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City of Whittlesea businesses soak up accolades

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The City of Whittlesea’s business community joined together for a night of celebration at the Business Network Awards earlier this month.

The awards, at Mantra Hotel in Epping, recognises local businesses for excellence, responsibility, and sustainability, and were open to members of the Business Network who were nominated across the six categories.

Awards were presented to the following categories: Business of the Year – Repurpose It; Start up – Brewer Sisters; Customer Service – Ristic Real Estate; Innovation and Enterprise – Whittlesea Community Connections; Sustainability and Environment – Repurpose It; Community Contribution – LINK Community and Transport; Workplace Diversity – Costa Mushroom Exchange. 

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Resource company Repurpose It received two awards for its commitment to promoting a circular economy and environmental sustainability.

Started six years ago, the company makes significant contributions by recovering resources and preventing them from going to landfill.

Repurpose It launched a new state-of-the-art organic processing facility last year, which takes food organics and garden organics, FOGO, and produces quality soil amendments for supply back to local facilities.

Founder and chief executive George Hatzimanolis said the company was proud to claim awards that acknowledged their sustainability goals. 

“It’s testament to our team of almost 200 people and their commitment to both sustainability and building an organisation that is making a substantial contribution to the circular economy,” he said. 

“We are proud of our long-term partnership with the City of Whittlesea and thank them for this recognition.”

Recognised for the Innovation and Enterprise award, Whittlesea Community Connections claimed the title for its multicultural driving school DriverEd, which helps residents, many of refugee backgrounds, to access their licence.

Since 2019, DriverEd has provided language specific instructors to residents who are looking to gain experience with their driving skills.

Whittlesea Community Connections road safety team leader Edmond Babatunde and road safety coordinator Harpreet Singh accepting the Innovation and Enterprise Award at the City of Whittlesea’s Business Network Awards. ​

Besides creating access to driving, Whittlesea Community Connections road safety team leader Edmond Babatunde said DriveEd also cared for the instructors.

“We’re also creating employment pathway for the driving instructors, who we employ. Some of them started their own driving school … we supported them in adminstration, helping them to design their own invoices and scheduling,” he said.

“It’s a win win for the clients and the driving instructors.”

Mr Babatunde said the team was ‘over the moon’ to be given an award that reflected their values in helping the wider community.

“We saw that we’ve had an impact on the community, we’ve felt that our work was recognised,” he said.

“Since we started the program, our clients, some of them come to the office … we run into them and they say to us: Without us, they wouldn’t be working, without us, they wouldn’t have a mortgage,” he said.

City of Whittlesea chair administrator Lydia Wilson said the awards were a chance to celebrate small and large businesses. 

“The gala enabled us to shine a spotlight on our thriving local business community and to celebrate the many talented business people in the City of Whittlesea.” she said.

“Every business should be commended for their efforts, commitment and successes, particularly in this tough economic climate.”

To view more information and images from the awards visit

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