Fifth Ave Katoomba Retreat has been announced as a finalist for the Small Business Excellence Award 2023 at the 2023 Australian Rural Business Awards.
The Australian Rural Business Awards are presented by Australia’s leading online marketplace for rural and regional small businesses Spend With Us (www.spendwithus.com.au) to celebrate, highlight, and recognise the absolute talent that exists out there in rural and regional Australia.
For the second year running the Australian Rural Business Awards are shining a light on what small businesses in rural/regional Australia are achieving in business excellence, innovation and sustainability, new business, Australian made and e-commerce.
After the success of its inaugural event last year where hundreds of businesses put their hand up for nomination, the awards are once again bringing out the best of rural and regional Australia. Designed to acknowledge the strength, resilience, and talent of small business owners in rural and regional areas, the awards recognise that businesses in these areas have been through it all including droughts, bushfires, mouse plagues, floods, a lack of tourism and a global pandemic in the past few years alone.
Silvana Franze, owner of Fifth Ave Katoomba Retreat, says she is excited to be named as a finalist in the Small Business Excellence Award. “I'm honoured to be nominated as a Finalist. It took me by surprise, as it means that those who bought my products must have really loved them. Despite the lack of profit so far, I am proud of what we do and how far we have come. Some would have given up by now. Many have told me to give up. So perhaps I deserve this award for my tenacity and the belief that what we do must mean a lot to others.
"I find it inspiring to see other small businesses that have started small and have grown so much. Generally, small businesses don’t have endless funds or staff or space which means every dollar and every hour spent must count for something. It’s sheer hard work and determination that will mean whether the doors stay open or not. So if there’s an opportunity to collaborate with another small business, in particular a local one, I welcome that with open arms.
"In Southern Italian tradition, we offer Italian cooking classes to small groups in a relaxing, homely environment located in Katoomba. Delicious home-grown Italian food, familial connection and stimulating conversation are important values in Italian culture and the primary focus of these intimate gatherings. Our classes are very engaging and sitting down to a shared meal together is something I don’t take for granted. Social connection, vital to us all, is nurtured and encouraged in the class, promoting positive mental health and emotional well-being. We recognise the benefits of making deep human connections by working collectively in a safe and supportive space and the experience can be positively transformative for participants. I remember individuals from one particular group who were visibly changed by the experience and asked if they could hug ‘Nonna’ afterwards. I find these responses very rewarding and satisfying. "The inspiration to start this small business was to keep our heritage and customs alive and be passed down to others. As the classes grew, we were inspired to bring back social connections which were clearly helping others with isolation, mental health and well-being and an improved overall outlook. Silvana Franze is delighted to be named as a finalist and is proud of her achievements, particularly how the business has evolved organically from accommodation to cooking classes to producing homemade organic gourmet products for sale. It's an enormous boost to confidence when local retailers purchase these products for their own customers. It has also been rewarding to take part in community events such as the Edible Garden Trail and Equinox Tasting Experience, for which she received very positive feedback. It can be challenging to be a successful small business in rural and regional Australia, and community plays a part in that success. Silvana believes that community has played an enormous role in her business success, saying, "It's a two-way street. You can't have one without the other. It's great to have tourists, but the local community's support is vital to long-term growth. Their word of mouth will help grow a small business, keeping our costs down. In turn, we provide goods and services to our local area, that may not be readily available, especially if it is a niche business.”.
If you would like to vote for Fifth Ave Katoomba Retreat in the People's Choice Award, please see this link: https://bit.ly/ARBAPeoplesChoiceAward2023
Voting closes on Wednesday 21st June at 5 pm. Read more at https://www.spendwithus.com.au/the-australian-rural-business-awards/