Celebrating Australian small business with the Telstra Best of Business Awards

Australian small business owners do some amazing things. You run the books at 9pm after putting the kids to bed, go above and beyond for your customers and support diversity and inclusion with all of those working around you.
Michael Ackland · 01 June 2021 · 4 minute read

It’s not just these day-to-day things business owners do either, you do all of this while pushing Australia forward – boosting the economy, innovating and supporting the wonderfully diverse country that we are.

We want to celebrate small businesses that are pushing these envelopes, who don’t settle with the status quo, pushing their industries and striving for equality and diversity. This is why we’re launching the Telstra Best of Business Awards – to reward and recognise the people and businesses the nation needs.

The Telstra Best of Business Awards continues our long legacy of awards programs that recognise exceptional leaders and small and medium sized businesses, providing a platform to further their success and inspire others.

We’re really proud of the support we’ve shown exceptional small businesses across our country over the past 25 years through the Telstra Business Awards and Telstra Business Women’s Awards where we have recognised over 5,000 finalists from both city and regional areas across each state and territory of Australia.

After talking with our alumni, we believe it is the right time to evolve and design a bigger, better awards program for a broader section of the community. Our new Best of Business Awards is our evolution of this work, as we look to be more inclusive and representative of all the different types of businesses and those who run them.

Diversity and inclusion is at the heart of our new program, from improved accessibility to the entry process which is now entirely online incorporating video, to the creation of an expanded number of categories such as Indigenous Excellence for Indigenous-owned businesses, Accelerating Women for businesses challenging exclusion and inequality and, Building Communities for businesses working to make a positive impact on their communities.

Recognising businesses that keep Australia thriving

Celebrating the businesses and people building Australia’s economic, social and cultural prosperity is at the heart of our new awards, and we’ve created eight different categories we believe rightfully recognise this.

Building Communities

Recognising businesses working to make a positive impact on culture and society so people from all walks of life can thrive as part of a supportive community.

Championing Health

For businesses focusing on innovative solutions, improving health outcomes for every Australian.

Embracing Innovation

Rewarding businesses innovating with technology to develop solutions for challenges faced by modern Australia.

Promoting Sustainability

For businesses reducing their environmental impact by driving sustainable change within their industry for a cleaner and healthier planet.

Outstanding Growth

For businesses achieving significant growth and contributing to building a more resilient Australian economy.

Accelerating Women

For businesses actively challenging exclusion and inequality to create meaningful and lasting equity for women.

Indigenous Excellence

For Indigenous-led, owned and operated businesses succeeding through entrepreneurialism, innovation and inspiring the next generation of all Australians.

Any business with less than 200 employees in Australia can enter the awards in categories that best suit them.

Progressing Australia

You may have noticed we only listed seven categories above. That’s because a key part to the Best of Business Awards is the addition of a new, annually-changing awards category – Progressing Australia.

This category will highlight businesses that are best responding to the most pressing issues the nation faces. This year’s topic is Local Leadership – championing small businesses who are excelling in their role of building a thriving community of the future. This comes after 96 per cent of consumers said they considered small businesses an important part of their community.

Nominate your business today

Entering the Telstra Best of Business Awards could help small business owners take their business to the next level. The rigorous judging process will look to find those who are having an impact in the areas and industries most important to Australia’s growth and shine a light on those businesses.

Nominate your business


By Michael Ackland

Chief Financial Officer and Group Executive, Strategy & Finance

Michael is responsible for all our Consumer & Small Business sales and service channels. He joined Telstra in 2016 as Executive Director of Telstra Country Wide, with responsibility for over 350 retail stores and over 16,000 partners nationally. Michael joined Telstra from GE, where held the role of CEO GE Healthcare, Australia and New Zealand. In his 12 years at GE, Michael held various executive leadership roles across GE’s Australia and New Zealand business, including financial services, corporate and healthcare divisions. Prior to GE, Michael was Principal at The Boston Consulting Group, where he worked for eight years.

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