In a year when Gold Coast icons Billabong and Mantra were bought out by international investors, the scene has been set for a new crop of local business minds to forge the city's icons of the future.
And what better place to look than a gathering of youthful, creative business leaders who have built companies that not only impact the Goldie's community life but have found opportunity and success across the nation and overseas?
Tomorrow Business News Australia will be hosting nearly 350 people at the Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Gala Night 2018, which since 2008 has recognised and celebrated the accomplishments and ambitions of the city's businesspeople under 40.
The event will take place at QT Gold Coast with a start time of 6:30pm.
The awards have unearthed more than 100 nominees and produced the largest group of finalists to date, who collectively turn over $373 million a year and have created almost 3,500 jobs.
Shortly after winning the award last year, Grace Loves Lace founder Megan Ziems launched her international bohemian bridalwear range Les Deux, and she's back in the running as a finalist in 2018.
As a long-time supporter of the Young Entrepreneur Awards, and a judge of the awards itself, Dr Glen Richards knows firsthand the quality of the nominations that the initiative receives every year.
"This initiative gives nominees an exceptional chance to be seen by potential investors and potential customers," says Richards.
"This year Steve Baxter, Andrew Banks and I came onboard as investors in ISR Training, when founders and Young Entrepreneur award winners Jack Corbett and Ryan Tuckwood pitched on Shark Tank."
Richards says he is excited to see who else the Young Entrepreneur Awards will uncover this year.
City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate describes participants as the city's future as it pushes ahead to diversify the economy and create opportunities for young people to stay on the Gold Coast.
"I am proud to continue the City's support of the Young Entrepreneurs Awards as they are an important driver in keeping our city way ahead. The Awards encourage innovation, recognise those who exemplify the Gold Coast's 'have-a-go spirit', and truly reflect the wonderful entrepreneurial flair within our city," he says.
"One of my personal priorities is ensuring that the foundations are in place for businesses to have every chance of success. My focus is on delivering smart city infrastructure, a framework for long-term sustainable development and a globally connected entrepreneurial culture."
While the Gold Coast is known for its relaxed lifestyle, life's not always a beach for these entrepreneurs who work tirelessly to stay ahead of the curve or define its direction.
"Starting up a business takes a lot of grit and energy, while making it successful takes even more than that. For us at Business News Australia, we love to hear young entrepreneurs' stories and it is a privilege to share them with our readers around the country," says the event's founder Camilla Jansen.
"An awards night like this is about recognition for these hard-working forward thinkers. Those selected by our judges will receive honours, but everyone in attendance should be very proud for what they've achieved.
She says the entrepreneurs featured at the event are the ones "you will hear of in the future".
"As a business owner, I know it can be very lonely at the top sometimes, and this event gives them an opportunity to meet likeminded peers, in a relax and fun environment," she says.
"This initiative has created not only a cross-pollination of ideas but amazing business opportunities as well.
"This would not have been possible without the support from our corporate sponsors CBDRobina, Bond University, City of Gold Coast, MGI, Advance Queensland, Spruson & Ferguson, IP Partnership, Screen Offset Printing and QT."
Kane Sajdak of IT services company BITS Technology says the awards give so much exposure to other entrepreneurs.
"Being associated and exposed to those people give you so many ideas that you can take back to your own business and run with it," he says.
"Even if you don't win, the fact you are associated with the awards and the fact you have something in common with all these industry leaders and up and coming businesses, its worth its weight in gold.
"Because you are on a peer level with these people, not only do they share their ideas and their success stories and challenges, but they look to you for advice.
"It's the perfect opportunity to do business together because you're all striving for the same greatness."
There are 20 awards in total including the prestigious Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
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