Revealed: the best Northern Rivers businesses
STALWARTS of the Northern Rivers business community, Brookfarm, have taken the top honour at the 2017 Northern Rivers Business Awards.
The family-run macadamia products company was awarded Regional Business of the Year at Saturday night's sold out gala dinner at Elements of Byron.
The win topped off a great night for Brookfarm, with the business also taking out the awards for Excellence in Business, Excellence in Export, and Start Up Superstar for the Brook family's newest venture, Cape Byron Distillery - makers of Brookie's Gin.
Brookfarm, which began in 2000 and has grown to employ 70 people and export its products all over the world, was recognised for its contribution to creating job opportunities in rural and regional Australia and for helping the local community.
"What we love to do is to make things," said co-founder Pam Brook.
"We manufacture - and that's such an important thing for Australia and for this region.
"We manufacture from things that are grown by agriculture in this region.
"For us, it's so important that we connect agriculture, real food and make regional jobs, and make a difference to our community and environment.
"That's what we're about and we live that every day."
Other winners on the night included Ballina-based suspended wood fire manufacturers, Aurora, who won the Excellence in Small Business Award; Johnson Hunter from The Farm Byron Bay, who was named Young Business Executive; and Jeremy Holmes from Elements of Byron who took out the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Excellence in Innovation went to the Flow Hive honey harvesting system inventors Bee Inventive, Business Leader award went to Karen Justice of independent pet retailing group, Just For Pets; while Excellence in Social Enterprise went to Yaru Water
The Murwillumbah and Lismore Chambers of Commerce were also recognised at the awards for their innovation and leadership in the aftermath and recovery from the March floods.
Northern Rivers Business Awards Winners:
Excellence in Small Business: Aurora Suspended Fires, Ballina
Excellence in Business: Brookfarm, Bangalow
Young Business Executive: Johnson Hunter, The Farm Byron Bay
Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Jeremy Holmes, Elements of Byron
Business Leader: Karen Justice, Just for Pets, Byron Bay
Excellence in Social Enterprise: Yaru Water
Start Up Superstar: Cape Byron Distillery
Excellence in Innovation: Bee Inventive Pty Ltd (Flow Hive)
Excellence in Sustainability: SAE Group, Tweed Heads
Employer of Choice: SAE Group, Tweed Heads
Excellence in Export: Brookfarm
Local Chamber of Commerce: Murwillumbah Chamber of Commerce
Regional Business of the Year: Brookfarm
Visitor Experience: Yamba Bowlo Sports and Leisure
Retail: SPAR, Maclean
Professional Service: Southern Cross Credit Union, Murwillumbah
Personal Service: Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic
Trade and Manufacturing: Active Pest Management, Ballina
Aged Care and Wellbeing: Varela and Swift Pharmacy, Murwillumbah