(Grasshopper Bar, Temperance Lane)
Good morning, everyone, and welcome. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of this land, and I pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.
A warm welcome to the winners of our 2009 and 2010 Business Awards who are here this morning - including Martin O'Sullivan who's a co-founder of Grasshopper and winner of last years Small Business of the Year and Best Small Bar awards.
I think Martin will tell you what a difference it made to the business profile to win those awards and I thank him for hosting today's launch.
I also welcome representatives from the City's business partnerships and chambers of commerce who are very important partners with us in supporting the small-to-medium business sector.
There are 18,000 such businesses spread across the 32 suburbs which comprise the City's local government area and they play a crucial role in local communities, driving growth, promoting a diverse local environment and providing jobs for many thousands of people.
The vision, energy and drive of these small businesses makes a significant contribution to the Sydney vibe and we are pleased to support their work by our improvements to local streets and open spaces to attract more people to these precincts.
It's really satisfying to see what a difference improvements to the physical environment can make to an area: following our upgrade of Redfern Street, for example, this once-forlorn and near-derelict strip is now home to a string of new cafes and eateries and other thriving businesses.
These Business Awards are another way in which we support the small-to-medium business sector, with 22 categories covering everything from fashion and beauty to food and drink, accommodation, tourism, marketing, bicycles and many more.
Eight finalists will be selected from each category, based on nominations from owners, employees or members of the public.
Any business located in our local government area which has fewer than 200 employees and is independently owned is eligible for nomination which are open now and close in five weeks, that's on Friday July 22.
This year we have two new award categories: Online Business - including blogs, email and social networking sites, recognising the strong growth in the digital economy here in Sydney; and the ANZ Fast Starter Award, which recognises fast-growing businesses with an annual turnover of more than $5 million.
The awards also recognise good social and community results through the Environmental Business Award and the Lord Mayor's Sustainability Award presented by Energy Australia.
As always, we have some terrific sponsors who support these awards and today I offer them our very grateful thanks, and they are:
- ANZ, our Principal Sponsor for the fourth year
- Our Major Sponsors for the third year, Energy Australia and Defence Reserves Support
- Our Sponsors for the third year, Hayes Knight Accountancy and TAFE NSW Sydney Institute
- We welcome a new sponsor, My Net Fone, the Sydney-based internet telephone provider. My Net Fone was a Sydney Business Award winner in 2009 and a finalist in two other years, and it's great to see one of our winners going from strength to strength
- I thank also our Media Partner, Central Magazine and
- Our Government Partner, the NSW Department of Industry and Investment
Last year we had well over 1100 business nominated and more than 70,000 votes cast and I hope we can surpass those figures this year.
So please get voting and we'll look forward to seeing you at the Gala Awards Dinner in September.