BUSINESSES from across Ararat Rural City will have the chance to be recognised under a re-branded awards scheme.
Ararat Rural City Council, in partnership with the Ararat Regional Business Association, will hold the inaugural East Grampians Business Awards to recognise those business which bring economic activity and growth to the region.
The award replaces the now-defunct Grampians Pyrenees Awards which go back to 1999 and encompassed the shires of Ararat, Northern Grampians and Pyrenees.
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Instead, the East Grampians Business Awards will focus on local businesses.
Council chief executive Tim Harrison said there were five award categories: agribusiness, retail, professional services, tourism and hospitality, and innovation and technology.
"They aim to recognise achievement and excellence, and applications are open to all businesses within the municipality, whether small or large, rural or CBD-based," he said.
The council will work with the Ararat Regional Business Association to encourage entries, and Association vice-president Josh Bywater said the awards will recognise local contributions.
"A lot of businesses around town support local groups and sporting clubs," he said. "It's just one of those things to pat them on the back and say it's not going unnoticed."
Mr Bywater said the awards will also strengthen the sector through improved networking opportunities.
"It's a good opportunity to get these businesses talking to each other, which is always going to develop businesses and their relationships with other businesses in the area," he said.
"We've been talking very strongly about that in discussions; networking is going to be a huge part of what we're assisting with. It's very important in this community and I think that businesses could talk to each other a bit more - it's always going to be beneficial."
Dr Harrison said the awards would be judged by an independent panel which would visit entrants' businesses to gain a better understanding of their processes and operations.
The award would then be presented to winners at a special gala dinner function on December 5 at the Ararat Town Hall.
Applications close on October 11.
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