The 2023 Rhino Awards isn't the first time Robert Elliott has been on stage at the Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre.
He's been on the stage "thousands of times", he says, having begun his working life as a cleaner at the then Civic Centre.
"I was just a cleaner, I never saw myself where I am today," Mr Elliott, the founding director of Rivwest Finance, said.
"I used to polish the floors by hand and all those tables [in the hall for the dinner], I used to set all that up by myself. I don't remember too many of the functions."
From humble beginnings, Mr Elliott is now recognised as amongst the most successful figures in Dubbo's business community.
At the 2023 Rhino Awards on Friday, October 20, Mr Elliott - known to most in the community as 'Bob' - was the latest name added onto the Jean Emile Serisier Roll of Honour.
- READ ALSO: Take a look at the 2023 Rhino award winners
The honour roll recognises Dubbo business people who demonstrate outstanding entrepreneurial spirit, strategic business direction and innovative ideas and provide inspiration to a new generation of upcoming business leaders.
"I feel very humbled, if you look at some of the names that are on the roll... they must be running out of people who are worthy to pick me," he said.
"But it's a great honour and it makes me proud of my staff. I've been involved in businesses with 50 staff and now I have six.
"To have good staff means you can achieve anything. With staff that are not so good you'll have nothing but problems - from a business point of view it's a big thing to have such great staff."
Concerned at the erosion of economic opportunity in country NSW, Mr Elliott founded brokerage Rivwest Finance in 1996. Amidst the closure of bank branches, he thought the market needed a "trustworthy" finance provider that offered a "more personalised" service.
Since its inception, Rivwest Finance has supplied $186 million in capital to small businesses across NSW and the ACT.
Before founding Rivwest, Mr Elliott was a director of Darcy Kennedy Pty Limited, Kee Financial Services Pty Limited and Jamac Business Software Pty Limited, all based in Dubbo.
Outside of the business world, Mr Elliott is known for his support of the Dubbo Kangaroos Junior Rugby Club, of which he is a founding member.
Each year his company presents the Rivwest Perpetual Trophy to the Dubbo Junior Rugby Club player who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship, leadership, and citizenship.
"[Rivwest Finance] started with just $800,000 in assets and now we have nearly $50 million. We've grown and we've been very successful, and our shareholders are happy and our staff are happy," he said.
"It's been a very interesting journey to say the least."
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