a complete look to meet the customer’s needs.
This is awarded to a new business which has been operating since 2020, offering a unique or innovative product or service developed from an identified gap in a market. The winner of the Start Up Award was:
The Peel Thing – They dehydrate locally sourced fruit and petals for cakes and cocktails. Each fruit is hand sliced and only the best quality fruit is chosen, creating a premium product. They have recently diversified to using the offcuts of the dehydrated products to prepare bath salts.
The judges chose The Peel Thing for their product innovation and growing international profile, their focus on excellence in their product, for their use of the whole fruit and minimisation of waste, and for their commitment to sustainability by using corn packaging.
The finalists of the Start Up Award were:
Etch Sparkling – They manufacture inclusive drinks for all occasions. Alcohol and sugar free, they use and celebrate native Australian fruits and herbs for flavour. They offer a popular and growing alternative for adult drinking occasions.
Island Pasta – A home-based business which produces authentic Italian pasta and pasta sauces. They offer fresh egg pasta, fresh and dry vegan pasta, and pasta sauces which follow traditional Italian family recipes. The semolina flour is Australian sourced and goes through Bronze Die Extruders to give the pasta more texture.
This is awarded to a business which provides a unique customer experience, and offers a well-crafted, signature product or which provides tourism services and/or products to both the local community and visitors to the region. The winners of the Tourism Award was:
Moonraker Dolphin Swims – A multi-award winning long-established marine tourism business operating from Sorrento Pier. It offers guests the unique opportunity to swim and or sightsee with the resident Dolphins, Seals and marine life of Port Phillip Bay.
The judges chose Moonraker because of their commitment to making all customers feel welcome and able to participate in the experience, their catering for customers that are afraid of water, overweight or disabled, their curriculum designed for school students which educates them about the sea, their innovation in using a saltwater converter for showers and their custom designed, purpose-built tour vessel which maintains world’s best practice standards for fuel efficiency, environmental impact, energy and water use.
The finalists of the Tourism Awards were:
Bass and Flinders Distillery – A family-owned and operated artisanal premium spirits producer. Their aim is to produce premium gin and brandy, to reignite interest in brandy and disrupt imports. They have a distillery door, online store and distribute via major wholesalers to restaurants and bars, as well as export.
Carmel at Sorrento – A luxury accommodation for those who are seeking a sophisticated coastal vacation. It comprises 6 three-bedroom apartments, each with their own balcony, and an exclusive penthouse suite which offers privacy with restricted elevator access and a generous balcony.
This is awarded to a business which delivers exceptional service in the specialist trades via their skills and products and adhere to industry standards derived from a trades certificate, training and experience. The winner of the Trades and Services Award was:
Dunton Group Electrical Services – They install high quality solar panels from recognized worldwide leaders in the solar industry and provide electrical services with a focus on renewable energy sources to better the environment.
The judges chose Dunton Group for their exemplary customer care and service, their emphasis on customer satisfaction, their quality and excellence in all aspects of the solar panel installation journey: service, after sales, expenses, environmental awareness, their focus on company values with considerable investment in staff engagement and retention and their repurposing of old solar panels for communities in Africa.
The finalist of the Trades and Services Award was:
Prize Plumbing – They install, repair and maintain all gas, water, drainage, and metal roofing systems in both commercial and residential environments. Prize Plumbing focuses its business on two primary areas. One section works in large and complex architectural builds and the other specialises in repairing damaged homes for customers of Australia’s premier insurers.
All the category winners received advertising packages to the value of either $500 or $1,000 with Mornington Peninsula Magazine or 3MP radio. A Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism Board membership to the value of $1,200 was also awarded to the Tourism, Hospitality and Creative category winners.
The top prize of Business of the Year went to one deserving category winner who had demonstrated excellence in every aspect of their business, from planning to developing new products and their unquestionable commitment to sustainability. The winner was:
Business of the Year: Red Gum BBQ
The Business of the Year Award winner won a $2,000 advertising package with Mornington Peninsula News Group and an on-air radio interview with 3MP radio.
Whatever the business size, the awards have proven themselves a great opportunity for Mornington Peninsula based businesses to participate and celebrate the good things that have come out of a tough couple of years; the adaptation, the resilience, the ingenuity, and innovation, many businesses have achieved. They also offer business owners and operators the chance to gain recognition, create further business opportunities and network with other entrepreneurial businesses.
The Mornington Peninsula Business Awards were proudly sponsored by Mornington Peninsula Shire, Mornington Peninsula News Group, Mornington Peninsula Magazine, 3MP radio, Hillview Quarries, Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism, Mornington Racecourse and Smart Business Solutions.
Congratulations to all of the businesses who entered these awards. The results should inspire others to enter next year and be a part of one of the most prestigious awards that businesses can achieve on our Peninsula.
Launched in 2022, the awards offer local businesses the opportunity to come together celebrate the wins, inspire and network with other business owners and share achievements with the local community.
Whatever the business size, this is a great opportunity for the Shire to support the local business community and honour the successes.
These are one of the most highly regarded awards that businesses can receive on our Peninsula.
Nominations are open until Monday 14 August