ENTREPRENEURS TAKE TOP ACCOLADES AT EXPORT AWARDS

ENTREPRENEURS TAKE TOP ACCOLADES AT EXPORT AWARDS

TWO of the Gold Coast's leading entrepreneurs have taken out accolades at the Premier of Queensland's Export Awards, recognising their achievements in a state industry worth an estimated $69 billion.

Evolve Skateboards founded by Jeff Anning (pictured) won the top prize, the Premier of Queensland's Exporter of the Year Award, while Megan Ziems' Grace Loves Lace bridal fashion business took out the Tom Burns for Women in International Business award.

In 2015, Anning was named Trailblazer of the Year at the Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur Awards for founding and growing Evolve Skateboards, which now exports to 30 countries around the world.

Ziems has also joined the Young Entrepreneur cohort as a nominee in the 2017 Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur Awards which will take place early next month.

Grace Loves Lace began in 2011 when Ziems decided to disrupt the conventional bridalwear market, introducing designs that were lacy, left-of-centre and down to earth.

Within the past six years Ziems has launched two new international showrooms, the first in California and the second in London.

Megan Ziems, founder of Grace Loves Lace

Anning and Ziems were joined by a host of winning business people including the leaders of Digga Australia, Opmantek Software and EarthCheck.

Lisa McAuley, CEO of the Export Council of Australia, says recognising innovators including Anning and Ziems is crucial to the industry.

"Acknowledging exporters is vital in building awareness of new market opportunities available to business owners," says McAuley.

"We are seeing more and more new companies that are exporting their goods and services with excellent results and now is the time to focus on how we can help build on Queensland's trade capabilities and encourage more companies to look at the global opportunities that are opening up.

"These awards acknowledge the significant achievements that exporters have made to improving the State's economic activity and boosting jobs."

In the 12 months to August, merchandise exports contributed around $69 billion to Queensland's economy, an increase of $21 billion over the same period last year.

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