2017’s top South Australian Entrepreneurs revealed

Friday , 4 August 2017

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South Australia’s top entrepreneurs have taken home honors from the 2017 Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Central Region awards ceremony held last night at the Adelaide Oval. Six national finalists were chosen from an outstanding field of entrepreneurs to go through to the next round of the 2017 program. They are:

  • Andrew Nunn – JBS&G Australia Pty Ltd
  • Ben Trussell and Graeme Rutter – Floral Image Pty Ltd
  • Leko and Milenko Novakovic – Novatech Creative Event Technology Pty Ltd
  • Paul Vasileff – Paolo Sebastian

Also recognised in non-competitive regional award categories were:

  • Social Entrepreneur – Peter Marshman, Youth Opportunities
  • Champion of Entrepreneurship – Raymond Spencer, RSVP Ventures

The National finalists and Social entrepreneur will go on to represent the Central Region at the National Awards in November where they will compete for the title of 2017 Australian Entrepreneur Of The Year™.

The National winner will represent the country and compete in the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year™ awards in Monte Carlo next June, following in the footsteps of 2015 winner Many Stul, Chairman and Co-CEO of toy company Moose Enterprises who became the first ever Australian to with the title of EY World Entrepreneur of the Year™.

“At a time when many Australian companies are seeking to be pioneering and innovative, it is businesses with a true entrepreneurial spark that set themselves apart from the competition,” remarked Adelaide Managing Partner, Ernst & Young Australia, Don Manifold. “In South Australia in particular, we really need forward thinking businesses to look for new opportunities and markets. This will encourage business investment and help to revitalise our state. This year’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ national finalists represent the future for South Australia’s business success.”

“They are taking advantage of digital disruption, challenging orthodox methods and delivering innovation with customers firmly front of mind. They inspire others by creating new markets, new products and new jobs both here and overseas.”

EY Entrepreneur of the Year™ is considered one of the world’s most prestigious business awards and is the only truly global program of its kind with entrepreneurs participating in 145 cities in more than 60 countries. More than 1,500 outstanding entrepreneurs have been recognised through the EY Entrepreneur of the Year™ program in Australia since 2001.

For more information on EY Entrepreneur of the Year™ go to www.ey.com/au/eoy

EY Entrepreneur of the Year™ National finalists, Central Region

Andrew Nunn, JBS&G Australia Pty Ltd
Andrew Nunn started JBS&G in 2002 and is a national provider of environmental management services with over 120 staff. Andrew was appointed as the youngest ever Victorian EPA environmental auditor and he has subsequently been appointed auditor in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland.

After being transferred to South Australia in 1999, Andrew realised there was a significant business opportunity in environmental works in the State, and in 2002 sold his only asset, hired two local engineers and started Soil and Groundwater Consulting (S&G).

Over the next 10 years, he built a business which redefined environmental consulting. In 2014, S&G merged with JBS to form JBS&G, which is now one of Australia’s largest contaminated land consulting firms.

Judges’ Comments
“JBS&G’s success as a niche provider of specialised environmental solutions is driven by Andrew’s commitment to innovation and his desire to do things better, smarter, faster and with higher client satisfaction. A great business that despite strong growth, still maintains its small business ethos.”

Ben Trussell and Graeme Rutter, Floral Image Pty Ltd
Ben Trussell and Graeme Rutter revolutionised the corporate flower market when they created Floral Image Pty Ltd. The concept they developed and globalised was renting life-like artificial flower arrangements.

Floral Image designs and manufactures the flowers, and distributes throughout a global franchise network to over 30,000 businesses across 77 locations in 20 countries, adding São Paulo, Munich, Dublin and Paris this year.

The goal by 2020 is 150,000 customers worldwide. To achieve this, the plan is to consolidate the US and European side of the business.

Judges’ Comments
“From an idea born between two friends on the football field, Ben and Graeme have revolutionised the corporate flower market. A combination of premium products; technology-enabled performance monitoring; and an extensive franchise network has enable Floral Image to achieve outstanding global growth.”

Leko and Milenko Novakovic, Novatech Creative Event Technology Pty Ltd
Brothers Leko and Milenko Novakovic are leading providers of entertainment and event technologies. The pair founded Novatech Production Services in 2001 as an equipment hire and live performance production provider.

The company experienced tremendous growth in the live concert and festival market and with an ever-increasing demand for high calibre technical management services, Novatech Productions changes its name to Novatech Creative Event Technology. This reflected a move towards total presentation solutions rather than just equipment hire and answered the demand for a new standard of professionalism in the industry.

Now in its 17th year of business, Novatech celebrates landmark accomplishments such as integrating Australia’s first d3 video production suite and developing a proprietary, scalable, network driven conferencing solution, One System.

Judges’ Comments
“Novatech is a terrific, innovative business. Milenko and Leko have worked hard and taken risks along the way but have ultimately succeeded in their competitive advantage by investing in leading edge technology and delivering the best solutions for their happy customers.”

Paul Vasileff, Paolo Sebastian
Paul Vasileff started Paolo Sebastian 10 years ago in Adelaide and has become one of Australia’s leading fashion designers, selling his couture gowns throughout the world.

Paul is among only a handful of Australian fashion designers to have had his creations revealed in Paris during Paris Fashion Week and he is the only South Australian to have ever showed there.

Paul was named Young Australian of the Year for 2017 and aims to create Australia’s first haute couture fashion brand, equivalent to Valentino or Chanel. He believes the market is changing, with big demand now coming from the Middle East and Asia.

Judges’ Comments
“Paul’s story is one of passion, an unapologetic commitment to perfection and a dream to become Australia’s first haute couture fashion house. From its humble beginnings, Paolo Sebastian has grown into a national icon, coveted in international markets and on the catwalks of Paris. Paul is an exciting young entrepreneur, and we can’t wait to see his next chapter unfold.”

2017 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year non-competitive award recipients, Central Region

Social entrepreneur
Peter Marshman, Youth Opportunities

Peter Marshman, a former merchant banker and direct marketer came up with the idea for Youth Opportunities in order to concentrate on what he thought he could do best: motivating young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

He formed Adelaide’s Youth Opportunities in 1997, which has since evolved into a viable business, giving students the life tools and motivation they may not receive at school.

The company is now moving into the online space to reach students in other states and to make programs more flexible for schools. It now also offers scholarships to around 20% of its program graduates who are financially disadvantaged and in need of additional support.

Champion of Entrepreneurship
Raymond Spencer, RSVP Ventures

Raymond is currently Chairman of the South Australian Economic Development Board, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and Founding Partner of venture capital company RSVP Ventures, in which he is Chairman or Director of a number of its portfolio companies. Raymond was also the co-founder and Chairman of Kanbay International, Inc. In 2007, he led Kanbay through its acquisition by Capgemini. At that time, Kanbay had over 7,500 associates in 14 cities across eight nations, including three major development centres in India. Kanbay became one of the top five performing IPOs on the NASDAQ in 2004, and was ranked #9 on BusinessWeek's Annual “Hot Growth Companies” List in 2005.

Raymond has more than 45 years of leadership in international business, management planning, technology, finance, organisational culture and mergers and acquisitions.

In 2006, he was named a Laureate in the Computerworld Honors Program, which distinguishes innovators around the world whose visionary use of information technology produces and promotes positive social change. He was also awarded an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters by the University of Arizona in recognition of his work on Ethical Leadership and Organizational Culture.

About EY Entrepreneur Of The YearTM

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential, and recognises the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, 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.

The Australian Entrepreneur Of The Year awards program, launched in 2001, is conducted in five regions culminating in the national awards. The program honours entrepreneurs whose ingenuity and perseverance have created and sustained successful, growing business ventures. Entrepreneur Of The Year’s primary objective is to identify, acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding contribution entrepreneurs make to the Australian business community and economy.

EY encourages women to apply to enter the Entrepreneur Of The Year awards. The program supports women entrepreneurs to think bigger, gain access to capital, enhance their business profile, network, learn from their peers and find seasoned advisors.

The Australian Entrepreneur Of The Year program now has alumni of over 1,400 entrepreneurs who have participated in the program. Since the program’s inception more than 15,000 people have attended Entrepreneur Of The Year events and award ceremonies in Australia.

About EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

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This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young Australia, a member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited.

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