Skip to main content

Bass Coast Business Awards Finalists

Business Innovation Award

Hair by Sarah Azzato

Hair by Sarah Azzato puts sustainability and community first in her business. She has scaled her hairdressing business by creating a line of affordable, Australian made, vegan and cruelty free hair products. She sells these online and across 5 retail stores including IGA. She also invests in emerging hairdressers by taking on apprentices.

The National Vietnam Veterans Museum

The National Vietnam Veterans Museum is Australia’s only museum dedicated to exploring the legacy of the Vietnam War and its veterans. The team innovate in many differing aspects of their business. This includes embracing sustainable thinking, engaging with their volunteers during COVID-19 lockdowns and creating unique experiences like the Sound and Light Show.

The Invy Baker

The Invy Baker is a microbakery based in Inverloch specialising in naturally leavened sourdough and authentic Swedish buns. He designs his product with local businesses in mind. He collaborates with local chefs to offer a loaf that fits their menu in both size and flavour. Adding to his innovative mindset, he has increased his Instagram following using sourdough making videos to more than 60 thousand bread lovers.

Employment, Diversity and Inclusion Award

Sunscape Solar

Sunscape Solar are family owned and operated and have installed more than 2000 solar panels since they opened in 2008. They pride themselves on creating a supportive, growth-oriented and happy workplace. They invest in employing local staff for their team. They focus on long term education for staff. This includes offering apprenticeships, work experience, A-Grade electrical qualifications and helping their staff find the right fit for their career.

Wonthaggi Allied Health Centre

In 12-short months Wonthaggi Allied Health Centre grew from a team of two to 20. The team align on the goal of providing excellent services to the disability community of Bass Coast Area. They invest in their staff to gain new skills and continue to develop in their chosen field. They welcome people of all ages, abilities, race and cultures into the clinic, whether that be as a staff member or client and they are NDIS verified.

Wonthaggi Workmen’s Club and MJ McMahon Motel

Wonthaggi Workmen’s Club and MJ McMahon Motel has suites for travellers with accessibility needs. They offer disability discos, free bingo days and wheelchairs for loan. They provide transport and accommodation for young people wanting to study in partnership with Yes Youth Hub Project. They support seniors to return to the workforce and recruit long-term unemployed individuals. They offer flexible work shifts, promote and encourage staff into more senior positions and work to the needs of their team.

Environment and Sustainability Award

Bass Strait Direct

Bass Strait Direct buy and sell Australian seafood. They supply to local restaurants, fish and chip shops and local independent supermarkets and maintain strong community relationships with their customers. They have reduced essential water usage with new infrastructure and recently switched to 100% recyclable packaging. They also encourage customers to reduce waste by supplying their own containers. They have invested in a self-supporting biological marine saltwater tank that can hold up to 300 live crayfish to sell direct to local consumers rather than exporting overseas as they did in the past.

French Island Cottage

Sustainability and care for the environment is key to French Island Cottage's business model. They use renewable sources for water and energy, collect rainwater and have a solar and battery system for electricity. They modified their appliances to improve their energy and water efficiency. Their French Island 5000 indigenous trees project aims to revegetate their land and capture carbon. They are both protecting the environment and inspiring their visitors to get involved.

Harman Wines

Harman Wines tweaked their business plan and model when COVID lockdowns began in 2020 and have grown from strength to strength during the past 18 months. This included extending outdoor dining as the main dining option, timed dining sessions and shifting their key target market to the local community. They were able to keep their entire staff and provide job security where possible with full and parttime positions. They have shown flexibility, resilience and leadership.

Wildlife Coast Cruises

Wildlife Coast Cruises share their knowledge of local wildlife, habitat and history on their tours. They also incorporate environmental take-home messages for visitors. They contribute to the citizen science project, Two Bays Project in collaboration with Dolphin Research Institute, DELWP and Deakin University. They also focus on sustainability by procuring local and environmental suppliers for their souvenirs, snacks and beverages.

Leadership Award

Bass Strait Direct

Bass Strait Direct buy and sell Australian seafood. They supply to local restaurants, fish and chip shops and local independent supermarkets and maintain strong community relationships with their customers. They have reduced essential water usage with new infrastructure and recently switched to 100% recyclable packaging. They also encourage customers to reduce waste by supplying their own containers. They have invested in a self-supporting biological marine saltwater tank that can hold up to 300 live crayfish to sell direct to local consumers rather than exporting overseas as they did in the past.

Harman Wines

Harman Wines tweaked their business plan and model when COVID lockdowns began in 2020 and have grown from strength to strength during the past 18 months. This included extending outdoor dining as the main dining option, timed dining sessions and shifting their key target market to the local community. They were able to keep their entire staff and provide job security where possible with full and parttime positions. They have shown flexibility, resilience and leadership.

The Cape Kitchen

The Cape Kitchen reviewed their service model and made small alterations during the last two years to diversify and innovate. They increased their COVID restricted capacities by 60% by changing the way they used their existing wrap around deck and creating a new product called pop-up picnics which included adding locally designed, custom built pods for dining on the lawn. They utilised staff technical skills to create a new website and encouraged online sales during lockdowns to ensure some cashflow while closed. Owners Jodie and Mark are committed to developing young leaders in the food tourism industry. Jodie acts as a mentor for the Ken Hore Tourism Leadership Program and they encourage their staff to explore and develop their strengths within their roles.

Marketing and Communications Award

Harman Wines

Harman Wines tweaked their business plan and model when COVID lockdowns began in 2020 and have grown from strength to strength during the past 18 months. This included extending outdoor dining as the main dining option, timed dining sessions and shifting their key target market to the local community. They were able to keep their entire staff and provide job security where possible with full and parttime positions. They have shown flexibility, resilience and leadership.

Phillip Island Helicopters

Phillip Island Helicopters believe business collaboration encouraging visitors to stay and play longer. They create collaborative packages across the region to reach new audiences. They also ensure they can communicate with all visitors by having safety briefing cards in three languages as many visitors are not English speaking. With Chinese visitors being one of their key markets, they utilise Chinese-based social media platforms WeChat and Weibo as well as Facebook and Instagram. They enhance their street frontage for walk in visitors with their attractive signage and colourful flags.

The Invy Baker

The Invy Baker is a microbakery based in Inverloch specialising in naturally leavened sourdough and authentic Swedish buns. He designs his product with local businesses in mind. He collaborates with local chefs to offer a loaf that fits their menu in both size and flavour. Adding to his innovative mindset, he has increased his Instagram following using sourdough making videos to more than 60 thousand bread lovers.

Resilience Award

Brinnie T Design

Brinnie T Design draws on her own experiences to bring inclusive design and design for diversity into her products. She opened her retail business immediately before the pandemic hit, leading to an immediate shift in business plan. Resilience was key for the survival of the business. Jo used this time upskill in inclusive design, online sales and business ownership with the Good Incubator Program and online webinars. Her interior design studio supports women in business, female designers, ethical production or community fair trade, Australian owned and made.

Harman Wines

Harman Wines tweaked their business plan and model when COVID lockdowns began in 2020 and have grown from strength to strength during the past 18 months. This included extending outdoor dining as the main dining option, timed dining sessions and shifting their key target market to the local community. They were able to keep their entire staff and provide job security where possible with full and parttime positions. They have shown flexibility, resilience and leadership.

The Cape Kitchen

The Cape Kitchen reviewed their service model and made small alterations during the last two years to diversify and innovate. They increased their COVID restricted capacities by 60% by changing the way they used their existing wrap around deck and creating a new product called pop-up picnics which included adding locally designed, custom built pods for dining on the lawn. They utilised staff technical skills to create a new website and encouraged online sales during lockdowns to ensure some cashflow while closed.