THE FACES behind Lismore's best businesses will get some well-deserved acclaim tonight at the Crowe Horwath Business Excellence Awards.
The annual event celebrates both innovation and resilience in the diverse Lismore business community.
Lismore Chamber of Commerce executive officer Elise Taylor said the lead-up to this year's event had been a huge success, with 243 entries across the 12 award categories and 470 votes in the People's Choice Award.
For the first time, the event asked shoppers this year to nominate their favourite business in the Best Customer Service category, which was previously self-nominated.
Ms Taylor said it gave smaller family-owned businesses with loyal customers a chance to win, even if they didn't have a major profile.
"If someone has had a fantastic experience with them and wants to share it with the rest of the community, it gives the award more meaning," Ms Taylor said.
Ten new businesses entered the Best New Business of the Year category, many of them home-based in industries such as IT and creative.
"There's definitely an increase in new businesses which are home-based compared to previous years," Ms Taylor said.
"When you're home-based it's really important to reach out and join a community."