BALLARAT Cancer Research Centre is celebrating after it won the top gong at last night's CGU Commerce Ballarat Business Excellence Awards.The centre took out the CGU Business of the Year Award, paying tribute to Ballarat teenager Fiona Elsey, who lost her cancer fight in 1991.It was Fiona's vision to build a cancer research facility in Ballarat.This saw the Ballarat community get behind oncologist Professor George Kannourakis in his bid to find a cure.Last night, the centre won the overall award out of 11 other category winners.Earlier in the night, the centre also took out the BEST Community Development Not-for-Profit Business Award."This is very unexpected, but as someone said today, we're in the business of good cancer research," Prof Kannourakis said. "We have great support, a fantastic board, and the full passion and drive to build a research business from its beginnings."The awards were announced at a gala presentation at Doherty's Ballarat Lodge Convention Centre.The city's business community, their family and supporters packed the centre, where they mingled, wined and dined, while being entertained by Entertainers Anonymous.Ballarat manufacturer Goldacres was a dual winner, taking out the Telstra Country Wide Innovation and Technology Award, and the Powercor Manufacturing Award.There was also a first-time award for Cocoon Kids Gym, who took out the University of Ballarat Technology Park New and Emerging Business Award.Organisers said this year's awards again attracted "unprecedented interest", with record nominations and entries.While each category was different, all the winners had one thing in common - the recognition. They all said taking out a business award recognised their business, their level of service and quality of their products.CGU Insurance senior account manager Mick Roberts said the awards were a highly competitive process with category winners having to show an unparalleled level of innovation and excellence. Commerce Ballarat chairman Paul Stephens congratulated all entrants."It is fitting that Commerce Ballarat acknowledges the contribution business makes to Ballarat and the region on an economic, social and cultural level," he said.