Innovation by business women critical for Australia's future

Media Release, 30 April 2012

Continued world class innovation by Australian business women is critical to the nation’s social and economic future, according to Kate McKenzie, Group Managing Director Telstra Innovation, Products & Marketing.

“Australian women are brave, smart and passionate about adopting technology and using social media to add value to their business. They are innovating in health, education, retail, manufacturing, construction, and tourism. The Awards reveal that women in every sector of Australian business – and that includes government and charities – are driving innovation that will underpin Australia’s future,” Ms McKenzie said, who is the Ambassador for the Telstra Business Women’s Awards.

The Telstra Australian Business Women’s Awards open today for the 18th year, celebrating the achievements of women who are business owners, from the private or corporate sector, and from community or government organisations.

Ms McKenzie said: “Thousands of women have been recognised in the Awards since 1995 and there have been many outstanding examples of innovation in sales and marketing, process, products and service.

“In 2011, two national Award winners were taking their innovation globally - a scientist who developed ‘green steel’ technology that uses waste resources and cuts carbon emissions during production and the founder of an online retail business where women can design their own shoes. Another national winner was giving elderly Australians the ability to be safe and independent through new medication compliance solutions.”

Catherine Burn, the 2011 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year who has led cultural change initiatives to improve community relationships as Deputy Commissioner, Corporate Services, NSW Police Force, urged anyone who was considering participating in the Awards to do so.  

“They are a great way of acknowledging and honouring the contribution that women make to the community and the business world in particular. I have been excited by the opportunities that this Award has provided and the doors that it has opened.  I have met some impressive individuals – people I admire, respect and can learn from.

“This Award has increased my self confidence and, I believe, improved my capacity to be an effective Deputy Commissioner of Corporate Services.  I hope that in some way it will inspire other women to join the NSW Police Force – it’s a great career choice,” Ms Burn said.

Benefits for finalists and winners of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards include increased public profile, wide networking opportunities and a chance to share in more than $200,000 in cash and prizes.

There are three qualifying categories in the Awards:

  • Commonwealth Bank Business Owner Award - Open to owners with a 50 per cent share or more in a business with responsibility for key management decision making.
  • Hudson Private and Corporate Sector Award - Open to employees in the private and corporate sectors, or owners with less than a 50 per cent share in a business.
  • White Pages® Community and Government Award - Open to employees in government departments, statutory bodies or not-for-profit organisations.

There are two specialist categories:

  • Nokia Business Innovation Award - Recognising innovation across a number of areas including sales and marketing, process, product or service.
  • marie claire Young Business Women's Award Open to entrants in one of the qualifying categories aged 34 years or under as at 30 June 2012.

Awards are offered in each category in every state and territory and winners will be announced at public events held between 18 September and 16 October.

State and territory winners are eligible for the national Awards which will be announced at the 2012 Telstra Australian Business Women's Awards in Sydney on 21 November.

Entries are open from today until midnight on 19 June.

To nominate business women or for further information about the Awards, please visit: or call 1800 817 536 between 9am and 7pm AEST Monday to Friday.