2016’s top Victorian entrepreneurs named

Thursday, 25 August 2016

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Victoria’s top entrepreneurs have taken home honours from last night’s 2016 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Southern Region awards ceremony in Melbourne. The National finalists were:

  • Jeffery Cheetham OAM - SDI Limited
  • Tim Gurner - GURNER™
  • John Humble – BWX Limited
  • Grant Petty – Blackmagic Design Pty Ltd
  • Radek Sali – Swisse Wellness Pty Ltd
  • Scott Stavretis - Acquire BPO Pty Ltd

Also recognised in a non-competitive regional award category was:

  • Social entrepreneur – Bec Scott, STREAT

The National finalists and the Social entrepreneur will go on to represent the state at the national awards in October, where they will compete for the title of 2016 Australian EY Entrepreneur Of The Year.

The overall 2016 Australian winner will be named at a gala ceremony in Sydney in October. 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 winner Manny Stul, Chairman and Co-CEO of Melbourne-based toy company Moose Enterprise, who became the first Australian to win the title of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ earlier this year.

EY Melbourne Managing Partner, Gerard Dalbosco, congratulated the winners, and said they represented the true entrepreneurial spirit and talent the state had to offer.

“The exceptional calibre of this year’s Victorian winners demonstrates what can be achieved by seeing an idea from inception to fruition. This shows us the value of hard work, determination and extraordinary vision,” Mr Dalbosco said.

“Some of the Victorian finalists have been operating for many years, in both local and global markets. This means they have weathered many storms with resilience and innovative thinking and come out on the other side.

“We know that entrepreneurs bring significant economic benefit and social change to the community by creating jobs and driving growth. But they also inspire others by challenging the status quo,” Mr Dalbosco said.

Mr Dalbosco said EY has maintained a long-standing commitment to fostering entrepreneurship by continuing to grow the entrepreneurial community in Victoria and the rest of the country.

Bernard Treacy, Commonwealth Bank’s General Manager for Corporate Financial Services in Victoria and Tasmania, added his congratulations to Southern Region winners.

“The Southern Region winners are remarkable people running remarkable businesses. It’s inspiring to see their tenacity in bringing new and improved business ideas to life. They play a really important part in fostering economic growth in turn contributes to the broader wellbeing of the communities they’re part of,” said Mr Treacy.

“Entrepreneurs also bring innovation to the fore in their enterprises, something we see as critical for thriving businesses, so we’re proud to be principal sponsor of a program supporting Australia’s top business innovators.”

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is considered one of the world’s most prestigious business awards and is the only truly global program of its kind, with entrepreneurs participating in 145 cities in more than 60 countries. More than 1,400 outstanding entrepreneurs have been recognised through the Entrepreneur Of The Year program in Australia since 2001.

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

2016 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year National finalists, Southern Region

Jeffery Cheetham OAM - SDI Limited 
In 1972, Jeffery Cheetham left a secure job to create his own amalgam-making dental technology, at a time when Australia was importing most dental materials. SDI Limited develops, manufactures and markets specialist restorative materials for dentists. Products are manufactured in Victoria and distributed in over 100 countries around the world. SDI listed on the ASX in 1985. There is a strong future for children’s dentistry with Riva Star, especially in developing countries where tooth decay is a serious problem. Jeffery believes SDI could become a world leader in specialist dental materials. He received an OAM for export services in 1983.
What the judges said: SDI Limited is a tremendous global and sustainably competitive business, manufacturing locally and exporting to more than 100 countries while also offering innovative jobs to Australians. The business has a clear family succession plan.

Tim Gurner - GURNER™ 
Property developer Tim Gurner uses a targeted land acquisition strategy, coupled with a relentless focus on quality and design, to differentiate himself in the highly competitive residential market. Tim ran a successful gym before moving into property. After some successful partnerships, Tim founded his own development firm, GURNER™ in 2013, with the goal of creating owner occupier-focused, design-led buildings, while expanding nationally to ensure diversity and long term business growth. In the first 12 months Tim purchased eight development sites, including his iconic 990-apartment multi-tower FV project in Brisbane. GURNER™ now has a pipeline of more than 4,500 apartments worth over $2.5billion under development in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Geelong.
What the judges said: Tim has achieved phenomenal sell-out rates and brings an innovative, new thinking approach to property development with clear design led quality focus, combined with agile customer satisfaction.

John Humble – BWX Limited 
Former chemist John Humble is CEO and Managing Director of ASX-listed BWX Limited, a vertically integrated body, hair and skin care company focused on the “natural” segment of the beauty and personal care market. The company owns, produces and distributes under the Sukin, DermaSukin, Uspa, Edward Beale and Renew Skincare brands. John believes in “sweat capital”, and maintains a hands-on approach to the business even as it has grown from a family operation through IPO to ASX listing. R&D remains a constant focus, with in-house new product development capabilities allowing BWX to respond swiftly to new trends and opportunities.
What the judges said: John saw a niche in the market and persevered to create a highly profitable business. He stuck with manufacturing in Australia and what he believed in, with a nimble approach to marketing and meeting the market’s needs.

Grant Petty – Blackmagic Design Pty Ltd 
When Grant Petty started working at a post-production company he was surprised by how unreliable, ugly and expensive the products were. He was inspired to build a business offering truly affordable high-end quality editing workstations built on proprietary hardware and software. Grant founded Blackmagic Design Pty Ltd in 2001. Today, Blackmagic Design develops and manufactures creative video technology products for feature film, post production and television broadcast industries worldwide including Hollywood studios and independent filmmakers. Products are offered through authorised and online resellers in Australia and internationally. Blackmagic Design’s high-quality inexpensive products have created jobs around the world in the TV industry.
What the judges said: Grant is a true Australian success story, infiltrating Hollywood with absolute product excellence. Blackmagic Design has become an innovative global leader with product being the main driver.

Radek Sali – Swisse Wellness Pty Ltd 
Radek Sali joined Swisse Wellness (Swisse) in 2005. Swisse offers 260 products including dietary supplements, nutritional food and skin care cosmetics, available in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom. In 2014, Swisse signed one of Australia’s biggest licensing deals with a large international pharmaceutical joint venture. It plans to expand into 30 countries over the next five years. Swisse is currently the on-line brand of choice in the Chinese market. Radek plans to continue expansion into China, diversify into infant formula, and expand the supply base. Swisse was named one of Australia’s 25 Best Places to Work in 2015.
What the judges said: Radek has made vitamins sexy, bringing the Hollywood to health. He showed resilience with the challenges faced in the US yet managed to transform Swisse and lead it to great success in China. Swisse have a great internal culture to grow staff.
Scott Stavretis - Acquire BPO Pty Ltd
Scott Stavretis founded Acquire BPO in 2006 to create a sophisticated business process outsourcing business offering more than the traditional call centre and telemarketing services. This business was the first of its kind in Australia. Today, Acquire BPO has 7,000 employees and centres in the Philippines, United States and the Dominican Republic. The company offers a range of services to clients globally including customer service, sales, technical support, network operations, back office functions, software development, marketing and animation. While continuing to focus on exceptional client service delivery, Scott plans to grow the United States business to exceed Australian revenues and expand to 13,000 employees in the next three years.
What the judges said: Scott operates with complete transparency. He picked up on a global emerging trend using VR technology to support businesses and has achieved strong growth to support international expansion, with a strong customer focus.

2016 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year non-competitive award recipients, Southern Region

Social entrepreneur - Bec Scott, STREAT

Bec is the co-founder and CEO of STREAT, a social enterprise that tackles youth disadvantage and homelessness by providing life-skills, support, work experience and training to young people aged 16-25. Since starting its first street food cart in Melbourne in 2010, the organisation has grown to be running cafes, a coffee roastery, a catering company and shortly an artisan bakery. Across these businesses, the young people in STREAT’s programs have had over 40,000 hours of training and support opportunities, whilst helping serve over 1.5 million customers. By 2019 STREAT aims to be helping 365 youth each year and be completely self-funded through its business operations.


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 recognizes 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, recognizing 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 honors 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 1,400 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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