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OCTOBER 18 | 2012

SPECIAL EDITION

Frankston and Mornington Peninsula

Build Your Business in Frankston City A comprehensive business support package… Build Your Brand – innovative marketing solutions Build Your Knowledge – mentoring and workshops Build Your Staff – free recruitment and staff building tools Build Your Networks – access to local networks Exclusively available to new and existing businesses located in Frankston City

www.BuildYourBusiness.net.au Email: business@frankston.vic.gov.au or Phone Frankston City Council 1300 322 322 Search Build Your Business – Frankston City to stay in the loop

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The feel-good success stories he Weekly loves home-grown success stories, and there’s plenty to be found in the 2012 Frankston and Mornington Peninsula Excellence in Business Awards. More than 60 high-quality applications were whittled down by a panel of judges into nine finalists and one overall winner. Judge David Gregory told the Weekly he was impressed by the variety, innovation and creativity of all the contenders. Mr Gregory, who has evaluated countless companies in his role as chief executive of the Small Business Mentoring Service, said judges were looking for passion, innovation and a focus on working with the community. Equipment Safety Systems was named overall winner ‘‘for their innovation and bringing something new to the area as well as going out to a world market place’’, he said. ‘‘Their safety measure could become a compulsory component for the industry. ‘‘It’s a wonderful thing to save lives that has been invented here and taken to the world.’’ All finalists, however, brought something unique to the awards, whether it was Polperro Dolphin Swim’s unwavering commitment to protecting the bay — and its playful bottlenose inhabitants — or Hello Blossoms’ determination to create floral magic for brides on their special day. PACE Health Management is passionate about empowering people to take control of their own health

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OVER: Overall winner: The Equipment Safety Systems team. Picture: Gary Sissons

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AND THE WINNER IS . . . INDUSTRY Health and wellbeing: PACE Health Management Hospitality: Stillwater at Crittenden Retail: Eden Gardens and Garden Centres Service: Express Virtual Meetings Manufacturing: Equipment Safety Systems Pty Ltd Tourism: The Enchanted Maze Garden SPECIALISED Young entrepreneur: Hello Blossoms Community partnership: Frankston Mornington Peninsula Local Learning and Employment Network Environmental sustainability: Polperro Dolphin Swims OVERALL WINNER: Equipment Safety Systems Pty Ltd

Dolphins on the doorstep: Bottlenose dolphins snapped in Port Phillip Bay by Troy Muir of Polperro Dolphin Swims, one of the diverse winners of the 2012 Excellence in Business Awards. while Frankston Mornington Peninsula Local Learning and Employment Network empowers young people through training and education. Express Virtual Meetings makes

meetings a breeze through technology while Eden Gardens and Garden Centre is active in the community it supplies with gorgeous plants and homewares.

Stillwater at Crittenden is determined to showcase the best in food and wine and The Enchanted Maze and Garden continues to find new ways to delight youngsters — and the

young at heart. Our congratulations to all the finalists for being leaders in their fields and inspirations for Frankston and peninsula firms. — Sandra Bull Editor, Frankston Weekly, Peninsula Weekly, Western Port Weekly

CONGRATULATIONS to all nominees and winners of the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula Excellence in Business Awards 2012 G5425672AA-dp8Oct©FCNVIC

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Keeping up the pace BY SANDRA BULL nlike many businesses, PACE Health Management couldn’t be happier if its clients don’t keep returning. “Our primary goal is education towards the outcome of self-management,” director and co-owner Ryan Poole said. This year’s winner in the health and well-being category, PACE specialises in clinical exercise physiology and workplace wellness programs and services. PACE began in 1998 when Mr Poole, newly graduated with a university degree related to human movement and a keen interest in health and fitness, saw an opportunity to fill a niche in the quality personal training market. PACE has evolved into an exercise physiology practice, staffed by university qualified allied health professionals who specialise in delivering safe and effective clinical exercise, lifestyle and behaviour modification programs for the prevention, management and treatment of a range of chronic diseases and injuries and for general conditioning. The company has a head office in Frankston South and seven other clinics in locations including Mornington, Langwarrin and Rosebud. “We go to workplaces, schools and RSLs and retirement villages. Our services are for the young, old and everyone in between,’’ Mr Poole said. He said those with chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular and respiratory conditions could reap tremendous benefits by seeking advice from an exercise physiology practice. The diabetes program, for example, covers nutrition, exercise and lifestyle choice — all factors where improvements can boost a client’s strength and reduce reliance on medication. While clients are welcome to return for

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Services for all: Practice manager Catie Orth with Ryan Poole. continuing classes or treatment, the PACE philosophy is all about giving them the tools to take control of managing their condition. “Just by helping to improve people’s awareness and education with a strong focus on selfmanagement, you’re essentially educating people to look after themselves,” Mr Poole said. “It’s about making them more empowered by having the tools necessary to look after themselves.”

thepeninsulaonthebay We are excited to announce the opening of the FIRST SERVICED OFFICES IN THE MORNINGTON PENINSULA AREA

Proud sponsors of the Frankston & Mornington Peninsula Excellence in Business Awards 2012 G5425741AA-dp8Oct

Health and Wellbeing Award Presented by Asian Pacific Serviced Offices THE FINALISTS PACE Health Management Peninsula Hot Springs

State of the art fully furnished offices ideal for 1-12 people. Impressive complex with restaurants, gymnasium & hotel accommodation. No start-up costs & flexible lease terms.

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Picture: Gary Sissons

The Sports Injury Clinic THE WINNER PACE Health Management

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From cafe to a luxury offering BY MELISSA WALSH hen Zac and Jacqui Poulier took over what was known as Critter’s Cafe eight years ago, it was a small business. The dynamic duo transformed it into Stillwater at Crittenden, a multi-award winning Dromana venue which has now won the hospitality category of the Excellence in Business Awards for two consecutive years. Stillwater at Crittenden is a modern vineyard restaurant, specialising in relaxed fine dining, weddings and special events, local produce and featuring four-star AAA tourism-rated luxury lakeside villas. ‘‘Both Jacqui and myself have a hospitality background, having cooked and served all around the world, although we are originally from the peninsula,’’ Mr Poulier said. ‘‘We have made lots of improvements over the years, setting out to rebrand the business and create what is now known as Stillwater at Crittenden. Since we began it has gone from strength to strength and is now one of the best winery restaurants on the peninsula. We cater for a lot of weddings and special occasions, as well as having the winery restaurant. ‘‘We use as much free range organic produce as we can and our menu is very seasonal, taking advantage of what’s around the peninsula at the time. It is value for money, honest cooking with influences of Italian and French cuisine. And of course, it is food that goes with wine.’’ The restaurant at Stillwater was recently refurbished, with the result a modern, chic and relaxed fine dining experience. ‘‘After six years of operating, we recognised

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that in order to remain relevant and continue to be competitive in an ever-changing environment, we needed to reinvent the look of the restaurant and move with the times,’’ Mr Poulier said. ‘‘The new look has brought a lot of fresh business to Stillwater, with new customers as well as our old loyal clientele. We not only changed the interior decoration but improved disabled access and added a baby change room.’’ Stillwater is also popular with brides, as its wedding package include ceremonies by the lake and vines, award-winning food and on-site luxury accommodation. ‘‘We are a little escape away from everywhere else but very close to Mornington, just off the freeway,’’ Mr Poulier said.

Hospitality Award Presented by ALH Group Pty Ltd THE FINALISTS The Pizzeria on Norman Onde Fine Food Cafe Stillwater at Crittenden THE WINNER Stillwater at Crittenden

Still waters run deep: Zac Poulier enjoys a glass of wine from his highly successful Stillwater at Crittenden venue. Picture: Daryl Gordon

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EXCELLENCEINBUSINESSAWARDS2012 Retail Award Presented by Greater Frankston Business Chamber THE FINALISTS Hello Blossoms Miss Velvet Eden Gardens and Garden Centres THE WINNER Eden Gardens and Garden Centres

Garden gurus: The team at Eden Gardens and Garden Centres enjoys enriching people’s lives with plants. Picture: Daryl Gordon

New vision for an old icon BY MELISSA WALSH nyone familiar with Mt Eliza will know of the beautiful limestone building on Nepean Highway, formerly Lintons Garden and Home, which four years ago was acquired by Eden Gardens and Garden Centres. Owners Simon and Anna Ainsworth have brought their unique philosophy to the iconic centre, breathing a new energy and approach to the lifestyle element of gardening, community, education, social events and activities for

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children to the store. Eden Gardens has two other stores, in Sydney and Queensland, with 4500 members on its data base. The Mt Eliza garden centre is in its final stages of renovations, which are due to be completed this month. Manager and lifestyle buyer Lindy Wong said Eden was all about retail, community and education. ‘‘I was originally with Lintons for 14 years and continued on here where the philosophy is enriching people’s lives with plants. Everything

we do is touched by that, and it is more about having our customers as life-long members,’’ she said. ‘‘We provide the total experience, where you can come along and have an education class, have a coffee and enjoy the facilities we have here. We have a children’s playground, community area, an education building with gardening classes, children’s workshops and demonstrations.’’ Eden Gardens is a staunch supporter of the Cancer Council and holds daffodil and pink

ribbon fund-raisers. ‘‘We also support White Lion which is an institution that helps young people who have been in challenging situations. We mentor them here for a few months, and it helps to reconnect kids with the community,’’ Ms Wong said. All staff members have the opportunity to work in the community and take classes. ‘‘We have gone through a lot of changes but it’s been a great challenge. Owners Simon and Anna are both extremely active in the business, with a great vision and very inspiring,’’ she said.

The Greater Frankston Business Chamber aim’s to support, enhance and represent the business community of the area through: • Promotion • Lead Generation • Lobbying government on important business issues • Networking Activities • Training, Information and Education • Collective Purchasing • Referral linkages/Networking/Relationship Building • Recognising Achievement • Being actively involved in relevant Community activities A diverse membership comprising businesses from industry, commerce, service, trade, retail, community service, not-for-profit and educational institutions we provide networking opportunities, business information, lobbying, training and advice. Our office is open 10am - 3.30pm, Monday to Thursday (or by appointment) LEVEL 1, 13 - 15 Thompson Street, FRANKSTON Ph/Fax: 9781 1422 www.frankstonchamber.com.au G5425764AA-dp8Oct

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Expressing the right balance BY MELISSA WALSH hen Simon Ross and his wife Robyn-Jane Ross decided they wanted a better worklife balance, Express Virtual Meetings was conceived. Their thriving business has now won the service category in the Excellence in Business Awards two years in a row. Since the innovative company opened about a decade ago, it has evolved into a business that uses communication technology to enable audio conferencing, web conferencing, and video conferencing. The core business operations occur in the Mt Eliza office, which houses 20 staff. Managers Kirsten Peters, Nicole Martin and Sharyn Welsh say while the business has expanded, the philosophy remains the same. ‘‘Born and raised in Mt Eliza, Simon started the business down here. Basically, that philosophy has continued even though the business has grown so much. We still maintain an excellent work-life balance and provide a forum where people can work from home to gain the same balance,’’ Ms Peters said. ‘‘Even now one of our other managers, Andrea Goding, is on extended leave travelling around Australia.’’ Express Virtual Meetings’ expertise in teleconferencing and web conferencing is called on by a variety of clients including life coaches, notfor-profit organisations, banks, finance and medical businesses, hospitals and mining and government sectors. ‘‘We have the same quality conferencing platform as our big telecommunications competitors, and have a 24- hour, seven-day-aweek helpline. Queries are answered directly by a live peninsula-based operator, unlike other teleconferencing companies that are becoming more automated and impersonal,’’ Ms Peters said.

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Express yourself: Express Virtual Meetings managers (from left) Kirsten Peters, Nicole Martin and Sharyn Welsh with their staff. ‘‘We now have more than 5000 active customers so Simon has brought a lot of professional business procedures into the company that are very advanced for a small business environment.’’ Express Virtual Meetings’ services are supported by an expert team of sales and conferencing consultants who help determine which solutions will work for each business and are available 24/7 to support, train and facilitate virtual meetings.

Picture: Daryl Gordon

Service Award Presented by Weber Business Accountants THE FINALISTS After-Care Australasia Pty Ltd Nepean Industry Edge Training Express Virtual Meetings

THE WINNER Express Virtual Meetings

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A safety first winner for the const BY MELISSA WALSH quipment Safety Systems Pty Ltd managing director Ted Parrott started his business in 1976 with the first electronics business in the Hartnett Drive precinct in Seaford. This was just the beginning of a lot of firsts for Mr Parrott, culminating with the release of the

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Gen3-LMS, a load management system designed for use with telescopic handlers. Another first for Mr Parrott and his Equipment Safety Systems team is being announced the overall winner in the 2012 Excellence in Business Awards and the winner of the manufacturing category. Equipment Safety Systems (EQSS), has been

working closely for several years with telehandler manufacturers to develop and supply load management systems. Now EQSS has developed what it claims to be the most advanced and user-friendly telescopic handler load management system available — the Gen3-LMS. With huge health and safety issues in the telehandler industry, the Gen3-LMS has been

Using the Gen3-LMS: Kieran Grogan feeling safer in the telehandler.

designed to improve operator safety. Mr Parrott describes the final release of the Gen3-LMS as the end of a long saga. ‘‘The whole technology with the Gen3-LMS is on the edge of what’s achievable in the construction industry. ‘‘Australia has the tightest rules and regulations for telehandlers, so we are the world leaders in telehandler management,’’ Mr Parrott said. The Gen3-LMS takes advantage of the most recent developments in embedded processing and display technology to provide the most advanced and intuitive system in the market place. ‘‘It is sunlight readable and you can view it from any angle,’’ Mr Parrott said. ‘‘Originally, we developed a system which was automatic tool recognition, and then we designed this new one which is Gen3-LMS and this is the best one yet, which contains two innovative features — a dynamic interactive rating chart and a stability triangle which enables the operator to remain within the stability limits set by the telehandler manufacturer.’’ Mr Parrott said Kieran Grogan and Andrew Donegan, both shareholders in EQSS, were instrumental in the development of the Gen3-LMS. ‘‘The nitty gritty guts of the system was developed by Kieran, who is the more field oriented person, and Andrew is the behind the scenes software expert.’’ Mr Parrott says the Gen3-LMS has already been very well received. ‘‘It has taken off and the market likes it. Regulators in the UK have already shown a level of interest. ‘‘Back in November last year a UK telehandler operator was killed when the telehandler tipped over sideways. If they had one of our units fitted, the guy would still be bothering his wife,’’ Mr Parrott said. The Gen3-LMS is designed for telehandlers used on construction sites, and also in farming.

St Kilda Football Club congratulates all award winners SAINTS.COM.AU G5425784AA-dp8Oct

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ruction industry

Success at last: Ted Parrott, Andrew Donegan, Ross Bowden and Kieran Grogan.

Manufacturing Award Presented by Department of Business and Innovation THE FINALISTS Five AM Life Pty Ltd Crib Point Engineering Equipment Safety Systems Pty Ltd THE WINNER Equipment Safety Systems Pty Ltd

Safety first: Ross Bowden, Andrew Donegan and Ted Parrott with Kieran Grogan in the cabin of the JCB model 541-70 telehandler. Pictures: Gary Sissons It displays a fully dynamic rating chart for the selected attachment. With the telehandler overlay, it allows the operator to quickly determine at a glance the current location within the boom’s range of movement and how much further the boom can be extended with the current load. Reading the rating chart also allows the operator to determine the boom range before the

lift is performed. The rating chart has an image of the telehandler, showing the current boom location within the chart, and the image changes to show the currently selected attachment and the position of the stabilisers. Advanced operator information includes rating chart display and dynamic stability triangle, automatic or manual tool selection with operator verification, machine reverse camera

and forward blind side camera as standard, wireless dogman (helmet), job site camera optional for remote load positioning, automatic fault detection and diagnostic screen, operator identification log-in as standard via identification card, and quick configuration for machine type and language. ‘‘This particular model was released in

November last year and has been accepted by three of the major manufactures — Haulotte, Manitou, and JCB,’’ Mr Parrott said. ‘‘It is already a requirement to have a load management system when operating with a freely suspended load. ‘‘We understand that the European Standards will eventually become as strict as the Australian Standard and this bodes well for our future.’’

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EXCELLENCEINBUSINESSAWARDS2012 Tourism Award Presented by Frankston Tourism Inc THE FINALISTS RACV Cape Schanck Resort The Enchanted Maze Garden Polperro Dolphin Swims THE WINNER The Enchanted Maze Garden

Not so secret garden: Michael Savage beside the Enchantasaurus. Picture: Daryl Gordon

Enchanted by top award again he Enchanted Maze Garden keeps growing — and so does the number of awards won by this popular Mornington Peninsula destination. Owners Michael and Sally Savage have now won the tourism category in the Excellence in Business Awards for the second consecutive year. Last year, they also took out the RACV Victorian Tourism Award for new tourism development. The Enchanted Maze Garden opened about 15

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years ago and has expanded to employ 72 staff. More than 90,000 visitors enjoy the scenic surroundings annually. Mr Savage is constantly planning new activities to keep visitors returning to the sprawling Arthurs Seat attraction — recent additions include tube slide rides, the first of their kind in Australia, a 3D indoor maze and a recycled bed spring maze. There also three hedged mazes, 20 display gardens and an outdoor obstacle course. If the wandering around sparks the

‘munchies’, visitors can enjoy a tasty treat at the garden cafe, maze cafe and colourful lolly shop. ‘‘We are always trying to do something new,’’ Mr Savage said. And visitors keep returning to experience the maze magic, many of them annual pass holders from the Mornington Peninsula. The Enchantasaurus is one of his favourite surprises for those wandering around the ninehectare wonderland. Designed by local artist Mike Green, the dinosaurus-lookalike was painstakingly constructed from more than 3600 pruned branches from liquid amber trees on the

property. When children press a button, it gives a burbly ‘enchantaroar’ which makes them smile rather than scream. While it hasn’t been easy building up such a labour-intensive attraction from scratch, Mr Savage said it was well worth the effort. A hands-on owner, he admits to getting a buzz when seeing visitors enjoy the experience. ‘‘People are here for a family day out. When they get here and see their kids running around and get into it themselves, you can’t help enjoying yourself, can you?’’

The Frankston Visitor Information Centre fully supports Frankston Tourism in promoting the local tourism industry. The Frankston Visitor Information Centre is a great place to purchase locally made and australian made gifts and souvenirs. Open seven days a week from 9.00am to 5.00pm call in and speak with one of our staff.

Visit www.visitfrankston.com

1300 322 842 7N Pier Promenade, Frankston Waterfront

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BY SANDRA BULL

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Business that’s blossoming BY MELISSA WALSH usband and wife team Cameron Birrell and Georgia Kotschet began Hello Blossoms after combining Georgia’s passion for weddings and flowers with Cameron’s business experience. Their company’s name was inspired by Tokyo’s famous blossoming cherry trees. ‘‘For the briefest of moments, the streets and parks are transformed into a sea of colour, coating everything around it with tiny embellishments of natural beauty. It is impossible to not be swept up in the atmosphere, embracing the natural high with all those around until as quickly as it came it is gone, leaving only the memory,’’ Mr Birrell said. ‘‘This experience is quintessentially Japanese, touches every person who sees it, and is an experience that can’t be truly replicated. ‘‘At Hello Blossoms, we see this experience as the essence of our service. Our constant aim is to create truly personal floral designs, engaging your guests and embellishing the unique atmosphere of your wedding. We understand that your wedding flowers are but a single aspect of your complete wedding, but the opportunities for tiny details to enhance all of your decisions and bring them together are both simple and endless.’’ Hello Blossoms has been operating for about 18 months, focusing purely on weddings. ‘‘Because your wedding is such an important event, it requires a lot of care and attention to make the process as enjoyable as possible. Our knowledge and expertise is in great wedding design and styling. We deliver the flowers,

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Young Entrepreneur Award Presented by Regional Development Authority THE FINALISTS The Promo Donna Hello Blossoms THE WINNER Hello Blossoms

set up and style the event,’’ Mr Birrell said. ‘‘As well as the bouquets which are the centrepoint, we work with the best venues on the peninsula and transform them into something unique to each couple. It is an artistic process, with the flowers as our paint and the venue as our canvas.’’ Hello Blossoms has grown in leaps and bounds in the past year, and continues to thrive, with referrals from clients and wedding venues. ‘‘Our business began as a home-based business and within a few months we moved to our current premises in Sorrento. We now have a showroom and meeting room for clients and a studio where the floral work happens,’’ Mr Birrell said. ‘‘We also employ two casual staff that have been with us from the beginning.’’ Putting their creative talents to the challenge, Hello Blossoms has a few interesting weddings in the pipeline. ‘‘One client has asked us to create floral chandeliers and we have been approached to fill a boat with flowers. Another bride has asked us to turn her wedding into a flower shop, and that adds to the excitement of it all.’’

Floral fantasy: Georgia Kotschet and Cameron Birrell bring boutique wedding floral design to the peninsula with Hello Blossoms. Picture: Daryl Gordon

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Building the opportunities BY MELISSA WALSH rankston Mornington Peninsula Local Learning and Employment Network has been improving education and employment outcomes for young locals for a decade. Executive officer Carol Smith said the main role of the network, which is headquartered in Mornington, was to improve education, employment and career pathways for 10 to 19 year olds. ‘‘It’s a not-for-profit organisation funded through the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. ‘‘Essentially, we are a partnership broker. We broker the partnerships with schools, education, community, families, parents, and industry to improve outcomes for these young people,’’ Ms Smith said. ‘‘It is all about building those partnerships that will hopefully enhance the opportunities for the young people. ‘‘It has been a successful program. We still have some barriers and issues but the overall employment and education for young people has increased every year.’’ Since its inception, there has been marked improvement in articulation from year 12 to university, 85 partnerships around Koori young people, 65 partnerships focused on disability, 94 partnerships about parental engagement in education and VCAL enrolments have doubled since 2005. Network membership is open to any individual or organisation, including parents and families who work with, or have a contribution to make, towards improving the outcomes of young people in this age group.

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Helping local youth: Frances Menzies and Carol Smith with one of the case files at Frankston Mornington Peninsula Local Learning and Employment Network.

The network has 400 members from a range of areas, including primary and secondary schools, local government, indigenous representative bodies, industry peak bodies, local businesses, individuals, employer groups, community groups, registered training organisations and education providers. The network’s board is represented by a crosssection of the community, and a lot of work is done out in the field rather than in the office. ‘‘Most of us are teachers or those who have done leadership or management,’’ Ms Smith said. ‘‘You need to be a good communicator and be flexible, making the young person the centre of all your work. ‘‘It is important to be current with what the issues are with young people at the time.’’

Community Partnership Award Presented by Bendigo Bank THE FINALISTS Dress for Success Mornington Quest Frankston Frankston Mornington Peninsula Local Learning and Employment Network THE WINNER Frankston Mornington Peninsula Local Learning and Employment Network

Picture: Gary Sissons

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Proud sponsors of the Frankston & Mornington Peninsula Excellence in Business Awards 2012 To find out more call into or phone your local branch: Balnarring – 5983 5543 Carrum Downs – 9782 9788 Dromana – 5981 0106 Frankston – 9770 1644 Hastings – 5979 2075

Mornington – 5975 4477 Mount Martha – 5974 4518 Mt Eliza – 9787 1224 Rye – 5985 9755

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited ABN 11 068 049 178 AFSL 237879. (S42062) (09/12)

www.bendigobank.com.au

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Greening with the dolphins BY SANDRA BULL o paraphrase Kermit the frog, it’s not easy being green. But running a business dedicated to being kind to the environment, and its living creatures, can be a deeply rewarding experience. Judith Muir, who owns family-run Polperro Dolphin Swims, says the company is thriving in its 26th year of operation. Polperro’s long-standing efforts to protect and create awareness of Port Phillip Bay’s marine life has been recognised by winning its second consecutive award in the Excellence in Business Awards’ environmental sustainability category. “It really can be done, to run a sustainable business over the long term and still enjoy the resources that we so rely on,” Mrs Muir said. “Being green is an acceptable form of trading now.” Polperro visitors enjoy a four-hour trip, departing Sorrento pier in a timber vessel which travels at a gentle speed so there is minimal disturbance to the marine environment. The fuelefficient engine exhaust is above deck to avoid noise and fuel emissions into the water. In keeping with the company’s environmental credentials, all drinks are served in washable cups and visitors wear wetsuits which can be repaired and recycled. A lower-chemical sunscreen is used to minimise potential irritation to humans and dolphins, and wetsuits are treated with an environmentally sensitive wetsuit wash. The well-being of the dolphins is paramount to Polperro. If dolphins “aren’t in the mood” to interact, swimmers are advised to go back to the vessel for a better look.

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Environmental Sustainability Award Presented by the Weekly THE FINALISTS BP Architects Peninsula Stand up Paddle Polperro Dolphin Swims THE WINNER Polperro Dolphin Swims

Luckily, the bay’s wild bottlenose dolphin population is an innately curious bunch and Mrs Muir estimates they drop by more than 90 per cent of trips to check out the 10 people at a time hanging on the ‘mermaid line’ — a rope with floats attached to the vessel. Dolphins are sighted from aboard the vessel about 98 per cent of the time. Mrs Muir said Polperro would remain “purposely small” to uphold its commitment to responsible tourism, and has branched out to offer day trips, education programs in schools and study tours. About 60 per cent of visitors are from the Melbourne and Mornington Peninsula regions, with about 30 per cent travelling from overseas and 10 per cent from interstate. “I think there is an understanding now that the peninsula is one of the best places in the world to live and what it offers is second to none. ‘‘There’s no other place in the world with an industrialised city with a pod of dolphins living on the doorstep.”

All aboard: Judith Muir with sons Ben and Troy Muir.

Picture: Daryl Gordon

CONGRATULATIONS to all nominees and winners of the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula Excellence in Business Awards 2012 G5425672AA-dp8Oct©FCNVIC

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The benefits of being the best SANDRA BULL spoke to two past Excellence in Business Awards winners about how their victories boosted their company profiles reater confidence and credibility have been extra ‘prizes’ for the winner of the young entrepreneur category of last year’s Excellence in Business awards. As much of Lachlan Coates’ work is done on his computer, his Burst Graphics clients come from across Melbourne and even interstate. Mr Coates, now 20, said he used the $1000 cash prize to pay for advertising material to promote his Frankston-based firm, which offers promotional services ranging from graphic and web design to signage. ‘‘But the other important things the award gave me were extra credibility and confidence, which I used to get out there and promote the business even more,’’ he said. ‘‘Winning an award like that backed up my credibility by showing potential clients that we offered fantastic products and services and good customer service. One of the first things I did was to was to order new business cards with the award logo on them. ‘‘A lot of people are a little to nervous to go for it. But I would say the only way to win is to go for it. ‘‘It really opens a lot of doors for networking.’’

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Higher profile

Excellent opportunity: Pippa Hanson and Michelle Blake are still savouring their 2011 victory. Pictures: Gary Sissons

The Sports Injury Clinic took out the major prize at last year’s inaugural awards after being named the best overall business in the Frankston City and Mornington Peninsula region. Pippa Hanson, managing director of the Frankston-based clinic, which she co-owns with principal physiotherapist Michelle Blake, said the award carried many benefits.

Bursting out: 2011 Excellence in Business award category winner Lachlan Coates. The business gained a higher profile through media coverage and the pair highlighted the win on the clinic’s Facebook page and in-house magazine. ‘‘I think the award would also definitely helped with word of mouth referrals,’’ she said. In an extra boost, clinic staff were thrilled to know they helped achieve the success. ‘‘If you give it a go, it does make you sit back and analyse your own business. Reflecting on what you

have achieved over 12 months can be a really great thing for a business owner. ‘‘You can say ‘we did that really well’ and can also look at what else can be done.’’ Mrs Hanson said the awards dinner, in which all finalists came together, was a memorable night. ‘‘There was a very supportive atmosphere and lots of congratulations from other participants. It was a lovely feeling.’’

Get connected with your free local business resource The Mornington Peninsula Shire has a dedicated Economic Development Unit to help you start, sustain and grow your business. So get connected. And get the benefits.

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Business Award 2012