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Big-hearted businesses win big at local awards

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An Indigenous-owned and run furniture business and a Newtown charity that helps deaf children learn to speak are among the big winners at the 2018 Sydney City Business Awards.

Winya Indigenous Furniture was crowned Business of the Year at last night's gala event at Sydney Town Hall, also taking out top honours for Excellence in Small Business and Excellence in Sustainability.

The Shepherd Centre took home awards for Excellence in Business and Outstanding Business Leader.

The annual awards recognise and celebrate businesses across the Sydney local government area, with the winners going on to compete in the NSW awards in November.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City was proud to support local businesses and provide opportunities to promote their excellence.

"These awards celebrate our local businesses' outstanding achievements, including a new category introduced this year to recognise workplace inclusion," the Lord Mayor said.

"I was honoured to present the Excellence in Small Business Award to Winya Indigenous Furniture. It is particularly wonderful to see these awards recognise a thriving and sustainable local business working with a national panel of Indigenous artists."

"I was also proud to see The Shepherd Centre recognised for their important work, assisting more than 2500 children born deaf or hearing impaired since opening in 1970.

"We've supported this prestigious program since 2004 and run many workshops throughout the year to help our local businesses grow here in Sydney and overseas. I wish all the winners the best of luck at the state awards in November."

Sydney City Region business of the year.

Winya Indigenous Furniture is a profit-for-purpose business that manufactures and supplies office furniture to clients across the government, education, healthcare, defence and corporate sectors. The company also supplies bespoke furniture featuring Indigenous art.

The George Street-based business supports Indigenous employment growth through trainee programs and partnerships with Indigenous artists across Australia.

Director Greg Welsh said the award wins were a great boost for the business and for staff.

"This is fantastic recognition for our business that will have a truly positive impact on our company," Mr Welsh said.

"These awards really are the best way to get in front of customers who care about businesses who are doing things well.

"It's also an important accolade for our staff and makes all the hard work seem worthwhile. It lets us know that we really are doing something special."

The Shepherd Centre runs an early intervention program to teach children born deaf or hearing impaired how to develop spoken language.

The centre is recognised as a world leader in the field of early intervention, and has assisted more than 2,500 children who are deaf or hearing impaired since opening in 1970.

The charity is a former business award winner and CEO Dr Jim Hungerford said the award wins are "extremely valuable".

"The contacts we have made thanks to this event have been incredibly helpful. We've linked to other organisations interested in working with us, it's raised our profile and also had a positive effect on fund raising," Dr Hungerford said.

"Being named employer of choice in the past has been great for staff recruitment and continues to help us attract high calibre employees keen to work with an organisation that's not only doing good in the community but is recognised as a great place to work."

Winners of the 2018 Sydney City Region Business Awards

  • Excellence in Business - The Shepherd Centre
  • Excellence in Export - Hivery
  • Excellence in Innovation - MadeComfy
  • Excellence in Small Business - Winya Indigenous Furniture
  • Excellence in Social Enterprise - Beehive Industries Cooperative
  • Excellence in Sustainability - Winya Indigenous Furniture
  • Excellence in Workplace Inclusion - Winya Indigenous Furniture
  • Outstanding Business Leader - Jim Hungerford from The Shepard Centre
  • Outstanding Young Employee - Matthew Woods from Meriton Suites
  • Outstanding Young Entrepreneur - Nicole Shelley from Pepper IT
  • Start Up Superstar - Mayday Recruitment
  • Business of the Year - Winya Indigenous Furniture

For media inquiries or images, contact Senior Media Advisor Belinda Wallis.
Phone 0467 810 160 or email bwallis@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Anusha Muller.
Phone 0408 494 545 or email amuller@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

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