Media Release, 02 July 2015

The diversity of ACT’s thriving business community including a four-wheel drive training school and an employment service for people with disabilities will be on show as finalists in the 2015 Telstra ACT Business Awards.

The 15 ACT finalists, including an array of professional services and technology consultancies, have drawn on wide-ranging backgrounds and expertise from the Defence Forces, public sector and trades to identify market gaps and innovate with niche services and products.

Telstra Business Group Managing Director and Telstra Business Awards Ambassador Will Irving said the ACT finalists are a unique group of businesses making an important contribution to diversifying the territory’s economy.

“The Telstra Business Awards reward innovation and celebrate the unwavering passion of Australia’s small and medium businesses. They have poured their savings into a dream of independence and doing what they love in their own way – and they are doing it exceptionally well.”

Finalists breathing new life into the ACT’s flourishing entrepreneurial sector include:

  • 4WDrive Training Solutions Pty Ltd, founded by Wayne Pitts and Annette Lee who met as outdoor education trainers and together developed professional driver training and certification to help reduce the incident of serious accidents for business and government off-road fleets;
  • Enabled Employment, launched in 2014 by former public servant Jessica May, which connects talented people with a disability and potential employers via an online marketplace. It has attracted more than 1300 employees and 80 employers;
  • Two consultancy businesses - Paladin Risk Management Services, a risk consultancy and training business established by Rod Farrar after a 20-year military career, and change management consultancy Stockwell Bretton, which specialises in strategic human resources, project management and business advisory projects; and
  • Cogito Group, whose founder Richard Brown, a former contractor to the Department of Defence, developed specialist digital security business that uses encryption technologies to keep physical, logical and cloud based data and infrastructure safe.

The ACT’s building and property sector has again delivered an impressive complement of finalists finding niche market offerings to stay competitive in what can be a testing industry landscape.

Leigh Bason’s Canberra Decks, which was launched in 2009 in response to a lack of residential outdoor living design and carpentry services, has been named a finalist alongside specialist pool installer Capital Fibreglass Pools which was established by industry veteran Simon Gainey in 2007.

The Telstra Business Awards were established in 1992 to celebrated brilliant Australian small and medium businesses. Winners of the 2015 Telstra ACT Business Awards will be announced at QT Canberra on Friday 17 July. ACT winners proceed to the national Awards held in Sydney on 20 August.

The finalists for the 2015 Telstra ACT Business Awards are:

Start-Up Award
alliance Leasing, Deakin
Enabled Employment, Canberra
Instaclustr, Canberra
The Rehabilitation Specialists, Canberra

Micro Business Award
4WDrive Training Solutions Pty Ltd, Tharwa
Barmco Mana Partnership, Forrest
Canberra Decks, Canberra
Capital Fibreglass Pools, Ngunnawal
Paladin Risk Management Services, Gungahlin

Small Business Award
Cogito Group, Canberra
Red Robot, Downer
Stockwell Bretton, Canberra
Tailored Accounts, Braddon

Medium Business Award

Aquatots Swim School, Canberra
Synergy Group, Barton

Awards information and tickets to the ACT Gala Dinner can be purchased by visiting or by calling 1800 AWARDS between 9am and 7pm AEST Monday to Friday.