Entrepreneur Of The Year

Meet the 2018 National Winners

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Congratulations to Jo Horgan of MECCA Brands, the winner of the 2018 Australian Entrepreneur Of The Year award and the National Industry category.

We were delighted to announce Jo as the Australian winner during a glittering black tie ceremony in Sydney. Jo will compete against more than 50 country winners for the title of 2018 World Entrepreneur Of The Year in Monte Carlo next June.

National winners were also announced in the following categories:

EY - Jordan O’Reilly Jordan O’Reilly
National finalist, Eastern Region

  • Read more about Jordan O’Reilly

    Motivated by growing up alongside a brother with cerebral palsy, Jordan O'Reilly built an online platform to address challenges facing people with disability. Jordan had seen how the scheduling of support workers could be disempowering for people with disability and their families – having little control over who would arrive or when they would arrive. For-purpose venture Hireup launched in 2015 to provide tools to find and manage more effective support, directly connecting people with disability and support workers. Users join the peer-to-peer network to search for people in their local area. They can privately message and book each other online, while Hireup takes care of administrative functions such as comprehensive insurance cover, superannuation, tax, payroll and employer compliance. By removing the agency “middleman”, Hireup is 25 per cent cheaper than the traditional model. There are now more than 25,000 users on the platform.

EY - Dr. Jemma Green Dr. Jemma Green
Power Ledger
2018 Western Region Fintech entrepreneur

  • Read more about Dr. Jemma Green

    Dr Jemma Green was on a 12-month hiking sabbatical when she formulated an idea of developing an eco-village. Returning to Perth, she commenced a Doctoral research project to realise this vision. Her research led her to tackle challenges associated with dense housing access to renewable energy and ultimately she realised that blockchain was the key to scalable, affordable peer-to-peer electricity trading. Jemma was introduced to two blockchain developers, and alongside her co-founders Power Ledger was born. Today, Power Ledger is a blockchain-powered software platform which facilitates peer-to-peer renewable energy trading in both regulated and unregulated global energy markets – putting the power of electricity into the hands of consumers.

EY - Jo HorganJo Horgan
MECCA Brands
National finalist, Southern Region

  • Read more about Jo Horgan

    Jo Horgan founded Melbourne-based MECCA Brands in 1997 with the first Mecca Cosmetica store in Toorak Road, South Yarra, stocking seven brands. Today MECCA Brands is Australia’s preeminent beauty retailer with a 25 per cent share of the prestige market, stocking more than 150 brands. MECCA Brands has a footprint encompassing over 95 stores around Australia and New Zealand in the form of four unique retail destinations: Mecca Cosmetica, Mecca Maxima, MECCA, and mecca.com.au. MECCA Brands is a privately owned and operated Australian company that has consistently ranked in the Top 5 in BRW’s Best Places To Work study for the past four years (placing second in 2017), and employs close to 3,000 people. Jo Horgan is on the board of the National Gallery of Victoria Foundation and the Edward Wilson Trust, is a member of Chief Executive Women and a Governor of the St George Foundation charitable organisation.

EY - Grant WilckensGrant Wilckens
Discovery Parks
Regional finalist, Central Region

  • 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.

EY - Dr Sam Prince Dr Sam Prince
One Disease
2018 Eastern Region Social entrepreneur

  • Read more about Dr Sam Prince

    An humanitarian and medical doctor, Sam believes everyone deserves basic human rights such as healthcare to propel themselves forward in life.

    He founded One Disease, a non-profit organisation in 2011. The first of its kind, its singular mission is to eliminate the devasting skin disease, Crusted Scabies, from Australia by 2022.

    Remote Indigenous communities of Northern Australia have the world’s highest rate, and if left untreated result in a 50% mortality rate within 5 years.

    With an entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirit, Sam founded a collection of other businesses dedicated to a greater cause. Zambrero is Australia’s largest Mexican franchise chain on a mission to donate 1 billion meals by 2025, whilst Next Practice - a revolutionary healthcare service, brings technology, advocacy and education together to transform a visit to the doctor. Shine is Australia’s first smart drink which also donates clean drinking water to developing countries with every bottle sold.

EY - John-Paul Syriatowicz & Stephen Barker John-Paul Syriatowicz & Stephen Barker
National finalist, Eastern Region

  • Read more about John-Paul Syriatowicz & Stephen Barker

    JP Syriatowicz was completing a degree in neuroscience in the late 1990s when he saw the internet for the first time. Intrigued by its potential to transform the way people communicate, he began building simple bespoke pieces of open source software. Squiz was born when JP teamed up with Stephen Barker in 1998, Stephen brought with him a considerable client base in need of an online presence. Most websites at the time needed to be hardcoded – a significant barrier to creating and managing timely content. JP set about building a content management technology that would democratise content creation. Squiz has evolved to become a creator of digital experience platforms, such as CMS (content management system), CRM (customer relationship management), Marketing Automation, Enterprise Search and Innovation technology. It now has more than 450 employees on three continents. The business has grown organically at around 20% per annum, has been profitable every year of operation and has no debt.