Make this your year to shine

Sketch and Etch won the Retail Business Award in 2019. (Photo supplied)

Esther Lauaki

The “best in the biz” will have a chance to shine at the upcoming Geelong Business Excellence Awards.

For 35 years, the awards have been designed to recognise and celebrate clever, creative and thriving businesses.

Entries are open now and close on July 24.

Last year’s Retail Business Award winner, Ash Bent of Grovedale’s Sketch and Etch, said the award helped boost morale among the team at the custom design signage business.

“The main impact that we’ve seen has been on the team,” Ash says. “I’m not alone in this, the award was a representation of the team and the acknowledgement of their hard work.”

He says 2020 has seen the business “flipped on its head”.

“We work with a lot of businesses in the wedding and event space and all of those have been heavily affected by the global pandemic,” Ash says.

“We’ve been able to focus on our community at this time and come up with ways that we can support them.

“We put a call out on social media to those who have had to postpone their weddings and the team came up with the idea to design and write up cards to let them know that we’re thinking of them.”

Sketch and Etch began as Ash and business partner Tash Craven just five years ago but now employs 16.

Ash says the business will apply again for this year’s Retail Award and take a shot at the coveted Business of the Year Award.

“Going through the process is the main reason for applying for us,” he says.

“It gives us a bird’s eye view of our business and a look at what the business has achieved in the last 12 months. It also helps us to find where there might be a gap and what we can do to improve. It’s so important in business, especially with what we’re going through now, to evaluate where we need to step out and think ahead to where you want to be in the next six to 12 months.”

Geelong Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ben Flynn says more than 70 businesses enter the awards each year.

“The Geelong Chamber of Commerce is committed to ensure the Geelong Business Excellence Awards continue to innovate and develop to provide an exceptional experience for all involved,” Ben says. “I encourage all to ‘make this your year’ and be part of this exciting awards program to celebrate Geelong’s clever and creative businesses and business leaders.”

He says the success of the awards would not be possible without the support and commitment of major sponsors LBW Business + Wealth Advisors and Deakin University, as well as category sponsors and award partners.

Entries close July 24 at 4pm. For more information visit

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