YOU could take it as one big schmoozefest of suits, canapes and bubbly, but that would ignore what is at the heart of Albury Wodonga’s Chamber Business Awards.
Former politician Lou Lieberman is chairman of the awards’ advisory committee.
In a function room on the top floor of the Albion Hotel last night, Mr Lieberman said owning a business could be a lonely slog.
“You tend to work long hours, have all the worries in the world. It’s a pretty lonely thing,” he said.
“(These awards), it’s to encourage people to show their contribution, it recognises them.”
Finalists were announced in categories such as “best large business”, “future business leader” and “contribution to the community”.
Bonegilla’s Jenny McIntosh was a finalist for “best new business” for Free Rein Equestrian that she runs with Brenda Clissold and their husbands Barry McIntosh and Allan Clissold.
She said it was a surprise after her sister nominated the business that had sold equestrian supplies online for the past 2½ years.
“I didn’t expect it. It was a very big shock. It goes to show that we’re valued,” Ms McIntosh said.
She said the nomination had prompted them to buy a retail store, which was yet to be finalised.
Albury mayor Alice Glachan told more than 100 people last night that their presence meant positives for the Border.
“We have suffered so much less than other regional cities and towns. We as a community need to celebrate,” she said.
She said the roll-out of the national broadband network and with Albury and Wodonga councils in the midst of forming its digital economy strategy, Border businesses would be at the forefront.
Winners will be announced on October 11.