The decision to go ahead with the Business Excellence Awards this year was a leap of faith, believing that the Toowoomba business community would endure and that we would want an opportunity to celebrate together.  2020 has been a year where we have had to support each other and seeing all the businesses that are here – not just the finalists, but also all the sponsors, and all those who are out in support of their friends – is absolutely awesome.

2020 has been a year like no other.  In the business world, we’ve always held the mantra of hard work, motivation, and the right idea being the recipe for success.  But this was turned upside down this year, and we were confronted with a situation in which just hard work was not going to be enough to get us through. And it’s no longer been just motivation, because we could have all the motivation in the world and willingness to work hard, but that had little impact on what was going on outside of our control.

So what did businesses need to survive this year? What did they need to be able to put up their hand to say, we are still here, and we are excellent?

It was pure grit, determination and resilience. And we have seen so many businesses in the Toowoomba community have that in spades. And for that I think each and everyone one of you should be celebrated.

And then there were many who took that to the next level again. They not only showed resilience in keeping their own business alive, but also gave generously and selflessly to those around them. We saw businesses offer free support and advice. We saw them get serious about a buy local campaign where previously it may have only been an economical decision. We saw businesses who could afford it, doing what they could to support the industries who we doing it tough by the little things like ordering lunches for their team, and supporting restaurant back doors at dinner time.  And we heard of b2b companies ringing every single client just to check they were OK and ask what they could do to help.

In the middle of all the uncertainty and the fear it was just so powerful to hear these stories. If we, as a close-knit business community don’t support each other, who else is there?

As long-time members of the Toowoomba community, it gave us an overwhelming sense of pride and deep gratitude for being part of this.

It has been this genuine connectivity that inspired us.  It was the people behind the business names who made the difference during the tough times.

And above all else, Focus HR has always been about people – in fact, our 10 year moon-shot goal is to have a positive impact on the working lives of 100,000 people by the year 2030.  We are well on our way to this, having worked with over 300 businesses who employ nearly 20,000 people combined.  We feel strongly that when we can have a positive impact in a business whether through great people practices, developing leaders or implementing strategy, the positive mark we leave on the lives of all those involved is the why to doing what we do.

The 2020 Focus HR Business Excellence Award’s recognise businesses that have demonstrated both resilience and excellence.  This is what small business in Toowoomba is built on; this is what has seen local businesses stand strong through 2020; and this is what we stand for in our own business.

And that’s why, even though we are only a small business ourselves, we were proud to take up the Business Excellence Awards banner.

We congratulate everyone who was nominated, who applied and who became finalists in this year’s awards. And we congratulate the winning businesses!

Focus HR Business of the Year 2020 – Proterra Group

Future Leader – Lauren Janson-Roberts

2020 Hall of Fame – Tilly’s Crawler Parts

Best Regional Business – NRG Services  

Gerry Doumany Export Award - Mort & Co  

People’s Choice – Hogans Family Jewellers  

Future Star – Hamish Brown of Hammy’s Cupcakes  

Tourism – Rosalie House Cellar Door  

Hospitality – Rosalie House Cellar Door  

Industry – Proterra Group   

Professional Services – Akadia Trading  

Retail – Westridge Fruit & Vegetables  

Community and NFP – Protea Place  

Innovations & Technology – Pro-Test Well Services  

Health & Wellbeing – Radiance Dance Academy   

Employer of Choice – Power Tynan