A Highlands cafe has been named Best Cafe at the Australian Small Business Champion Awards.

The awards were held on April 1.

The Shaggy Cow was one of 10 finalists in the cafe category.

Co-owner Elouise McCallum said it was the first time the cafe had been nominated for the award.

“We were very excited. We hoped we would win but we didn’t think we would,” she said.

“It was a lovely surprise to win.”

Ms McCallum said the business had always focused on customer service.

She said she and co-owner Mark Wilson invested time in training staff in order to provide top quality customer service.

The Shaggy Cow has just over 20 staff.

“We’re just really excited. It’s fantastic for the Southern Highlands to have a winner in that category,” Ms McCallum said.

“We hope it brings attention to the area.

The awards aim to recognise outstanding small businesses and encourage high standards of excellence in small business practice.

Managing director of Precedent Productions and founder of the awards Steve Loe said it was a great way to acknowledge the hard work and contribution of small businesses across the country.

“The Australian Small Business Champion Awards is a way to recognise the efforts of small business people whose efforts contribute to the prosperity and vitality of communities across Australia,” he said.

“As a small business owner myself, I know the vision and dedication to excellence required to succeed. These traits have been displayed in abundance by all of our 2017 Small Business Champions.”

Other Highlands businesses were also nominated at the Australian Small Business Champion Awards.

Wembley Road Preschool was a finalist in the childcare category and The Holiday Rental Specialists was a finalist in the tourism category, however neither business won.