Entrepreneurs 101: Australia’s most driven business leaders in EY awards

THE most respected business awards program for Australian entrepreneurs has named a crop of 101 to contest the finals of the 15th annual Australian EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards.

EY – formerly Ernst and Young – has announced the 101 entrepreneurs from across the nation (see below) who are in the running to be crowned the 2015 Australian EY Entrepreneur Of The Year and they are an outstanding mix of energy creativity and innovation. 

EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year Leader for Oceania, Bryan Zekulich, said this year’s nominee field included some of Australia’s best entrepreneurial businesses across a diverse range of fields including property, fitness, technology, food and beverage, kids toys, health and education. 

“In our 15th anniversary year of celebrating the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in Australia, it’s inspiring to see such an abundance of talented and successful home grown entrepreneurs making a significant difference to the local and global economy,” Mr Zekulich said.

“At EY, we believe the new wave of Australian businesses is critical to the next generation of job seekers and to maintaining our nation’s high standard of living. The Federal Treasurer has also recognised the significant value entrepreneurs bring to the economy and, through the recent budget initiatives, is helping promote further innovation and enabling more people to chase their business dreams.

“Recognising and promoting success stories is another way we can encourage future entrepreneurs and EY is proud to have now celebrated 15 years of entrepreneurial excellence in Australia.

“Each of the nominees in this year’s program has the courage and conviction to make their business dreams a reality and, in the process, they are helping build a better working world by creating new jobs, driving innovation and productivity, boosting the economy and inspiring others.

“Being selected to take part in the Entrepreneur Of The Year program is a significant achievement and we congratulate all of this year’s nominees on reaching this milestone. We look forward to following their progress through the regional and national awards, and to crowning one of them as our 15th Australian EY Entrepreneur Of The Year later this year.”

Commonwealth Bank business and private banking group executive, Adam Bennett said entrepreneurs “are a critical part of the Australian economy and we are proud to be the principal sponsor of a program that recognises the exceptional standard of entrepreneurial achievement in Australia”.

“Australia continues to be fertile ground for outstanding and diverse entrepreneurial talent, and this year’s nominees are a world-class representation of business leadership,” Mr Bennett said.

“At the Commonwealth Bank, innovation is part of our DNA and we are honoured to be associated with some of Australia’s top business innovators, who continue to inspire and motivate others in their pursuit of high calibre enterprise.

“I would like to congratulate all the nominees and wish them the best in their pursuit of this accolade.”

The nominees will first vie for regional honours at award ceremonies across the country during July and August, with the regional category winners going on to compete at the national awards ceremony in Sydney in October.

The overall Australian winner will then continue on in the global program, travelling to Monte Carlo in June 2016 to compete against other national winners from more than 60 countries for the chance to be crowned the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year.

Nominees are assessed by a panel of independent judges, including previous Entrepreneur Of The Year award winners and other successful Australian business leaders according to six core criteria: entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, personal integrity and influence, financial performance, strategic direction, and national and global impact. 

The Australian Entrepreneur Of The Year – linked with the global program – began in 2001 and now has alumni of more than 1,400 entrepreneurs who have participated. Since the program’s inception more than 15,000 people have attended Entrepreneur Of The Year events and award ceremonies in Australia. EY Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognising them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries.


Regional nominees in the 2015 Australian EY Entrepreneur Of The Year awards are:

Central Region (SA & NT) nominees:

Kylie Bishop – LBW Environmental Projects

Tony Ceravolo and Joe Ceravolo – Ceravolo Orchards Pty Ltd

Chris Christopher – Sunfresh Salads Pty Ltd

John Eastwood – U-Store-It Pty Ltd

Phil Harris - Harris Real Estate

Kayla Itsines and Tobias Pearce – The Bikini Body Training Company

Kelly Keates – Zonge Engineering and Research Organization (Australia) Pty Ltd

Kivi Kuet Vi Lay – Lay Group

Andrew Nunn – JBS&G

Toby Strong – PODiSTA

Sheree Sullivan and Saul Sullivan – Udder Delights Group & Cheese Cellar

Jason Valentine – CPR Pharma Services Pty Ltd

Paul Vinton – Vintek

Jim Whalley – Nova Systems

Central Region award recipients:

Social entrepreneur – Dr James Muecke – Sight For All

Champion of Entrepreneurship – Peter Hurley – Hurley Hotel Group

The Central Region awards ceremony will be held in Adelaide on Thursday, July 16, 2015.


Eastern Region (NSW & ACT) nominees:

Jeff Board – JAX Quickfit Franchising Systems Pty Ltd

Greg Boorer – Canberra Data Centres

Paul Chan – Pureprofile

Evan Clark – ClickView

Marc De Stoop – Climatech Group

Aurora Fonte – Assetlink

Michael Frizell – Pet Circle

Rodney Grunseit – Sunshades Eyewear Pty Ltd

Jason A Gunn – Oliver’s Real Food

Stephane Ibos – Maestrano Pty Ltd

Connie Mckeage – OneVue

Hamish Petrie – Ingogo

Timothy Power – 3P Learning Limited

Nadia Taylor and Alf Taylor – TNA Australia Pty Ltd

Andy Taylor – Yatango

Dean Willemsen – Prime Build

Eastern Region award recipients:

Listed award – James Spenceley – Vocus Communications Limited

Social entrepreneur – Robert de Castella AO MBE – Indigenous Marathon Project and SmartStart for Kids

The Eastern Region awards ceremony will be held in Sydney on Thursday, August 13, 2015.


Northern Region (QLD) nominees:

Carl Amor – Aqualuma LED Lighting

Michael Bell and Nic Blair – Search Factory

Stephen Donnelly – Blue Ribbon Group

Greg Dower and Darren Stewart – my FootDr podiatry centres

Kate Farrar – QEnergy

Mark Fletcher and Paul Jones – Cohort Solutions

James Freestun – Solutions Group of Companies

Marlies Hobbs – Paleo Café

Mark James – The GJI Group

Dwayne Martens – Amazonia

Fred Mohammed – Crane Trucks R Us Pty Ltd

Dr Mark Perissinotto – VetShopAustralia

Dean Robertson – Mexia

Robert Rowe – Tú Projects Pty Ltd

Katie Schloman – Miktysh

Sarah Timmerman – Beginning Boutique

Michael Trusler – PlantMiner

Paul Woosley – Australian Prime Fibre

Peter Wyatt – Record Holdings

Northern Region award recipients:

Listed award – Mark Sowerby – Blue Sky Alternative Investments Limited

Social entrepreneur – Juliette Wright – GIVIT Listed Ltd

Champion of Entrepreneurship – John Van Lieshout – Unison Projects

The Northern Region awards ceremony will be held in Brisbane on Thursday, July 30, 2015.


Southern Region (VIC & TAS) nominees:

Nicki Bowers – Kloud Solutions

Suren Chandrajit – LEDified

Daniel Flynn – Thankyou

Josiah Humphrey and Mark McDonald – Appster

Tolga Kumova – Syrah Resources Limited

Craig McDonald – MailGuard Pty Ltd

Dr Kia Pajouhesh – Smile Solutions

Michael Schreiber – Strike Entertainment

Manny Stul – Moose Enterprise Holdings & Controlled Entities

Cyan Ta’eed and Collis Ta’eed – Envato

Emma Welsh and Tom Griffith – Emma & Tom’s

Southern Region award recipients:

Listed award – Andrew Sudholz – Japara Aged Care and Retirement

Social entrepreneur – Ian Carson – SecondBite

Champion of Entrepreneurship – Richard Smith – PFD Food Services 

The Southern Region awards ceremony will be held in Melbourne on Thursday, August 6, 2015.


Western Region (WA) nominees:

Matthew Allen – Subcon Technologies Pty Ltd

Russell Baskerville – Empired Limited

Paul Bitdorf – Nicheliving

Maurice Brand – Liquefied Natural Gas Limited

Damian Collins – Momentum Wealth

Suzanne Daubney – Bannister Downs Dairy

Ayman Haydar – Haydar Pty Ltd

Scott Houston – Executive Risk Solutions

Torsten Ketelsen – GMA Garnet Group

Lauren Knee – Silk

Veronica Macpherson – MACRO Realty Developments

Rick Musarra – CraneCorp Australia Pty Ltd

Petra Nelson – Bright People Technologies Pty Ltd

Savvas Papadopoulos – Aerison Pty Ltd

Prof Tim St Pierre – Resonance Health Limited

Dr Marcus Tan – HealthEngine

Craig Thompson – Sea Corporation Pty Ltd

Benjamin Trinh – Life Ready Health Group

Western Region award recipients:

Listed award – Peter Botten – Oil Search

Social entrepreneur – Lockie Cooke – ICEA Foundation

Champion of Entrepreneurship – Dale Alcock – ABN Group

The Western Region awards ceremony will be held in Perth on Thursday, July 23, 2015.




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