By Raquel Mustillo
FOR almost a decade, the Millicent Business Community Association has celebrated businesses and individuals for their achievements and leadership as part of the Outstanding Business Awards.
The Millicent Civic and Arts Centre is expected to be filled to capacity on August 21 for the gala event to recognise excellence in the hospitality, construction, service, retail and agriculture sectors, with previous years attracting 180 nominations across the seven categories.
Since its inception in 2010, the event has developed from humble beginnings to one of the most popular nights on Millicent’s social calendar, often selling out due to high demand.
Former Millicent Business Community Association chair Marg Chapple said the inaugural award ceremony was held during the association’s annual general meeting at The Diplomat Hotel – now Sandpipers @ Millicent.
“It was held during the day and there were a lot of people there, mostly from member businesses and nominees,” she said.
“The next year we had a cocktail party at The Diplomat and around 70 people came to that, but the amount of nominations we would get is nothing like we get now.
“We had a couple at The Somerset and then Mike Reilly who was chair at the time had a vision of making the awards bigger and better.”
Ms Chapple said preparations were well advanced when Mr Reilly resigned from the role, prompting Ms Chapple to take the role as chair and continue the event planning.
“I inherited the idea of going to the Civic and Arts and that was huge, because if we only had 70 people come like they did in previous years when we had a capacity of 300 at the centre, it would be disappointing,” she said.
“The first thing we had to do is make sure we had a good band and we chose Juicy X because they had such a good reputation and we knew people would come.
“We were worried about getting 100 people there, but there were so many nominations and it was such a popular event that some of the nominees couldn’t get tickets.”
Ms Chapple said the prestigious employee of the year category attracted more than 40 nominees in the past, with winners coming from a variety of sectors.
“The awards came about because the committee decided they wanted to acknowledge business owners and employees in the region and also showcase some of the great things that people are doing,” she said.
“It’s also a chance for association members who are involved in the food industry to showcase what they are able to do because they provide supper each year.
Nominations for this year’s Outstanding Business Awards have closed and are expected to be announced next week.
Millicent Business Community Association chair Lee Morgan said more than 100 hard copy nominations have been received, with electronic nominations yet to be counted.
“The hospitality and accommodation category was well fought and there’s also a great deal of support for employee of the year,” he said.
“Judging will start next week and the winners will be announced at the award ceremony, and ticket information will be released soon.”