Queensland’s top entrepreneurs take centre stage at awards

  • Share

Friday 1 August 2014 - Four outstanding Queensland entrepreneurs took out top honours at last night’s 2014 EY Entrepreneur Of The YearTM Northern Region awards ceremony in Queensland. The winners, by category, were:

  • Emerging – Leigh Storr, BioSolar Australia
  • Industry – Maxine Horne, Vita Group
  • Services – Geoff Pike, General Trade Industries
  • Technology – Carl Hartmann, Temando Pty Ltd

Also recognised in the non-competitive regional award categories were:

  • Listed award – Philip St Baker, ERM Power Limited
  • Social entrepreneur – Jean Madden, Street Swags
  • Champion of Entrepreneurship – Tim Crommelin, Morgans

The Northern Region winners, Social entrepreneur and Listed award recipient will go on to represent the state at the national awards in November, where they will compete for the title of 2014 Australian EY Entrepreneur Of The Year.

EY’s Brisbane Managing Partner, Rick Dennis congratulated the winners saying they represented the high quality and diversity of the state’s entrepreneurial talent.

“Successful entrepreneurs have an extraordinary passion, self-belief and drive that keeps them going when others might give up,” Mr Dennis said. “Because of this, they are able to make a significant contribution to Australia’s economy and to the community by creating jobs, driving productivity, fuelling growth and inspiring others to act on business opportunities.”

“Each of our 2014 Northern Region awards winners has demonstrated outstanding innovation, determination and entrepreneurial spirit. On behalf of EY, I congratulate them on their achievements and wish them the best of luck as they go on to represent Queensland at the national awards in November,” Mr Dennis said.

Mark Toon, General Manager, Corporate Financial Services, Queensland, Commonwealth Bank said the Northern Region award winners are an inspiration to other start-up businesses.

“Commonwealth Bank has been the principal sponsor of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards for three years now and we are continually impressed by the achievements of the Northern Region award winners. From industry to technology, these entrepreneurs have contributed to the economic growth and development of their business field,” he said.

“Each of the winners has demonstrated the drive, positive attitude and vision the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards aim to celebrate. These leaders are a noteworthy example to others looking to build their business in Queensland.” 

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is considered the world’s most prestigious business award and is the only truly global program of its kind, with entrepreneurs participating in 145 cities in more than 60 countries. Over 1,200 outstanding entrepreneurs have been recognised through the Entrepreneur Of The Year program in Australia since 2001.

The overall 2014 Australian winner will be named at a gala ceremony in Melbourne on 20 November. The national winner will then go on to represent the country and compete in the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in Monte Carlo next June, following in the footsteps of last year’s Australian winner Andrew Bassat of SEEK.

For more information on the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year program go to www.ey.com/au/eoy.


2014 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year category winners, Northern Region

Category: Emerging

Leigh Storr – BioSolar Australia
Leigh Storr is the Founder and Managing Director of BioSolar, a Queensland based company providing high quality solar panel systems to homeowners and businesses. In 2010, Leigh established BioSolar with a team of three staff and today it boasts a cutting-edge head office, 250 employees and an exciting workplace culture. Leigh is very passionate about saving the environment and supporting his employees. He created BioSolar Wellness, a health and wellness program for his staff and the BioSolar Community Program to help protect Ecuadorian rainforests and provide micro-loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries.
What the judges said: Leigh Storr is an exciting young Queensland leader who exudes a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Through determined execution of a great business model, Leigh has built his business, BioSolar, into a sustainable energy company with impressive revenue growth. Leigh’s personal integrity also shows through in his demonstrated commitment to the environment and to the community. 

Category: Industry

Maxine Horne – Vita Group
Maxine Horne is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vita Group (VTG:AX). Vita Group is a multi-branded company that sells Telstra products and services through its national footprint of Telstra Stores and Fone Zone stores; creates and provides information and communication technology through Camelon ICT Solutions and Vita Enterprise Solutions; Apple computing products through Next Byte; and an award-winning accessories brand Sprout. Maxine has followed her vision of growing her people and delivering exceptional customer experiences from day one, allowing Vita Group to grow profits year on year.
What the judges said: Maxine Horne has demonstrated exceptional entrepreneurial flair in her leadership of Vita Group. An early mover who capitalised on a gap in the market, Maxine built her business by providing Australian consumers with convenient access to telecommunications products. Vita Group’s status as a leading Australian retailer is largely due to Maxine’s ‘people first’ focus and the strategic partnerships she has built with Australian telecommunications companies.

Category: Services

Geoff Pike – General Trade Industries
As an apprentice plumber for his local council in rural Queensland, Geoff Pike's work area was larger than Tasmania covering three separate isolated towns. With no other tradesman to service the region and with a hunger for business, Geoff decided to strike out on his own. In 2001 Geoff began a sole trader business and in 2003 he founded General Trade Industries, initially as a subcontracting business for project work. Today, General Trade Industries is a leading remote areas construction specialist providing complete onsite installation and maintenance of oil, gas and energy utility equipment and operation support services for operations in Australia. The business employs over 250 people and operates from three major support bases in Queensland.
What the judges said: Geoff Pike is a grass roots entrepreneur, successfully turning a proposal rejected by his employer into his own thriving business. General Trade Industries has achieved significant revenue by providing remote area services to the oil and gas industries. Geoff’s commitment to his local community, Thargomindah, is a reflection of his strong values and determination to help others as his business continues to grow.

Category: Technology

Carl Hartmann – Temando Pty Ltd
Carl Hartmann began a successful career in media, before co-founding, building and launching Temando Pty Ltd (Temando) in 2009. Temando provides shipping software solutions for both the e-commerce and logistics industries. Temando can integrate with all major e-commerce platforms, which Carl says increases shipping efficiencies and online conversion rates to generate sales for merchants. Today, Temando has 40,000 registered users, including many of the world’s largest retailers, in an impressive global client portfolio.
What the judges said: Carl Hartmann has skillfully executed on his entrepreneurial vision to turn Temando into a global player providing shipping solutions to the eCommerce industry. Carl’s innovative and disruptive business model has had a truly global impact for online retailers and freight companies. Already achieving significant market share, Temando has the potential to become one of the world’s leading e-commerce platforms.


2014 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year non-competitive award recipients, Northern Region

Category: Listed award

Philip St Baker – ERM Power Limited
Philip is CEO of ERM Power Limited, an amalgamation of business started by his father that was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2010. ERM Power is a diversified energy company which sells energy to business customers across Australia. It operates electricity sales, generation, and gas exploration businesses. Since Philip became Managing Director in 2006, the company has transformed from a successful and emerging private power development company with annual turnover under $10 million, into one of Australia’s fastest growing diversified energy companies listed on the ASX with annual turnover in excess of $1 billion.

Category: Social entrepreneur

Jean Madden – Street Swags
Jean Madden launched Street Swags Ltd in 2005 to provide practical support for people experiencing homelessness. Jean developed Street Swags to reduce the dangers and negative health effects of sleeping outdoors. Working to break this cycle of homelessness and incarceration she has developed a program to chip away at the hurt that causes and perpetuates more abuse. This developing work has lowered crime, violence and addiction. Street Swags have been distributed to over 30,000 homeless people and Jean has established two revenue generating subsidiaries – Walkabout Beds Pty Ltd and The Community Healing Project – which further develop the charity’s objectives.

Category: Champion of Entrepreneurship

Tim Crommelin – Morgans
The Champion of Entrepreneurship award is a lifetime achievement award that recognises individuals who: have a long-term record of outstanding entrepreneurial achievement; have driven the growth of an Australian company, or companies, over a sustained period of time; and have made a significant contribution to their community.
Tim has over 40 years’ experience in the stockbroking industry as well as having a keen interest in golf, football, and cricket. Tim is the Executive Chairman of Morgans. He was appointed General Manager of the Girdis Group of Companies (Property Development and Investment) in 1974 before joining Morgans in 1986. He is Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Australian National University Investment Committee, Director of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, a Member of the Senate of The University of Queensland, a Chairman of AP Eagers Limited, a Director of Senex Energy Limited and a Director of Abney Limited. He is a Fellow of the Securities Institute of Australia (FSIA), and a Trustee of the Queensland Division of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia. Tim holds a Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Queensland, and has completed the Advanced Management Program at the University of Hawaii.


About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique 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.

The Australian Entrepreneur Of The Year program now has alumni of over 1,200 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.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

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

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Rebecca Aley
Ernst & Young Australia
+61 2 9276 9305 or +61 418 835 849