LAST year’s Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur Award winner has snared the prestigious prize for a second time.

Randall Deer (pictured), the Gold Coast’s 2012 Young Entrepreneur of the Year, impressed judges with remarkable growth of his rebranded Ignite Travel Group. Revenue was up 63 per cent to $62 million in the last financial year.

The 37-year-old established the tourism marketing company in 2005 as RewardsCorp and quietly built a tourism marketing empire with retail travel brands specialising in the sale of holidays to Fiji and Bali.

“I am really happy, really surprised and did not think I was going to win it again. There was a lot of great talent vying for the award this year,” says Deer.

“It has been a fairly tough year and we have been able to overcome some challenges and still pull through with a really good result. We are really looking forward to [the end of] this financial year.”

Deer expects 200 per cent growth in FY13 as he expands the business to New Zealand and the United States.

Other winners from the awards luncheon at East Restaurant & Lounge Bar included Stuart Stratton, who claimed the coveted Highly Commended Award.

The founder of Bsmart grew his telemarketing group and parent’s transport company, Con-X-ion, into multi-million dollar enterprises that turned over $15.7 million and $10 million respectively in FY12.

The 32-year-old’s greatest achievement was paying back a loan from his parents and helping them retire early and go on a year-long overseas holiday.

“I am ecstatic. To be recognised for what I love so much is pretty awesome. It is a culmination of 10 years’ hard work, experience, reading loads of books, staying positive and not listening to noise happening around me,” he says.

“I could not have done it without the support of my wife, Sophie Gauthier.”

The celebrated Trailblazer Award went to Garrick Bull for his property company’s continued growth despite restrictive lending, poor consumer confidence and a struggling building industry.

G Developments and GM Homes have grown revenue by 34 per cent to $101.5 million, largely off the back of his interstate expansion to Sydney, Melbourne, the Hunter Valley, Mildura, Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong.

Bull, who worked for Coral Homes and Metricon before starting his own business, says giving consumers what they want was key to his success.

“I am really glad to be judged as Trailblazer of the Year. I started my business because I was a bit of a control-freak, building houses for my friends and colleagues – and it has just grown from there,” he says.

Gold Coast Business News congratulates this year’s winner Randall Deer and all finalists for their tremendous contribution to the city’s bustling business landscape.

This year, 39 finalists – including winner, highly commended and the trailblazer – all took creativity and ingenuity to a new level.

Despite challenging economic conditions across the city over the last 12 months, so many of our brightest and best young entrepreneurs have found inventive and innovative ways to maintain growth and build their businesses.

This year's finalists include: James Greig, Bloomtools; Dallas Heale and Theo Vairaktaris, Usher and Son / DT Visions; John Ramsden, Ramsden Lawyers; Daniel de Vries, Blue Shadow Group; Paul Gunther, The Helensvale Group; Travis Ireland, Corporate Challenge; Abbey-Lea Dalgleish, Runway Express Couriers; Roy Hall, Hall Finance and Insurance Group; Jimmy Black, Wild Earth; Sebastian Karsas, Proof Engineers; Joshua Baxter, Floorwex; Shanan Harmelin, Glass Dining and Lounge Bar; Mark Teis, Retail One Shopfitting; Michelle Carr, Small Business Evolution; Richard Nyholt, Nyholt Constructions; Shane Evans, Finesse Property; Jason Ganis, Smartprint Fleet Management; Luke Halliday and AJ Williams, Mercury IT; Greg Ellis, Nimble; Dan Carpenter, Dan The Sparky Man; Brad Beer, Back In Motion Health Group; Scott Jones, IT Leaders; Darren Hawes, Web Design Magic; Nicholas Sinclair, Wealthfarm; Francis Populin, C-Cure Systems; Simon Darraugh, Xcite Audio Visual; Nicholas Pearce, Blackboard Coffee; Cecilia Kauhanen and Eugene Arendsen, On Track Drift; Christopher Audley, Second Nature Asia Pacific; Nathan Helberg, The Zuu.

Read their secrets of success in the special annual edition of Gold Coast Business News – out soon at a newsagent near you.

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