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Cream of the business crop celebrated at 2022 Lake Mac Business Excellence Awards

An innovative company making global waves with hardware integration and software development has been named Lake Mac’s business of the year.


Warners Bay-based SAPHI took out the top gong at Friday night’s Lake Mac Business Excellence Awards, recognising growth and entrepreneurship and celebrating corporate success across the city.

The company was one of 13 winners at the gala awards evening, held at Belmont 16s.

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser, who sat on the judging panel, said almost 100 companies and individual workers entered this year’s awards.

“The finalists we selected this year really demonstrated the diversity and strength of business in Lake Macquarie,” she said.

“We had everything from air-conditioning installers to occupational therapists, and child-care centres to coffee cruisers.”

Cr Fraser said SAPHI, which also took out the Excellence in Sustainability category, stood out for its innovation, commitment to circular economy practices and its rapid growth

Since it was founded just five years ago, the company has grown to take on major clients in Australia and overseas and has played a key part in Australia’s largest smart green infrastructure project in Sydney Olympic Park.

“I think we were all particularly impressed with how they’ve been able to grow their business during COVID, working hard to attract very significant clients and build community support,” Cr Fraser said.

SAPHI Software Engineer Abigail Hall said it was an honour to be recognised.

“It’s a real testimony to all the hard work the team has put in,” she said.

“We do countless hours, countless days with different clients to bring innovation into the Lake Macquarie area, and this is wonderful recognition of that.”

SAPHI Director Cameron Owen at the company's Warners Bay headquarters

It was a triple win for the company, with founding partner and Director Cameron Owen also taking out the Outstanding Young Business Leader category.

Dance4Wellbeing, offering dance sessions for over-55s and people with disability, won the Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion category, while neighbourhood centre Swansea Community Cottage was named the city’s most outstanding community organisation for 2022.

It was a case of lightning striking twice for private speech pathology company A Growing Understanding, which first won a Lake Mac Business Excellence Award in 2018.

Back then, the company had only three employees, and was recognised in the Start Up Superstar category.

Adventures in Speech Pathology took out the Micro Business category

Friday night’s ceremony saw the company return to the podium, this time in the Excellence in Large Business category after growing to employ more than 40 people and opening a new clinic to meet burgeoning demand.

Lake Macquarie City Council CEO Morven Cameron congratulated all entrants, finalists and winners, and the city’s business community more broadly.

“We’re home to more than 13,000 active businesses, and many have had to overcome some monumental challenges over the past two years,” she said.

“But despite those challenges, we are in the midst of a generational change. We’re emerging as a true regional powerhouse, and a very real alternative to major metropolitan areas when it comes to business and commercial investment.”

Winners from 11 of the evening’s award categories will now vie for victory at the upcoming Hunter Business Awards.

The Lake Mac Business Excellence Awards are proudly supported by gold sponsor Dantia, silver sponsors Allambi Care, Oasis Media, Ramsay Health and the University of Newcastle, and bronze sponsors ATUNE Health Centres, Kent Conveyancing, Hunter Water, Jodie Harrison MP, Lake Mac Holiday Parks, National Australia Bank, Safearth, VBD Business, Tax & Wealth Advisers, and media partner Newcastle Herald.


Business of the Year SAPHI

Outstanding Employee Jordan Farrelly, A Growing Understanding

Outstanding Young Business Leader (18-35 years) Cameron Owen, SAPHI

Outstanding Business Leader (36 years and over) Michelle Kent, Kent Conveyancing

Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality Mischief Kitchen

Employer of Choice Lake Group Strata

Excellence in Innovation The Blue Tribe Company

Excellence in Sustainability SAPHI

Outstanding Community Organisation Swansea Community Cottage Inc

Outstanding Start-Up Jaegersoft

Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Dance4wellbeing

Excellence in Micro Business Adventures in Speech Pathology

Excellence in Small Business Salon Ten

Excellence in Large Business A Growing Understanding

CEO Morven Cameron, Mayor Kay Fraser and winners from SAPHI on Friday night


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