Meet the winner and finalists for Small Business of the Year

14 July 2022

An inner-city champion of good design is City of Melbourne’s Small Business of the Year for 2022. Meet the crew behind Grafico and get to know the two other finalists.

Melbourne is full of fantastic small business success stories. To celebrate the people behind our inner-city businesses, we’ve created the Small Business of the Year Award.

It’s a new part of the Lord Mayor’s Small Business Awards, which have run as the Commendations program since 2005.

Peer through the shopfront windows to meet the winner and two finalists in this year’s Small Business of the Year:

  • Winner: Grafico – a sleek North Melbourne graphic design team
  • Finalist: MAKE Designed Objects – advocates for ‘good’ homewares, clothing and accessories
  • Finalist: Knovus – a local knitwear house striving for sustainability.

The Small Business of the Year Award recognises one outstanding business that has demonstrated excellence across all areas of their business, such as sustainability, innovation and customer care.

The winner received $3000.

All finalists are celebrated alongside this year’s Achievement Award recipients. These small businesses have stood the test of time in the city for 10+, 20+ and 40+ years. Scroll to find out more about them. But first …

Meet the Small Business of the Year winner

A man smiles next to a car

Damian Corney from Grafico Group

Grafico Group

Small Business of the Year Award winner

Every wall, car and building is a potential canvas for graphic design company Grafico Group.

Maybe it’s a panel of custom-printed Italian mosaic tiles. Or wallpaper on an epic scale that adds instant drama to a room … and episodes of The Block.

Maybe you’ve seen Grafico’s wares wrapped around a fleet of vehicles, zipping across the city in sleek custom signage.

From humble beginnings in 2004, this creative services agency has grown rapidly under the eye of Damian Corney to specialise in auto, walls and signage.

Grafico’s North Melbourne warehouse is staffed with graphic designers and signage specialists. Together, they serve commercial and domestic markets across the country.

What makes Grafico Group a finalist? The back story. Established by the son of Italian migrants – at first in a garage, Grafico has grown into a business with an innovative range of new products and creative marketing.

It’s also working on innovative approaches to minimise impact on the environment, partnering with Werribee Zoo to recycle cardboard cylinders.

Meet the finalists for Small Business of the Year

A man with a scarf in a retail shop

Finalist Patrick Coppel from MAKE Designed Objects

MAKE Designed Objects

Finalist: Small Business of the Year Award

Every beautiful product on the shelves at this retail store has earned its place amid other thoughtfully designed homewares, clothing and accessories.

MAKE Designed Objects owner Patrick Coppel and his team have carefully crafted an ethos around what belongs in their two-storey terrace shop in Carlton.

To be selected, a product must first be considered ‘good’. It needs to be functional as well as aesthetically appealing. Durable and useful. Tread lightly on the earth. And if it has a sense of humour, all the better.

There’s a big range of products from Scandinavian countries with a strong design culture, such as Denmark and Finland.

Where Australian designers hold their own on the global stage, their products too are welcome.

Since 2003, MAKE has infused good design into homes in Melbourne and beyond. Some items are so beautiful they’re even held in galleries and private collections worldwide.

What makes MAKE Designed Objects a finalist? Lovely relationship with the community. MAKE is a Carlton institution, but it’s also a successful online business that has built up an extensive, loyal following by email list.

A woman at a knitting machine

Finalist Patricia Chircop from Knovus



Finalist: Small Business of the Year Award

At the nexus of design, innovation and manufacturing, you’ll find knitting house Knovus.

Investing in the latest zero-waste knit technology, Knovus has explored, researched and developed sustainable knitwear manufacturing processes since 1999.

Knovus has built up a wealth of knit products such as medical device components, furniture, sports accessories and fashion.

The crew also prototypes technology and helps other businesses get to market quickly and effectively.

Owner Patricia Chircop and the team are also dedicated to sharing decades of experience with others, offering tailored workshops to improve knit knowledge and efficiency.

What makes Knovus a finalist? Its highly innovative approach to the design and manufacture of knitted products, ranging from fashion to medical technology. Investment in cutting edge technology and knowledge.

Don’t miss the stunning photography exhibition of all Lord Mayor’s Small Business Award recipients for 2022. The exhibition runs in the Bourke Street Mall from mid-August to mid-September, featuring portraits of each small business at work.

Achievement Award winners 2022

This year we celebrate these long-standing small businesses, which have stood the test of time in the City of Melbourne for more than 10+, 20+ and 40+ years. 

A man stands near an old photo booth

40+ year Achievement Award winner Alan Adler

40+ years

  • Michael Cardamone – Amiconi Restaurant
  • Alan Adler – Alan Adler Mobile Amusements
  • Grant Hamid – Hamid Bros Pty Ltd
  • Terry O’Halloran – Sole Motive Pty Ltd
  • Andrew Georgiou – Victoria Market Gifts
  • Helen Cacopardo – You Day Spa

20+ years

  • Eileen Carney – American Rag
  • Brendan Dwyer – Brendan Dwyer Custom
  • Phil Calvert – calmatronics
  • Sandy Tsindos – Charles Elena Design
  • David Neilson – Charles Elena Design
  • Christine Barro – CHRISTINE
  • Adam Pickett – Dungeon of Magic
  • Vivian Dourali – Eimai Melbourne
  • Tony Pierrakos – Intone Photography
  • Samson Brian Pereira – Nikee Business Group Pty Ltd
  • Martin Pirc – Punch Lane Wine Bar and Restaurant
  • Lou Rendina – Rendina Real Estate Pty Ltd
  • Janine Hunt – The Chicken Pantry
  • Lisa Hong – Wild Wombats Australia Pty Ltd
  • Julie Fong – Your Jeweller
  • Jimmy Fong – Your Jeweller

10+ years

  • Stewart Koziora – Asian Beer Cafe
  • Anna Carosa– Asian Beer Cafe
  • Melanie Ashe – Clementine’s
  • Dr Leila Zamani – Dr Zamani Dental Practice
  • Stewart Koziora – Father’s Office
  • Anna Carosa – Father’s Office
  • Adam Ong – Golden Monkey
  • David Man Kit Yu – Golden Square Car Park
  • Damian Corney – Grafico Group Pty Ltd
  • Jeff Harper – IGA Express Southbank
  • Kelly Gissara – Jissara Hair
  • Jimmy Kosan – JKN Migration Consultant
  • Adji Baskoro – Koskosan
  • Yudo Baskoro – Koskosan
  • Roger O’Toole – Melbourne Headache Centre
  • Yik Muoa Hong – Motion City Development
  • Dave Parker – San Telmo
  • Jason McConnell – San Telmo
  • Linda Dugan – Petal Back Clothing Pty Ltd
  • Marshall Waters – ReWine
  • Yogesh Gupta – Tax Planners Pty Ltd
  • Michael Wright – True Thai Massage
  • Tae Panuktong – True Thai Massage
  • Rongrong Wang – Twenty & Six Espresso
  • Wendy Scully – Wendy Scully Millinery
  • Nikki Vriends – Zip Zip Wax

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