Victorian entrepreneurs honoured for achievements

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Friday 18 July 2014 - Six outstanding Victorian entrepreneurs took out top honours at last night’s 2014 EY Entrepreneur Of The YearTM Southern Region awards ceremony in Melbourne.

The winners, by category, were:

  • Emerging – Sam Chandler, Nitro
  • Industry –  Michael O’Keeffe, Aesop
  • Services – Joe Davenport and Owen Kerr, Pepperstone
  • Technology –  Chris Dance and Matt Doran, PaperCut Software International

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

  • Social entrepreneur – Tim Conolan, TLC for kids
  • Champions of Entrepreneurship – Lesley Gillespie OAM and Roger Gillespie OAM, Bakers Delight

The Southern Region winners and Social entrepreneur 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 Melbourne Managing Partner, Gerard Dalbosco congratulated the winners, saying they represented the high quality and diversity of the region’s entrepreneurial talent.
“Successful entrepreneurs have an extraordinary passion, self-belief and drive that keeps them going when others might give up,” Mr Dalbosco 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 Southern 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 Victoria at the national awards in November,” Mr Dalbosco said.

Bernard Treacy, Commonwealth Bank General Manager of Corporate Financial Services Victoria and Tasmania, said that Victorians should be proud of the high calibre of the state’s entrepreneurial talent.

“The Southern Region award winners showcase the outstanding entrepreneurial leadership skills which the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards strive to recognise. Each of the winning entrepreneurs have been selected for their exceptional contribution to Victorian business and are role models for future business leaders from the state,” he said.

“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 skill and talent exhibited by the Southern Region winners. We look forward to following their journey through the awards program and beyond.”

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

2014 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year category winners, Southern Region

Category: Emerging
Sam Chandler – Nitro

Inspired by his parents, both small business owners, Sam Chandler started his first company aged 16. In 2005, Sam founded Nitro, a software company providing businesses with powerful yet cost-efficient solutions for document sharing and collaboration. Today, more than 450,000 businesses worldwide, including over 50% of the Fortune 500, run Nitro and over 8 million people from almost 200 countries use Nitro products every month. Founded in Melbourne but headquartered in San Francisco, Nitro has more than 150 employees across five countries. With a NASDAQ or NYSE IPO on the horizon and a growth-target of 200 employees by year-end, Sam is planning to continue Nitro’s rapid expansion.
What the judges said: Nitro is an exciting business with enormous potential. Sam Chandler has already achieved significant wins, taking market share from more dominant and established global competitors. Sam leads the business with a clear vision and strong execution. He has also been able to attract top talent to Nitro, despite competition from some of the world’s leading technology companies.

Category: Industry
Michael O’Keeffe – Aesop

Michael O’Keeffe is the CEO of Aesop, an Australian cosmetics line founded in Melbourne in 1987. Michael joined the business in 2003 after a diverse career that even included a short stint as a professional cyclist. Right from the start, Michael was convinced that Aesop had a global opportunity if he transformed the company from a wholesaler into a retailer. Today Aesop has a presence in 12 countries and a strong, creative and innovative brand. Over the next five years, Michael is planning expand Aesop to 20 countries while still manufacturing all their products locally.
What the judges said: Michael O’Keeffe’s flair for executing the grandest of visions has seen him successfully transform Aesop into a global, vertically integrated business. Michael has achieved tremendous growth since taking the reins of this distinctive Australian brand in 2005. His ability to achieve this in a competitive segment, while remaining true to Aesop’s core beliefs, is a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit and integrity.

Category: Services
Joe Davenport and Owen Kerr – Pepperstone

Owen Kerr and Joe Davenport founded the online forex broker, Pepperstone, at the end of 2010. After overcoming initial challenges, the Melbourne based business has quickly grown into a global company, with offices in China and the US. Today, Pepperstone services over 20,000 retail investors in more than 150 countries with an average trading volume of over US $3.3 billion per day. This positions Pepperstone in the top 15 retail FX brokers globally. Going forward, Owen and Joe plan to introduce new products to feed an even bigger market and are exploring the possibility of a public listing.
What the judges said: From a standing start, Joe Davenport and Owen Kerr have achieved exceptional financial results with Pepperstone within a very short time frame. Joe and Owen have overcome significant challenges to build a dynamic and profitable business. Through clever use of technology, they are providing a superior offering to their clients and positioning Pepperstone as a serious challenger to more established firms.

Category: Technology
Chris Dance and Matt Doran – PaperCut Software International

Chris Dance and Matt Doran founded PaperCut Software International in 1998 after noticing careless students dumping volumes of paper after printing documents they did not even look at. Frustrated by the lack of thought around wasting paper, the founders developed a “little piece of software” to provide schools the control over who printed what and when. That simple concept quickly spread to universities, prestigious schools, government departments and scores of businesses. With passion and time it evolved into an award-winning print management solution used in 116 countries and in 27 languages.
What the judges said: From a simple idea to reduce printing, Chris Dance and Matt Doran have built a successful and highly profitable business. Chris and Matt have an irrepressible enthusiasm for PaperCut which shows in their strong focus on innovation and on doing the right thing by their customers and staff.  Their ‘vendor neutral’ strategy has allowed them to achieve significant growth worldwide, with the PaperCut product now sold in 116 countries and in 27 languages.

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

Category: Social entrepreneur
Tim Conolan – TLC for kids

Tim Conolan established TLC for kids with his long-term partner in 1998. TLC for kids is a not-for-profit organisation that provides immediate distraction and practical or emotional support to sick children and their families, during critical times of crisis and hardship, regardless of their illness, condition or background. Since its inception the charity has assisted more than four million sick children and their families. With passion and infectious positivity, Tim has spearheaded TLC for kids’ remarkable growth and his mission remains clear: to ensure every child in every hospital in Australia has the emotional and practical support they need.

Category: Champions of Entrepreneurship
Lesley Gillespie OAM and Roger Gillespie OAM – Bakers Delight

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.

Lesley Gillespie is Co-Founder, Executive Director and Joint CEO of Bakers Delight as well as a Director and co-owner of the grocery outlet chain NQR. Her achievements include being a finalist in the 2004 Prime Minister’s Award for Community Partnerships, receiving the 2002 Boroondara Citizen of the Year (shared with her husband Roger), an OAM in 2006 and a Fellowship from Monash University in 2013 where she gained an Honours Degree in Science and a Diploma of Education. Apart from the ongoing and active partnership of Bakers Delight and BCNA, Lesley is also the patron of the Margaret Pratt Foundation which supports research into transplanted organ rejection.

Roger Gillespie is Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Bakers Delight, the largest national chain of bakeries in Australia with over 700 bakeries operating throughout Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Roger has been inducted into the Hall of Fame for both the Swinburne University of Technology’s Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship (AGSE) and the Franchising Council of Australia.  Roger has been named ‘Citizen of the Year’ for the City of Boroondara (shared with his wife Lesley) and was granted an Order of Australia for his tireless work within the community. He is a Board member of the Cranlana Programme, a Director of Epic Health, Director of NQR, President of the Australian Retailers’ Association and a Board member of the Bionics Institute. 


About EY Entrepreneur Of The YearTM
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
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Rebecca Aley
Ernst & Young Australia
+61 2 9276 9305