FROM powerful techpreneurs to recruitment heavyweights, the 2016 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards delivered an exciting yet even playing field of finalists.
But it was negotiating one of the biggest buyouts in Queensland's telecommunications history that set one entrepreneur apart.
Fonebox founder Jordan Grives (pictured) was crowned 2016 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of the Year among nine category winners recognising the city's brightest business minds.
The Awards were presented at a special gala event with almost 200 guests at Victoria Park last Friday.
Grives sold Fonebox to an undisclosed NASDAQ-listed US company, believed to be J2 Global, for reportedly $30 million in October.
He launched the business-to-business phone services provider in 2008 as a plucky 18-year-old. The company now has more than 4000 clients across Australia and New Zealand and turned over almost $10 million last financial year.
Grives plans to establish his own venture capital fund, Capital J Investments, to support emerging technology businesses next year.
"Growing a business from scratch, you learn a lot along the way and the product doesn't necessarily matter as long as you're passionate," he says.
"I've learnt a lot that I can offer to budding entrepreneurs apart from just injecting cash. I want to see if it's something I can get behind and be passionate about to provide mentorship."
Now in its eighth year, the 2016 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards marked an auspicious anniversary on November 11.
Serial entrepreneur Bevan Slattery took out the top gong at the very first event, which took place on the same date back in 2009.
Slattery and business partner Steve Baxter also inked a deal to sell their internet exchange business PIPE Networks to TPG for $373 million earlier that day.
Slattery has since gone on to list three businesses on the ASX, including NEXTDC (ASX:NXT), Superloop (ASX:SUL) and Megaport (ASX:MP1).
Business News Australia managing editor Camilla Jansen says the Awards are testament to the entrepreneurial spirit driving Brisbane.
"I want to congratulate Jordan and all of the finalists for sharing their inspiring business journeys," Jansen says.
"This year was one of the most competitive yet, with a diverse range of new ideas coming to the fore and contributing to the growth of the city."
Business News Australia will reveal the 2016 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards '40 Under 40' list featuring all of the finalists this week.
The 2016 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards category winners:
YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR
Jordan Grives, Fonebox
Ben Markwell, INSELEC
Ben Bradshaw, SponsoredLinX
HOSPITALITY & TOURISM
Ben Doolan, FivePointFour
MARKETING, PR & EVENTS
Matt Holme, MyWork
Steve Scanlan, Recon Solutions
RETAIL & SERVICES
Lee Hovey & Tara-Jay Rimmer, The Van That Can
MANUFACTURING, WHOLESALE & DISTRIBUTION
Mathew Stillone, Protein Supplies Australia
Jordan Grives, Fonebox
Braden Voigt, SixPivot
Anthony Radaza, Zombie Walk Australia
The 2016 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards would not have been possible without the support of our corporate partners, Bond Business School, Telstra Business Centre Milton, HLB Mann Judd, City of Brisbane, Cullens, Valley Chamber of Commerce, Victoria Park, Advance Queensland and Blue Shadow Group.
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