You may only apply to enter one category – with the exception of Export*. You should select the category:

  • you identify with
  • in which you feel you are the most competitive
  • in which you feel you have the most chance of winning, and
  • in which you have had the most success in your business over the past 12 months

Ask yourself:

  • Who are my competitors – and which category are they in?
  • What category would my customers think I am in?

Within each category there will be a winner for±:

  • Small Business – 0-4 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees including principal(s).
  • Large Business – 5+ full-time equivalent (FTE) employees including principal(s).

±Excluding Creative Industries and Export which are not separated into small & large. Subject to change.


The following category explanations and business types are provided as a guide to assist you in selecting the most appropriate category to enter – you can also look at our past winners / finalists in each category for reference:

Accommodation (Tourism)
A business engaged in the provision of short-term accommodation and associated services.

  • Hotels, Motels & Resorts
  • Bed & Breakfast Accommodation
  • Self-contained Short Stay Apartments
  • Caravan and Camping

Attractions (Tourism)
A business engaged in the provision of a place of interest where people visit, typically for its inherent or exhibited natural or cultural value, historical significance, natural or built beauty, leisure, adventure or amusement.

  • Theme Parks
  • Rides and similar tourism activities
  • Natural attractions
  • Commercialised natural attractions
  • Fairs, carnivals and themed markets

Building and Construction
A business engaged in the preparation of land; and construction, alteration and repair of buildings and structures and other real property. This category includes mobile and temporary housing, shipwrights and other permanent structures and construction.

  • Building Services
  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Suppliers and Contractors
  • Town Planning and Surveying

Clean Technology
Clean technology refers to any process, product, or service that reduces negative environmental impacts through significant energy efficiency improvements, the sustainable use of resources, or environmental protection activities.

  • Architecture and green building designers
  • Producers / Distributors of Green building materials
  • Providers of renewable energy (solar) and energy efficiency (LED lighting)
  • Engineering and scientific consulting services
  • Green accounting and marketing services
  • Cleantech water management
  • Ecologically sustainable waste management

Creative Industries
A business engaged in the use of individual creativity, skill and talent to generate intellectual property including but not limited to music, performing arts, film, television, radio, advertising, games and interactive content, writing, publishing, architecture, design and visual arts.

  • Craft and Visual Arts
  • Design (fashion, graphic, urban, architectural, industrial and interior design) Film and Television
  • Music
  • Performing Arts
  • Writing and Publishing
  • Software, Smartphone applications and Video games

Education and Training
A business or organisation engaged in the provision of primary, secondary or tertiary education and/or vocational education and training.

  • Education
  • Teaching
  • Training

A business, in any industry, that exports goods/services nationally or internationally. This applies to businesses that are exporting directly or through a third party.

The Export category is not standalone. You may only apply for the Export award if you have submitted an application into another category.

Festivals and Events (Tourism)
Festivals, events and exhibitions that attract fewer than 50,000 visitors, enhance the profile and appeal of the destination in which they are held and create measurable economic impact.

  • Music and other cultural events
  • Sporting events
  • Local and regional events
  • Trade and other Expos

Food and Agribusiness
A business engaged in substantially earning its revenue from agriculture. This includes, but is not limited to, farming, processing and manufacturing and/or distribution of agricultural products.

  • Regionally Grown produce (supply, sales, value adding)
  • Beverage Producers
  • Confectionery / Bakery Producers
  • Dairy Producers
  • Livestock Producers
  • Seafood / Aquaculture Producers
  • Wholesale food suppliers
  • Craft brewers
  • Food Manufacturing
  • Farmers Markets

Health and Wellness
A business engaged in the provision of health and/or wellbeing services to individuals and organisations.

  • Aged care
  • Beauty salons and Day Spas
  • Day Care Centres / Child Care
  • Fitness Centres
  • Hairdressing
  • Health Retreats
  • Life Coaches
  • Medical, day hospital, surgery, dental, physiotherapy, natural therapies

A business engaged in the preparation, distribution or provision of food and/or beverages, with an emphasis on the hospitality service sector.

  • Catering services
  • Food outlets
  • Bars, cafés and restaurants
  • Hotels

A business engaged in the use of innovative technologies, tools, processes and techniques to transform materials or components into new products, by power-driven machines or by hand, involving stitching, weaving, casting, bending, joining, heating, freezing and a host of other activities. Advanced manufacturing can include production activities that depend on information, automation, computation, software, sensing, and networking.

  • Textile, clothing, footwear and leather manufacturing
  • Wood and paper product manufacturing
  • Printing, publishing and recorded media
  • Petroleum, coal, chemical and associated product manufacturing
  • Non-metallic mineral products
  • Metal product manufacturing
  • Machinery and equipment manufacturing
  • Other manufacturing

Professional Services
A business engaged in the provision of specialised services including but not limited to those required to be licensed or accredited, and which would imply appropriately qualified personnel, or a business engaged in the provision of advice for a fee. This sector cuts across many industries including franchising, the legal and accounting services industries, building and construction, and business.

  • See also: Trades & Services
  • Architects, town planners, engineering consultants
  • Recruitment consultants, human resource management consultants, market researchers, PR consultants, events managers
  • Accounting services, Financial Planning and related services
  • Advertising, Marketing and Communications
  • Audio visual, Media, Digital / Social Media, News media
  • Business Broking & Real Estate Agents
  • Business Coaches
  • HR and labour hire
  • Industry Development Advice
  • Information & Communication Technology services (ICT)
  • Legal services Mortgage/Insurance Brokers
  • Commercial research and development
  • Other manufacturing

A business engaged in the sale of goods to end users for use, consumption, or resale through multiple channels of distribution – from a physical or virtual location.

  • New in 2020. Previously “Retail, Trades & Services”.
  • Retailing (Business to Consumer)
  • Retailing (Business to Business)
  • Network marketing / Multi-level marketing

Social Enterprise
A business organisation which exists for educational, charitable or social reasons and from which its shareholders, owners or trustees do not benefit financially from its activities.

  • Registered Not for Profit Organisations (NFPs) / Charities
  • Not for Profit Startups

Trades & Services
A business engaged in the sale and delivery of a service to an end user.

  • New in 2020. Previously “Retail, Trades & Services”.
  • See also: Professional Services
  • Trade services
  • Online and home-based trading businesses

Tours & Transfers (Tourism)
A business engaged in the provision of passenger transport and/or other guided activities in a place other than at a fixed address for the purposes of business or leisure.

  • Airport transfers
  • Scenic tours
  • Adventure tours and experiences


Business of the Year
Each year, one Category winner is also able to take home the much-coveted Business of the Year Award. This is awarded to the business that achieves the highest overall score across all categories. The Business of the Year Award acknowledges an enterprise that not only demonstrates exceptional business success, but also proudly showcases the unique qualities and essence of our fabulous Sunshine Coast region.


Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame Inductees are businesses who have won three years in a row.