It is no secret that the Gold Coast is one of the best places to do business in Australia.
Sure, the surf, sand, and impeccable weather make every day feel like paradise, but the city's young entrepreneurs are proving the place is more than just a tourist destination.
Tonight, the cream of the crop of the Gold Coast's young business community will be celebrated at the 2019 Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur Awards.
Now in its 11th year, the Young Entrepreneur Awards seek to uncover the future business leaders of Australia. Take for example last year's winner of the highest accolade - Tomas Steenackers.
As founder of listed National Veterinary Care (ASX: NVL), Steenackers has built one of the largest vet services businesses in the country. Since winning the award he has helped lift the company's national footprint to more than 100 clinics in addition to ongoing expansion in New Zealand.
More than 300 people will gather at QT Gold Coast this evening to find out who will be the next Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
The Awards have received more than 100 nominations from entrepreneurs who collectively turn over hundreds of million dollars a year and have created over 3,000 jobs on the Gold Coast and around the country.
City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate describes the 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 Entrepreneur Awards as they are an important driver in keeping our city Way Ahead," he says.
"I think it is wonderful to encourage innovation and recognise those who exemplify the wonderful entrepreneurial flair that makes Gold Coast Australia's home of small business
"I am delighted that our younger generations are eager to accept risk and create opportunity by demonstrating the have-a-go spirit that I believe is quintessentially Gold Coast."
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.
The event's founder Camilla Jansen says that it takes a lot of effort on behalf of each finalist to make it to these awards, which should be recognised.
"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," 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."
There are 19 awards in total, including the prestigious Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Trailblazer Award.
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