It has now been a year since the revelry of the 2022 Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur Awards when as the event was seemingly drawing to a close, a local founder - James Marshall of MWM Advisory - spontaneously took to the stage to give an impassioned, rousing speech challenging negative, outdated stereotypes about the city's culture and celebrating its achievements.
After what had already been an inspiring evening, spirits were lifted even higher with an electric atmosphere of camaraderie that was typical of the city's highly successful, close-knit and welcoming business community.
Now in their 16th year, these awards continue to be the place to catch the next wave of the Gold Coast's young business talent.
Last year the top prize went to Dr Anuj Gupta and Mannu Kala of Covax Australia, now KnG Group, joining an illustrious list that includes LSKD founder Jason Daniel, National Veterinary Care founder Tomas Steenackers, Grace Loves Lace founder Megan Ziems and Tammy Hembrow of Tammy Fit.
It is anyone's guess who will be crowned 2023 Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur of the Year tonight when the city's finest young business minds converge on The Star for the gala dinner event.
Despite a more challenging economic environment in 2023, this year's finalists notched a combined turnover of $244 million in FY23 and continue to employ thousands of people.
Whilst some have raised external capital and are blitzscaling or investing heavily to set the foundations for growth, the Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur Awards cohort is largely defined by its bootstrapped majority and profit margins that exceed other cities on average.
Notably, almost half (46 per cent) of the finalist companies in tonight's awards have at least one female founder - a proportion that far exceeds national averages for business ownership and leadership.
Young Entrepreneur Awards founder Camilla Jansen is excited to be able to host this iconic event again, highlighting the remarkable success of the Gold Coast's ambitious young founders who are striving forward like never before.
"I know that the road ahead will not always be easy, but what I love most about these events is the community that it builds, bringing together founders from so many different industries and stages of their journeys with such diversity of backgrounds and ideas," she says.
"Over the years entrepreneurs have been giving invaluable support to one another, and close friendships have been formed as we continue to encourage entrepreneurship as a natural career choice for the youngest in our society to believe their own ideas and capabilities to act on them.
"Congratulations to all the finalists and a massive thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate.
"We aim to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on the Gold Coast that will help to attract more talented founders and professionals, and create a more vibrant business ecosystem."
"We wouldn't be able to do this without their help," she adds.
Gold Coast Lord Mayor Tom Tate says that from start-ups to recognised global brands, the coast’s star is on the rise.
"Take just one look at the talent listed in this year’s Gold Coast Young Entrepreneurs Awards, and you know the future is bright," he says.
"Smart minds, incredible innovation and a burning desire to drive change - that’s what inspires the young leaders of today.
"As we know, the winners will go on to represent the coast at the national finals. Just being nominated is a huge honour and in my eyes, you are all winners when it comes to driving greater economic opportunities for your enterprise."
Aside from the two major awards of Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Trailblazer, the gala will span a range of sectors with 14 different award categories including:
- Digital Disruptor
- Food & Beverage
- Health & Medicine
- Hospitality & Tourism
- PR, Media & Events
- Professional Services
- Property & Construction
- Retail & Services
- Specialist Services
- Sustainability & Social Responsibility
Meet the 2023 Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur Awards finalists (in alphabetical order)
Michael Luker - Ace Health Centre
Satnaam Singh - Alchemist Academy
Will Hawkins - Appifany Australia
Sky Kolade - Association of Professional Builders
Bernard Mangelsdorf - BITS Technology Group
Michael McGovern - Black Hops Brewery
Drew Pollock & Brodon Hirst - Clarity Technology Group
Katie Jones - Country Girl Management
Parham Hamidian, Alenka Tomse, & Shawn Maftounian - D' La Rosa
Kristie Baird - Drip IV
David Lethbridge - DGE Electrical Services
Monique Jeremiah - Diversity Models
Jackson Earngey - Earng Media
Barratt Kennett - EFCOMM Sales and Marketing
Emilly Hadrill - Emilly Hadrill Hair
Courtney Scott - Empowered Living Choices
Sterling Ririnui-Sheddan & Dillon Adams - Fastway Enterprises
Dayle Filliponi - Filliponi Finance Solutions
Nova Jane - Fitcover Group
Beau London & Zac London - Frase Skin
Joel Prokic, Matthew Nikolai & Jason Smit - G1 Asset Management
James Carney, Alec Carney & Paul Carney - Gemelli Group
Diogo Giglio - Giglio Construction and Development
Sophia Rizzo - Glitter Girl
Luke Ridden - Granddad Jacks Craft Distillery
Natalie Durack - Happy Hounds Dog Walking and Pet Sitting
Lincoln De Assis Neto & Kevin Berot - Here Agency
Michael Huxley - Huxley Group
Rebecca Dickson & Rebecca Tarrant - LightLab Beauty
Diana Awad - Linked Financial Services
Stacey Hollands - Lust Minerals
Brodie Cook & Roger Cook - Lucent Globe
Mike Kellett - Macro Mike
Jared Ooi - Maco Electrics
Luke Morgan - Mayfair Marketing
James Marshall - MWM Advisory
Damien Svarcas - My Gutter Guards
Adam Jarrett & Shane Berland - Nexus Sports Nutrition
Jasminne Hirstic - NGO Training Centre
Katie Bryan - Propeller Advisory
Sam Moore - PYRA
Heidi Rein - Rawlicious Delicious
Paul Billing & Alexandra Rofe - Send Payments
Leo Plaza & Broden Johnson - Spruces
Daniel Herr - Tech Help Direct
Dayna Cooper - The Jefferson Restaurant Group
Matthew Srama - The Srama Group
Jacob Ritchie - Two Birds Social
Luke Vaughan - Vaun Group of Companies
Larni Spilsbury - Wipe Credit Clean
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