Entrepreneur Of The Year
2018 National finalists: Central Region
- Read more about Nicho Teng
Nicho Teng began his LED lighting business by offering his products for free, doorknocking businesses and asking to be paid only after his customers had realised savings from the energy-saving lights. That approach paid off for the developer and distributor of LED lighting products and services. Netley-based Haneco launched in October 2011 and now employs more than 80 people, distributing more than two million fittings per year to more than 800 branches Australia-wide. It has offices and warehouses in five States. Nicho is also Managing Director of property developer Greaton. This business started building Adelaide townhouses, since growing to be a high-density residential property developer with more than $3 billion worth of projects. These include the biggest ever transacted hotel in Australia and the biggest urban re-generation residential project in Adelaide.
Regional finalist, Central Region
- Read more about Steve Butler
Stilmark was established in 2013 and with the support of early partners and a network of investors and advisors is a service provider, developer and owner of telecommunication infrastructure.
Stilmark assists Australian mobile carriers meet their expanding need for high quality mobile networks, caused by the continued rapid growth in mobile data consumption.
As a part of Stilmark, Wireless Asset Partners provides telecommunications specific third-party infrastructure asset management and in-building network services to carriers and the wider real estate community.
- Read more about Ray Khabbaz
Ray Khabbaz has known good and bad fortune in more than 37 business ventures, but says the knowledge and perspective gained through failure became the keys to success. Ray and his business partner Michael Demetriou bought Australian Wholefoods in 2010, after selling their previous business, the dips company Copperpot, to Goodman Fielder three years earlier. Australian Wholefoods makes fresh and frozen meals, producing more than 120,000 chilled ready-to-eat meals every week and employing 194 staff. Ray started his first business at the age of 16, with no formal education, a non-English-speaking family and determination to be independent. His first business acquisition was funded by a bank guarantee from the vendor. The projections are to increase turnover from $43 million to $86 million over the next two to three years.
- Read more about Grant Wilckens
Creating a $1 billion company from the caravan parks industry is the next step for the CEO of Discovery Parks, Grant Wilckens, who recently negotiated a licencing deal with the Top Parks holiday group to form a national network of 250 parks. Grant left a corporate career with Rothschild and KPMG to start Discovery Parks 14 years ago. Discovery Parks, now majority owned by Sunsuper, claims the largest network of holiday leisure parks in Australia and Grant hopes the company will be worth $1 billion in two years’ time. Discovery Parks owns and operates 65 parks and, with Top Parks on board, Grant expects the network to grow to 400 parks generating $184 million in revenue by 2020. Grant challenges old-fashioned attitudes to the industry with his approach to park management, focusing on customer service and digital marketing.
- Read more about Tony Guidera
Tony Guidera decided he would only ever be his own boss after building a business for an international conglomerate only to be made redundant. “In hindsight, getting sacked from Tyco was the best thing that ever happened,” he says, 17 years later. In 2001 he started design and construction engineering company Guidera O’Connor, which delivers water treatment and pumping solutions nationally and has grown in turnover from $40 million to $60 million this year. Earlier he bought 20 per cent of financial products company Principal Finance and became its chairman. Today that business has a $200 million turnover. Tony and his brothers also founded Pristine Oyster Farm in Coffin Bay and Cowell, which grew to supply 10% of SA's oysters.
2018 Social entrepreneur
In recognition of sustained, outstanding entrepreneurial achievement the 2018 Social entrepreneur is:
- Read more about Matthew Woodward
As the largest non-government provider of social and affordable housing in South Australia, Unity is a not-for-profit public company, with more than 3,000 individual dwellings, valued at more than $850 million. Unity has delivered around $85 million worth of new housing development over the past five years, providing homes for 4,500 tenants every night. Unity also provides property and tenancy management services to people who need safe, secure and affordable housing. Ensuring that people have a safe, affordable place to live, regardless of their income, is the core of the business. CEO of the company, Matthew Woodward has more than 30 years’ experience in human services working as a social worker, manager and in policy development across Government and non-government sectors. Matthew received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the community housing network PowerHousing in 2015 and ‘Outstanding Achievement’ award from the Australasian Housing Institute in 2017.