MORE PHOTOS: 2017 Bendigo Business Excellence Awards winners.
High-vis vests were replaced with tuxedos, and aprons made way for ballgowns, at the Bendigo Business Excellence Awards tonight, an evening organisers likened to the Oscars.
Be.Bendigo chief executive officer Leah Sertori said the gala was a chance for hardworking business owners and their staff to celebrate their toil.
“There's so much blood, sweat and tears that goes into operating an enterprise, and this is where they can share that journey, share what has helped them endure, how they've managed to enrich their lives of the people they work with - suppliers, customers, staff and their own family,” Ms Sertori said.
She also hoped the event encouraged more residents to start their own business, or those struggling through difficult times not to give up.
“It sends signals to people who are starting out and those who are going through a rough patch that they can have success, and they can lean on each other for that support,” she said, saying many attendees mingling in the foyer swapped success stories from their workplace.
Former Big Brother host Mike Goldman presided over the ceremony, which also featured performances from talented Bendigo youth.
The budding performers were chosen to coincide with Be.Bendigo’s decade-long commitment to early childhood literacy, a move that has also seen them put boxes of storybooks in the foyers of the city’s businesses.
Asked how she would describe the evening, Ms Sertori said: “Don't worry about the Logies, we built this event with the Oscars in mind.
“We like to put on a show.”