Melbourne based Indigenous business, Complete Work Wear Pty Ltd, an industrial laundry service for airlines at Tullamarine Airport, took out the coveted Indigenous in Business Award category at the recent Ethnic Business Awards held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney. Ron Stewart and his daughter Nicole have been running the enterprise for over 30 years, and were pleased to receive the award in recognition of their hard work in a business that runs 24/7.
Nicole Stewart collected the award on behalf of the business and said it was a humbling but exciting experience. “We’re just two people, me and my Dad, doing our daily job, we didn’t think we were doing anything special but we are and this award shows people out there that we’re doing a good job.
I have to thank Joseph Assaf for founding the awards and for creating the national Indigenous in Business Award category as part of the Ethnic Business Awards. It’s an incredible opportunity, that someone’s prepared to look at the Indigenous community and see people doing an awesome job.
Nicole says the opportunities of getting publicity and promotion increased for their business even from nomination stage.
“We’ve had a story in our local paper and our logos in the Business Review Weekly magazine, so I think the publicity we’ve received will bring us out into the open a lot more and show people we’re there, a fully Indigenous run business. That can only be good for business.
“I’d have to thank my dad for his belief in himself. He’s given many of our family members a job over the years.
Mr Assaf said “that as an immigrant he recognised the huge obstacles that immigrant businesses had overcome to be successful, and believed that Indigenous businesses needed to be recognised for their efforts. He says it’s an opportunity to become self sufficient in business. He said that the Indigenous business nominees are already winners. They are the best in their field, and great role models for others follow”.
“I’d like other Indigenous people to see their example and say, ‘I’d like to be one of them too” said Joseph.
The Ethnic Business Awards are Australia’s longest running business awards having operated now for 23 years, continuously being broadcast by SBS television in that time.
The winners in each award category received ten thousand dollars cash from the National Australia Bank. They also each received a beautiful crystal trophy, and a holiday package on the Gold Coast’s gorgeous, six star, Palazzo Versace hotel, where they’ll be pampered for five nights in absolute luxury.
Also recognised for their amazing achievements and astute businesses skills on the Awards, were the other Indigenous in Business Award category finalists:
Message Stick Communications Pty Ltd a Sydney based company who on-sells audio and web conferencing technologies to the corporate world globally and has a long list of impressive clients. CEO Michael McLeod was also instrumental in helping set up the Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council (AIMSC), that has helped many other businesses flourish. Something he’s very proud about.
Coming from a very disadvantaged background and in his unique humble way, Michael said that he felt like he was there more to support other Indigenous businesses. He said he felt a bit nervous on the night, but proud about his own nomination and he encouraged others to follow.
“Put it simply, if you feel you have that spark of entrepreneurialism then persevere, be staunch and believe in your core business.” said Michael.
Print Junction a family owned Indigenous business, led by company Secretary and Director, Sheila Torzyn and her husband Leon, along with son Nathan and daughter Leah, is an Adelaide based business with a total of 8 staff. The firm is being constantly recognized for their quality and attracts business from government, corporate and Indigenous organizations nationally. Sheila said that even being nominated for the Indigenous in Business Award category has been great.
“We started up 15 years ago and took a month off work to work with Leon and our son Nathan joined after 12 months as a qualified printer. We couldn’t draw any wages initially we just paid the kids and now it’s going great” said Shelia.
The firm is a member of AIMSC as an accredited supplier that they said has opened a lot of doors in the corporate sector. Husband Leon says they demand good quality correct work first time round at the right price.
“We can meet those objectives for them. Just dealing with those corporates has meant a whole new lot of priorities, and it’s meant we’ve had to reinvent ourselves to meet their demands” said Leon.
As an Indigenous small business in a niche market, Print Junction offers something for everyone. From an individual who needs a pack of business cards and a ream of letterheads, to clients like Indigenous Business Australia, Corporate Express, Salmat, National Indigenous Television, and various government agencies.
Being nominated for this prestigious national Indigenous business award, has given Print Junction an acknowledgement that has reignited their energy and enthusiasm to continue to do the things that they originally set out to do.
Karen Milward Consulting Services, from Victoria provides Indigenous specialist support to individuals, communities, businesses and government. Best known for her sensitivity and culturally appropriate services, Karen Milward works around the country providing diverse solutions to meet each need that aims to empower the development of Indigenous people and communities.
Karen was honoured to be included in what she described as a field of great Indigenous and Ethnic businesses, whose mum and dad, who are also in business influenced her decision to leave a public service job and go solo as a consultant.
“People actually recognise that what I do is important and it creates an extra boost in my confidence to do what I am doing.” said Karen.
Indigenous businessman, Paul Newman, owner and director of leading Sydney based Indigenous business management consulting company Black Pages, opened the awards with an Acknowledgment of Country in welcoming everyone to the 23 Annual Ethnic Business Awards. Black Pages is an ongoing supporter of the awards having forged close working links with the inaugural 2010 Indigenous in Business Awards with Ethnic Business Awards, founder Mr Joseph Assaf.
The inaugural 2010 Indigenous in Business Award category was won by Carey Mining from Western Australian.
For those wanting to view 2011 Ethnic Business Awards Gala Presentation Dinner, including the Indigenous in Business Awards category, the world wide television broadcast are as follows:
Friday 18 November 2011 at 8.30pm (SBS2)
Tuesday 22 November 2011 at 1.00pm (SBS1)
Sunday 15 January 2012 at 3.00pm (SBS1)
Aurora Channel (FOXTEL, AUSTAR and Optus Digital Networks – Channel 183)
Sunday 20th November at 5.30pm
Sun 27th November at 12.30pm
Tues 29th November at 9.30pm
Thurs 8th December at 3.30pm
Mon 19th December at 9.30pm
Fri 23rd December at 3pm
Sat 24th December at 12.30pm
BlackBiz Pty Limited (ABN: 49 146 020 662)