Congratulations to the winners of this year's City of Sydney Business Awards. The hard work and dedication that goes into creating a successful small business is immense.
Our Business Awards celebrate excellence in our small to medium business sector, which contributes more than $40 million to our economy every year and employs thousands of people.
I strongly reject the mischievous misinformation that was peddled at the recent Council elections that the City doesn't support business.
Our city businesses are very important to us and her at the City we have worked to develop strong, positive relationships with many businesses and business organisations. They have made clear that they appreciate and support the work we are doing.
That is why we actively contribute to the growth of our business, hospitality and retail sectors with a wide range of programs and support including seminars, forums and workshops to help business owners keep pace with changes to technology, save on operating costs and improve their environmental sustainability.
We offer grants to kick-start fledgling businesses, low cost accommodation to support creative start-ups and sponsorship for major festivals and events that attract people to our city and generate contracts for suppliers and services - many of them smaller to medium businesses.
As well, we work with businesses to streamline our processes to make it easier to do business in the city.
These programs are a high priority - and we are committed to stimulating and energising our city economy.
Our work is also making an impact by encouraging new businesses to our city. Nearly half of all nominees in this year's Business Awards have been in operation for less than three years.
This year's awards were our biggest yet. A record 830 businesses were nominated and more than 60,000 people voted across the 22 categories.
We saw a dramatic increase in nominations for online businesses - up by 40 per cent - and for information and communication technology businesses - up by an extraordinary 90 per cent.
I am also particularly pleased that 32 of the finalist businesses have entered the Sustainable Business Award, an increase of 30 per cent from last year.
To further reinforce our support the City - for the first time - added our own cash prizes to the already impressive prize pool for the Small Business of the Year and our overall Business of the Year.
The highest achievement awards went to:
Business of the Year - Climate Friendly
Small Business of the Year - Glebe Medical Centre
ANZ Super Regional Award - Climate Friendly
EnergyAustralia Sustainability Award - MARTIN
Hayes Knight Entrepreneurs Award - Real Learning
Category winners were:
Information & Communication Technology - Quinticon Pty Ltd
Marketing & Communications - QuantumLinx Pty Ltd
Professional, Business & Financial Services - MARTIN
Accommodation - Cambridge Hotel Sydney
Cafes (casual dining) - cafe DOV
Pubs, Hotels, Nightclubs & Venues - Martin Place Bar
Restaurants - Mizuya Japanese Restaurant and Karaoke
Small Bars - Pocket Group
Takeaway Food & Catering Services - WOWCOW
Tourism - Spencer Travel
Food & Beverage Retail - Republica Coffee
Household & General Retail - TopBuy.com.au
Retail Beauty - Kevin Mckenzie Hair London
Retail Fashion - Deseo Bridal & Evening Shoes
Specialty Retail - David Jones Electricians
Bicycle Business - Bikewise
Community & Social Services - The Factory Community Centre
Cultural & Creative Services - The Distillery
Education & Training - Real Learning
Environmental Business - Climate Friendly
Healthcare & Fitness - Glebe Medical Centre
Online Business - Appliances Online
I'd like to thank the independent judging panel for their time and expertise, the producers of the Business Awards, the Events Agency, and our sponsors ANZ, Google Apps for Business, Energy Australia, Hayes Knight Accountancy, TAFE NSW Sydney Institute, Quick Clips and Central Magazine.