Owners of brilliant NSW businesses finding their niche

Media Release, 06 June 2014

A determination to shake things up in the fashion, travel, brewing and bookselling industries, has created success for many of the 25 finalists in the 2014 Telstra NSW Australian Business Awards.

The new ideas and skills of the finalists are as diverse as their geography, with businesses from Sydney’s western suburbs, the Hunter Valley and Central Coast, the Illawarra and regional centres from Byron Bay to Wagga Wagga.

Telstra Business Group Managing Director and Telstra Business Awards Ambassador, Will Irving, said the breadth and calibre of the NSW finalists was a positive sign for the state’s economy.

“It’s fantastic to see finalists from so many parts of NSW and representing such varied industries. These brilliant NSW businesses are at the heart of many local communities and they’re the backbone of the Australian economy.

“The Telstra Business Awards recognise the brilliance of Australian businesses and help them reflect on their strategies, goals and how they can achieve a better future, but they also inspire their communities by highlighting the hard work and creative force that go into keeping a small business running, fulfilling business owners’ passions and dreams,” Mr Irving said.

Double Bay retailer Talia Sasson’s belief that options for bridesmaids’ dresses and accessories were too limited seeded the idea to create Bridesmaids Only, which now services more than 1000 weddings a year.

Other finalists include Spencer Group of Companies Pty Ltd’s Penny Spencer who left a 14 year career in the travel industry because she wanted to do things differently in corporate travel – she now employees 58 people and was the first travel agency to be inducted into the National Travel Industry Awards’ Hall of Fame.

Byron Bay finalist Stone & Wood Brewing Company’s three founders quit the corporate brewing industry to create a local village-style brewery, and insatiable demand for their flagship ale recently led them to open a second, larger brewery in Murwillumbah.

Hamish Petrie’s frustration in getting a taxi sparked the idea for mobile app-based taxi booking business ingogo, while friends Simone Eyles and Mariusz Stankiewicz’ big idea for a food ordering app has seen their Wagga Wagga business 365cups enter the US market and win a major retail contract.

Showing the success of online book sales, graphic designer Melanie Perkins and English teacher Cliff Obrecht saw an opportunity to modernise yearbooks for schools, universities and corporations and launched Fusion Books Pty Ltd while online retailer Booktopia now sells one book every ten seconds.

Regional finalists include career transition advisers INS Career Management, Wiggle and Giggle Music, which offers interactive classes for babies, children and clients with special needs, and Wollongong-based private investigators, Overwatch Investigations.

More than $800,000 in prizes is available for winners of the 2014 state, territory and national Telstra Business Awards - a program that has celebrated brilliant Australian small and medium businesses since 1992.

The finalists for the 2014 Telstra NSW Business Awards are:

Start-Up Award
Ingogo, Mascot
INS Career Management Pty Ltd, Sydney
KWS Legal, Bondi Junction
Overwatch Investigations, Wollongong
Paws for Life, Alexandria
The Remarkables Group, Surry Hills

Micro Business Award

365cups, Wagga Wagga
180 Nutrition, Randwick
Bondi Chai, Port Stephens
Divine Creatures, Willoughby
flower child, Collaroy
Forensic Pest Management Services Pty Ltd, Blacktown
Wiggle and Giggle Music, Gosford

Small Business Award
Blue Eco Homes, Winmalee
Bottrell Business Consultants, East Maitland
Bridesmaids Only, Double Bay
Elevate Education Pty Ltd, Sydney
Fusion Books Pty Ltd, Surry Hills
Go Bananas, St Mary’s

Medium Business Award
Booktopia, Lane Cove West
Distribution Central, St Leonards
Ezypay Pty Ltd, Chatswood
Spencer Group of Companies Pty Ltd, Surry Hills
Stone & Wood Brewing Company, Byron Bay
Tyro Payments, Sydney

Regional Award
365cups, Wagga Wagga
Blue Eco homes , Winmalee
Bottrell Business Consultants, East Maitland
Overwatch Investigations, Wollongong
Stone & Wood Brewing Company, Byron Bay
Wiggle and Giggle Music, Gosford

Winners of the Telstra NSW Business Awards will be announced at the Westin Sydney on 1 July 2014. They will proceed to the national Awards in Melbourne on 7 August.

Awards information and tickets for the Awards Gala Dinners can be purchased by visiting Telstra Business Awards website or by calling 1800AWARDS between 9am and 7pm AEST Monday to Friday.