NSW & ACT top entrepreneurs for 2011 named
Friday, 24 June 2011 — The top entrepreneurs in NSW and ACT for 2011 were named at the annual EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Eastern Region Awards in Sydney last night.
The 2011 Eastern Region winners, by category, are:
- Emerging: Brian Siemsen, Siemsen Group
- Industry: Naomi Simson, RedBalloon
- Services: Dr David Penn, Southern Cross Dental Laboratories
- Technology: Matt Barrie, Freelancer.com
Also recognised in the non-competitive regional award categories were:
- Listed: Nicholas Curtis, Lynas Corporation Limited
- Social: Melinda Cruz, Miracle Babies Foundation
The Eastern Region winners and award recipients will contend for the ultimate title of 2011 EY Australian Entrepreneur in November. The Australian winner will then go on to Monte Carlo next year for the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards.
A global program with more than 140 cities participating in more than 50 countries, EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year is considered the world’s most prestigious business award.
Since the 2001 launch in Australia, the Entrepreneur Of The Year program has recognised more than 900 Australian entrepreneurs for their exceptional ideas and accomplishments.
For more information on the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year go to www.ey.com/au/eoy.
2011 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards, Eastern Region
Brian Siemsen, Siemsen Group
Footballer Brian Siemsen turned his small construction company into a $55 million business in just six years. After winning some mainstream contracts with Spotless and United Group, Brian realised the insurance market for weather damage repairs was relatively untapped. He believed there was a huge opportunity to provide insurance companies and their customers with better quality services – especially a fast response capability. He recognised the key was to help people get on with their lives as quickly as possible.
What the judges said: Brian Siemsen is a born business leader with a natural ability to build teams. He has succeeded in defining the needs of the Australian insurance industry, improving the experience for the customer, tradesman and insurer. His innovative use of technology has created a business which is totally scalable.
Naomi Simson, RedBalloon
After a corporate career working for companies such as IBM, KPMG, Apple Computer Australia and Ansett Australia, Naomi Simson wanted to create a business that gave her the flexibility to spend more time with her family. In 2000, inspired by the dot com boom, she invented a revolutionary business using the emerging technology of the internet. RedBalloon was completely new: an online gifting service aggregating over 1,500 unique experiences – including massage, sailing, chocolate tours, cookery lessons, car racing and skydiving – across Australia. Since inception, the company has been cash flow positive, experiencing a phenomenal rate of growth. Naomi’s company has already delivered a million experiences. Its ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal’ is to reach two million by 2015.
What the judges said: Naomi Simson has shown true entrepreneurial spirit, vision and passion in creating a new industry and way of gifting. She has demonstrated great self-awareness through her ability to step back and work on the business, not in the business – a rare quality for a founder. Naomi is also a wonderful and active role model for female entrepreneurs.
Dr David Penn, Southern Cross Dental Laboratories
After running his own practice, dental surgeon Dr David Penn identified a significantly better value for money proposition: to supply prosthodontics to dentists in Australia. David realised that the local dental laboratory market was controlled by small enterprises who supplied bespoke prosthodontics at hugely inflated prices. Without contacts or experience, in 1983 David sourced a high quality, value for money manufacturer in Hong Kong and founded Southern Cross Dental Laboratories (SCDL). Today, SCDL is a global company, providing consistently high quality, state of the art, fixed and removable prosthodontics to dentists around the world at prices that represent incredible value for money.
What the judges said: The quintessential entrepreneur, David transitions fluidly between academia and business. Using his deep knowledge and passion, he has made a tangible impact in his industry, improving the lives of both his patients and other dentists.
Matt Barrie, Freelancer.com
Matt Barrie is Chief Executive of Freelancer.com, the world's largest outsourcing marketplace connecting over 2.6 million professionals from around the globe and in the top 250 websites globally. Freelancer.com empowers entrepreneurs globally. It connects small businesses and individuals from the west with freelancers in the developing world. In the west, it empowers small business owners with a digital workforce to get jobs done. In the developing world, it empowers entrepreneurs to start service organisations, providing a platform to find work and promote themselves internationally. To date, over one million projects have been outsourced through Freelancer.com, providing livelihoods to hundreds of thousands in developing economies.
What the judges said: Matt Barrie is a visionary entrepreneur who has single-mindedly changed the paradigm of the global outsourcing industry. His drive and persistence has opened up opportunities for entrepreneurs in the developing world and provided choice and cost savings to small business owners globally.
Nicholas Curtis, Lynas Corporation Limited
Nicholas Curtis transformed Lynas Corporation from a gold junior explorer to a rare earths producer, opening up the rare earths markets by allowing customers to source rare earths from outside China. Today, Lynas Corporation Ltd is an ASX 100 listed company, set to provide the first new source of supply of rare earths outside of China when it comes into production in the third quarter of 2011. Nick expects Lynas will have at least a $2 billion turnover once production has reached a steady state, which he expects within three years.
Melinda Cruz, Miracle Babies Foundation
After having her first two babies early and cared for by Liverpool Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Melinda Cruz formed a small local support group with other mums of premature babies. In just six years, Miracle Babies has grown into a national charitable foundation, supporting NICUs across Australia. Miracle Babies is Australia’s premier NICU babies’ charity, offering support to the 42,000 Australian families whose babies require intensive care every year. From one grateful mother’s need for support and desire to give back, Miracle Babies has grown into a national volunteer organisation of parents willing to support others going through the same trauma.
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