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BUSINESSES of all types and sizes will have their moment in the spotlight this evening with the Sprake Fraser Coast 2011 Business Awards.

In all, 17 prestigious awards will be presented at the gala dinner which will be held at the Brolga Theatre.

So popular is the annual event that the 320 available tickets have already been sold.

“This is the premier event of the year for all Fraser Coast businesses,” Fraser Coast Chronicle (which is the major sponsor) media sales manager Erin Sorrensen said.

“Each business has been nominated by their customers and the way the entry form is set out means every business nominated, whether it is a large multi-national company like Downer EDI or the small corner store, has the same chance of winning,” Ms Sorrensen said.

“The night is really about recognising those businesses that provide exemplary service to their customers and although there can only be one winner in each category every business in my mind is already a winner.

“The fact their customers took the time and effort to enter them in the competition means they must be doing something right.

“Tonight is all about businesses and people getting together, networking and having a good time.

“It is a time to celebrate their successes and help them forget just how tough last year has been,” she said.

Entries poured in for this year's awards and judges would have had a difficult task in making their decisions.

Recognised far and wide as a fantastic opportunity for Fraser Coast businesses to show their commitment to excellence, Ms Sorrensen said the Sprake Fraser Coast Business Awards were growing in importance each year.

“The awards returned last year after a three year hiatus and appear to be stronger than ever,” she said.

The Maryborough, Hervey Bay, Tiaro and Burrum district chambers of commerce have been the driving force behind this year's business awards.

The president of the Maryborough Chamber of Commerce Lance Stone said the awards presented a great opportunity for the hundreds of businesses across the Fraser Coast.

“In this day and age all businesses, large or small, need to work hard on every area of their operations to remain competitive and these awards prove that many are succeeding,” Mr Stone said.

“At the end of the day it's the customers who decided if a business can't provide that little bit extra, then they will vote with their feet.

“Three hundred and seventy five businesses have been nominated and that shows Fraser Coast businesses are getting it right and they should be very proud of themselves for that.

“We have some wonderful people in the local district working long hours to maintain their operations and they deserve the opportunity to be recognised by the community at large.”

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