Entrepreneur Of The Year

2016 National finalists: Central Region

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Central Region

EY - Ray Dennis, Lightforce AustraliaRay Dennis
Lightforce Australia

Read more about Ray Dennis
Lightforce Australia is a specialist manufacturer and exporter of high performance and durable lighting systems, founded by Ray Dennis. Lightforce was the first lighting company to patent polycarbonate driving lights and now deals with some of the largest car manufacturers globally in providing aftermarket lighting products, exporting to more than 50 countries. The wholly owned US-based Nightforce Optics business, produces riflescopes that are used on six continents in some of the most inhospitable environments on earth. In a further demonstration of his entrepreneurial drive, Ray owns the Paroo Pastoral Company, a productive land holding in South Australian and north western New South Wales.

EY - Nikki Heywood-Smith, W&L Aged Care ServicesNikki Heywood-Smith
W&L Aged Care Services

Read more about Nikki Heywood-Smith
Started by Nikki Heywood-Smith in 2004, W&L Aged Care Services is a leading allied health, Aged Care Funding Instrument consultancy and online learning supplier. Allied health services include physiotherapy, podiatry and occupational therapy, servicing 28,000 aged care beds nationally. W&L’s dedicated consultancy service makes it easy for customers to comply with regulatory obligations and receive the necessary funding so they can focus on their clients’ needs rather than paperwork. There is a strong emphasis on educating nurses, carers and family members to improve clients’ quality of life and W&L Learning offers an exclusive library of online training material.

EY - Chester Osborn, d'Arenberg Wines Pty LtdChester Osborn
d'Arenberg Wines Pty Ltd

Read more about about Chester Osborn
Chester Osborn joined the family business as Chief Winemaker in 1983, taking charge of all aspects of winemaking, viticulture and marketing. The fourth-generation winery now exports to 90 countries and produces around 3,200 tonnes of premium bottled wines. Chester has returned wine-making to its roots, adding a modern twist to traditional equipment and methods. This has created a unique style of wine in Australia. Chester has been named one of the 10 most influential wine people in the world. He is determined to continue the legacy on which the winery was founded - a love for wine and family.

EY - Tom Skipper and Stuart Duckworth, The Social Creative Pty LtdTom Skipper and Stuart Duckworth
The Social Creative Pty Ltd

Read more about Tom Skipper and Stuart Duckworth
In 2013, Tom Skipper and Stuart Duckworth activated a piece of vacant land to create a temporary pop-up event to capture passers-by on their way to and from the Adelaide Oval. Today, The Social Creative operates as a complete hospitality offering, focusing on major events, temporary pop-ups, fixed venue start-ups and consultancy. The company’s unique temporary events range across the arts, music, immersive theatre and food trends, capturing audiences across Australia. Tom and Stuart have been instrumental in the creation of Adelaide’s “small bar” licence arrangements. The Social Creative will soon expand into China and launch its events offering globally.

2016 Social Entrepreneur

In recognition of sustained, outstanding entrepreneurial achievement the 2016 Social Entrepreneur is:

EY - Ian Steel, Kickstart for KidsIan Steel
Kickstart for Kids
2016 Central Region Social Entrepreneur

Read more about Ian Steel
Ian Steel began Kickstart for Kids (KSFK) in 2009 by supplying breakfast for underprivileged children at three schools. At the time, he was also still running his own building supplies business. From 2010, Ian attracted growing media coverage, a partnership with Port Adelaide football club and sponsorship by a major Australian bank. Today, KSFK’s 500 community-minded volunteers deliver approximately 40,000 breakfasts in more than 250 schools, and offer mentoring for underprivileged children. Those involved in the program have seen a marked improvement in children’s attitudes and behaviours. Ian plans to launch Camp Kickstart, a school holiday program for disadvantaged children.

Champion of Entrepreneurship

In recognition of sustained, outstanding entrepreneurial achievement the Champion of Entrepreneurship is:

EY - John Johnston, GodfreysJohn Johnston
2016 Central Region Champion of Entrepreneurship

Read more about John Johnston
John Johnston has made a tremendous contribution to the Australian retail landscape. Born in 1918, John met lifelong business partner Godfrey Cohen in 1938 and the two became partners over a handshake. Soon after, John opened his first store and from there the business took off. Their partnership went on to last over 70 years, as the pair took the Godfreys brand from strength to strength, building a brand that is now synonymous with vacuum cleaners. Godfrey Cohen passed away in 2004. However John Johnston, now 98 years old, is a part-owner of Godfreys and is still actively involved in the business. The Godfreys Group has grown to almost 200 stores across Australia and New Zealand. They have sold millions of vacuum cleaners and continue to lead the market through continuous innovation and hard work.