Entrepreneur Of The Year
2017 National finalists: Eastern Region
Eddie Sheehy joined Nuix in 2006 and gave the company a new direction. He immediately saw the right target for the company’s information processing tool – digital investigations, which was a growing industry.
As litigation has proliferated and threats to corporate security have intensified, Nuix has become a world leader in data processing, able to index, search and analyse large amounts of both unstructured and semi-structured data at an extremely fast rate.
The business has since grown through corporate demand for investigation and litigation software.
Christian Beck was developing software for legal firms before the search engine concept was an internet byword. His first company, LEAP Legal Software, delivers technical solutions to improve the productivity of law firms and conveyancers. InfoTrack, which is complimentary to LEAP Legal, is a one-stop-search engine for critical legal and other company-related information from sources including ASIC, credit agencies, the electoral roll, and litigation services.
Brought together as Australian Technology Innovators, these thriving technology companies are undertaking rapid global expansion.
The combined business has grown significantly in the last three years, with revenue growing from $156 million in FY15 to $231 million in FY17.
Fred Schebesta is the co-founder and director of finder.com.au (finder), an entrepreneur, award-winning digital marketer and active member of the Australian start-up community.
His started his entrepreneurial journey at just 22. Together with his business partner and friend Frank Restuccia, they created Freestyle Media, while at university. In 2009, they launched finder.com.au which exploded into the comparison market – one of the most competitive internet categories.
Today, finder is a free service which compares virtually everything from credit cards, home loans and insurance to savings, travel and technology. finder has since launched in the United States and the United Kingdom, employing more than 117 people globally.
Norm Black’s TripADeal travel company has come off the blocks at a great pace and is now one of the country’s leading purveyors of packaged travel.
The Byron Bay-based company will record revenues of $100 million in fiscal 2017. In 2016 it was ranked number one on the BRW Fast 100.
By building unique travel packages from scratch, cutting out the middle man and selling high volume, TripAdeal is able to offer bucket-list trips at prices that everyday Australians can afford.
Norm believes that providing a complete end-to-end service with a strong focus on the customer experience makes TripADeal a true market leader.
Norm’s company is the biggest employer in the Northern Rivers region of NSW and sponsors the Byron Bay to Ballina coastal charity walk.
In four years, Sarah Wilson has built the I Quit Sugar empire into one of the country’s best known e-commerce health platforms which employs 20 people and turns over $4 million a year.
A former editor, Sarah’s revolution started when she began explaining the health problems surrounding sugar, wrote a bestselling book and built a ‘wellness’ ecommerce platform offering products, advice and counselling.
Her ten-product range is now selling at local supermarkets and gaining traction in the UK and the US. Sarah was one of the big movers behind the sugar tax push and has been behind several sustainable food projects.
Peter Winkle turned down a scholarship to Oxford University to focus on building disrupter eyewear business Bailey Nelson. At the same time, his co-founder Nicholas Perry left an exciting role at The Iconic.
The pair launched Bailey Nelson, Australia's only national, omni-channel optometry provider and started spending each Sunday running a stall at Sydney’s Bondi Markets to learn about eyewear.
The business has built a global supply chain and now ships hundreds of pairs of glasses per day from Hong Kong directly to Australia, the fastest turnaround time in the industry. They now have operations in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK. It has 257 staff across 28 stores and has sold more than half a million glasses.
Bailey Nelson earned revenues of $15.7 million in the 2015/2016 financial year.
2017 Social entrepreneur
In recognition of sustained, outstanding entrepreneurial achievement the 2017 social entrepreneur is:
Melissa Abu-Gazaleh developed a desire to improve mental health outcomes and wellbeing for young men after noticing their high suicide and crime rates. In 2006 at the age of 19 she established Top Blokes Foundation.
Melissa faced two challenges when she started the foundation: lack of recognition about the importance of young men's health and minimal business experience. She has more than overcome these challenges.
Top Blokes Foundation has delivered social education and mental wellbeing programs to 10,000 young males aged 14 to 24. Melissa now earns a full-time salary through the business and by July 2017 expects to employ 7.5 full-time employees.
Champion of Entrepreneurship
In recognition of sustained, outstanding entrepreneurial achievement the 2017 Champion of Entrepreneurship is:
Henry Ngai started his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 15, helping his dad to run their family business in Hong Kong. He has been involved in the tissue paper business ever since. In 1985, Henry founded ABC Tissue Products from the garage of his home in Western Sydney.
From a turnover of $250,000, today ABC Tissue Products has an annual turnover of $500 million; production facilities in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and New Zealand; market share of 50% and about 700 staff. Future plans for the business include building more paper mills and production facilities in Sydney and Brisbane, and expanding to Melbourne.
Giving back to the community has always been very important to Henry and he has been involved in charitable deeds such as donating to the Red Cross for flood and bush fire relief for many years. In 2009 Henry formally established his charitable ventures ABC Tissue Vision Express, ABC Tissue Hearing Express and ABC Tissue Charity Express which have helped over 2.5 million people in need.