Entrepreneur Of The Year
2017 National finalists: Northern Region
Cornetts’ CEO Graham Booysen is the supermarket chain’s turnaround man, who three years ago made a pact with its board that he could bring the ailing company back to profitability. In 30 minutes, he produced a proposal for the board that would streamline the business and accelerate sales growth.
Graham’s methods were tough but fair. He began to reduce the number of stores, slim down the workforce, retrain staff and bring in new digital systems.
The company has shown a profit since financial year 2014. With 33 stores and sales growing, Cornetts is looking to expand the number of stores in its portfolio.
Susannah George is the founder of The Urban List, Australia and New Zealand’s largest local lifestyle guide.
Launched in 2011 from humble beginnings in her bedroom, The Urban List has emerged as one of the region’s fastest-growing, most influential lifestyle destinations, attracting more than 2.5 million visitors each month.
The idea was born from Susannah’s passion for small business – a curated city guide, driving new customers to the operators she loved. Today, the reach and influence of The Urban List audience has attracted a customer base of the world’s most influential lifestyle brands, tourism bodies, restaurants and retailers.
The revenue and audience size has doubled every year since its launch and the site now services seven markets with further geographic expansion planned for 2017.
V Resource operates the only licensed lead acid battery recycling operation in Queensland. The founder, Vincent Huang, developed and patented a proprietary treatment process that removes more sulphur from lead than its domestic competitors.
Without V Resource’s recycling plant, lead acid batteries in Queensland would likely end up in landfills, potentially producing contaminated run offs that could pollute Queensland's waterways.
V Resource is in the process of constructing a fully integrated, fully automated smart recycling plant (to replace its prototype plant) to enhance its processing capacity and operational capabilities to serve the Queensland market.
The company earned revenues of $10.1 million in FY2016 and is expected to achieve revenues of over $13 million in FY2017.
Ben Markwell wanted to improve the way the electricity industry recruited personnel, so INSELEC devised its own matching technology, a new way to marry electricians’ skills with the sometimes complex and difficult jobs requested by clients.
From its beginnings in Brisbane’s Red Hill four years ago, electrical recruitment specialist INSELEC has enjoyed remarkable growth, with revenues in fiscal 2016 at around $18 million.
The company had grown quickly in Queensland and now has offices in Sydney and Perth, with a Melbourne office coming soon. Ben is well on the way to making INSELEC a national business.
Bundaberg Brewed Drinks is an Australian family owned company based in the small Queensland town that shares its name, Bundaberg. For generations, the company has been craft brewing premium non-alcoholic beverages using time-honoured brewing methods and quality ingredients.
John McLean took over as Chief Executive Officer in 2007 with a mission to grow the business both domestically and internationally whilst maintaining the strong entrenched family values.
Since then, the company’s unique range of 12 brews have been exported to over 44 countries around the world with a continued growth focus on both domestic and international market development.
Billy Simmonds, a former bank executive and Mr Universe bodybuilding winner, established Eco Superfoods in 2014. Eco Superfoods manufactures and distributes natural supplements. Its products are carried in all major supplement and health retailers Australia-wide and its vegan status is a point of difference.
Billy has recently implemented two exciting initiatives. A new CRM tool enabling end-to-end tracking of products and the appointment of a Head of Production and Operations.
Eco Superfoods is preparing to release a hemp seed product and is opening a US manufacturing facility. The business recorded $3.8 million in revenues in the 2015/2016 financial year.
2017 Social entrepreneur
In recognition of sustained, outstanding entrepreneurial achievement the 2017 Social entrepreneur is:
Nicholas Marchesi and Lucas Patchett co-founded Orange Sky Laundry, one of the world's first free mobile laundries for the homeless. The business now has 13 vans and 800 volunteers on the road and recorded annual revenues of $1.7 million in the last financial year.
When vans are not washing and drying clothes for free, they are used to train and employ people doing it tough. Orange Sky can respond to people affected by homelessness temporarily through natural disasters.
In Brisbane, Orange Sky has won a number of commercial laundry contracts, executed by eight homeless friends. During 2017, the company hopes to expand throughout Australia, helping people in remote Indigenous communities and creating employment opportunities for people in each state.
Champion of Entrepreneurship
In recognition of sustained, outstanding entrepreneurial achievement the 2017 Champion of Entrepreneurship is:
Stuart Bishop began his career at the age of 17 and he is the 4th generation successor of the Wallace Bishop Jewellers, being appointed CEO of the Group in 2012. Stuart studied at the Gemological Institute of America and has gained distinction in various Jewellery Industry Awards.
Stuart has been involved in all areas of the business, holding positions in retail, repairs, design and management over the course of his career. Stuart continues to design and commission bespoke jewellery, and personally selects all diamonds available in Wallace Bishop stores.
Stuart has been the Chairman of the Membership Committee of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron for over 10 years. He is also a Member of the Brisbane Rotary Club and holds membership of the Brisbane Club and the Queensland Club.