The 2019 Australian Small Business Champion Awards Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremoriy at the Star Event Centre in Sydney was a big night for Pearl Continental Australia Indian restaurant, Hafeezullah 'Hafeez' Haidari, and Naracoorte.
Pearl Continental Australia Naracoorte was one of 12 finalists in the Restaurant category, the only one from South Australia. Although not announced the winner, Hafeezullah's Naracoorte story obviously made a big impression.
Master of Ceremonies, TV journalist and news reader Peter Overton, acknowledged Mayor Erika Vickery along with Senator Michaelia Cash, the Federal Minister for Small Business in his introduction. Erika and the Naracoorte team were seated on one of the four front tables.
Awards founder, Managing Director of Precedent Productions Steve Loe, in his welcome described the awards as the "Oscars of Small Business" with 2200 entries this year.
"The Australian Small Business Champion Awards recognise the values associated with successful small businesses," Mr Loe said.
"These values include service, commitment, leadership, endurance, courage, innovation, performance, persuasion and generosity."
He added, "I never cease to be inspired by the amazing stories of the applicants".
Included in his special list was, "a refugee who sought asylum in country South Australia in 2013 and is now running his own very successful Indian restaurant, providing training and employment and giving back to the community."
Mr Loe later invited Hafeezullah and his team to join him and Senator Cash for an official photograph, a special honour considering there were 920 guests at the dinner.
As expected with such a prestigious event the entertainment was amazing, the food delicious and only red wine served was a Limestone Coast Shiraz.
Mayor Vickery was overwhelmed by the special attention received at the awards.
"The well deserved accolades were for Hafeezullah and his restaurant," she said.
"To have them presented at such a prestigious national event highlighted the vital contributions of small businesses and migrants to communities, and was fantastic publicity for Naracoorte."
Hafeezullah has also been overwhelmed, but instead by encouragement that the Naracoorte community has shown him.
"To attend a gala dinner, as the only person from South Australia, and from Naracoorte, that is big accomplishment not only for me and the Pearl Indian, but also for the community," he said.
"I would like to thank the community for their love and support in helping me be a state finalist, and now a national finalist. Every time I receive a finalist certificate it's still very exciting for me."
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