Brisbane’s leading innovators and entrepreneurs have been recognised in the annual Lord Mayor’s Business Awards which has showcased the talented leaders creating jobs and spearheading the city’s economic recovery.
At a gala event attended by more than 600 people in City Hall tonight, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner praised the calibre of entrants, finalists and winners at this year’s awards, saying many were recognised as global leaders in their field.
“These Brisbane success stories represent a broad cross section of industries, including advanced manufacturing, social enterprise, food technology and health care, and many of them have made their mark on the global stage,” Cr Schrinner said.
“As Brisbane heads towards a decade of investment that will catapult the city onto the world stage, there’s an air of optimism in Brisbane.
“Congratulations to all of the 2021 winners for their outstanding contributions to our city’s economy, and to the finalists, for their incredible involvement in making Brisbane a better place to do business.
“Your collective leadership, innovation and resilience over yet another challenging year gives me great confidence in Brisbane’s future.
Watkins Steel took out two title at this year’s awards – the ISPT Award for Investment in Brisbane and the Optus Enterprise Platinum Award.
Cr Schrinner said this family business had been operating for more than 50 years, employing locals, and investing money into our economy.
“Watkins Steel has been investing in technology, jobs and the skills development of their people and this has led to exception project results for Brisbane,” he said.
“They have adapted to changing technologies and since 2015 have invested $6 million in technologies to automate their process and crate a digital workflow that is unique to them.
“Watkins Steel shows the world-class ideas and operations that can come out of Brisbane business and I commend them on their half-century of service to the building mining and construction industries in Brisbane South East Queensland.
- Urban Utilities Award for Environmental Sustainability in Business – Helios Brewing, Yeerongpilly
- Hutchinson Builders Award for Outstanding Social Enterprise – Leap in! Australia, Brisbane
- CCIQ Award for Outstanding Small Business – Nourish’d – Petrie Terrace
- Accenture Australia Award for Product Innovation – Ellume, East Brisbane
- ANZ Award for High-Growth Business – Swyftx – Milton
- Xero Award for Outstanding Micro Business – Future Anything, Teneriffe
- HSBC Award for Excellence in International Business – Emesent, Milton
- Australia Pacific LNG Award for Business Innovation – Microba Life Science, Brisbane
- ISPT Award for Investment in Brisbane – Watkins Steel, Banyo
- Port of Brisbane Award for Young Business Person of the Year – Alex Harper, Swyftx, Milton
- The Courier-Mail Award for Business Person of the Year – Phillip Di Bella – The Coffee Commune, New Farm
- Optus Enterprise Platinum Award – Watkins Steel, Banyo
Another outstanding winner and The Courier-Mail Business Person of the Year Award is The Coffee Commune Founder, Philip Di Bella, who started from humble beginnings pulling espressos at Brisbane’s first local roastery, to becoming globally regarded as a leading entrepreneur and thought leader in the coffee industry.
Cr Schrinner said Mr Di Bella’s entrepreneurial spirit has seen him generate a wave within the coffee industry, establishing Di Bella Coffee, which has become Australia’s largest speciality coffee company.
“Phil is now focussed on supporting the growth and development of other businesses through the establishment of The Coffee Commune, where the hospitality community come together to collaborate,” he said.
“Through his coaching, mentoring, and community work, Phil is helping others meet their potential, making him most worthy of the title of Business Person of the Year.”
Among the 12 awards categories, e-commerce based pre-prepared meal delivery company Nourish’d was awarded the CCIQ Award for Outstanding Small Business.
“Small businesses is the heart of our neighbourhoods and Nourish’d is providing the nutrients to keep our communities strong and healthy,” Cr Schrinner said.
“From what started as a simple idea in 2014, the pace and growth of this business has been nothing short of incredible, with close to 900,000 meals served to over 6400 suburbs across Australia.
“Interestingly, the business’ mission is built beyond that, with a vision to have real and positive impact on the health of our communities, serving options from dairy free to paleo and everything in between, and servicing the NDIS and homecare markets.”
Named one of Australia’s 30 Under 30: Brightest young minds, Swyftx CEO and Co-Founder Alex Harper was awarded the Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd Award for Young Business Person of the Year.
As Australia’s highest rated and fastest growing digital asset exchange, Swyftx also took home the ANZ Award for High-Growth Business.
The company provides opportunities for talented Queenslanders to go into high-value tech roles including software engineering, user experience, design, cyber security engineering and account management.
Founded in 2019 and with only 11 staff at the start of last financial year, Swyftx now supports more than 320,000 customers around the country and employs more than 100 team members from its growing base in Milton.
This is the third business Alex, 27, has established since leaving Samford Valley Steiner School just nine years ago.
Cr Schrinner said Mr Harper is a passionate supporter of entrepreneurial young Queenslanders, and regularly gives advice and speaks at events and podcasts on the subject.
“I can confidently say all these award winners are contributing to creating long-lasting prosperity to the lives of our residents across Brisbane, and are an inspiration to the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs, and their products, services and innovations,” he said.
“Our city’s economic revitalisation is dependent on sectors, like those recognised tonight, which can embrace new opportunities, navigate change, and they have shown just how adaptable and resilient Brisbane’s businesses are.
“Brisbane City Council and its economic arm, Brisbane Economic Development Agency, have a clear remit to help drive business growth over the coming years as the local economy continues to recover.”
The Lord Mayor’s Business Awards are possible thanks to sponsors: Brisbane City Council, Optus, HSBC, Accenture, ANZ, Urban Utilities, Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd, Encore, Sirromet, The Courier-Mail, ISPT, CCIQ, Australia Pacific LNG, 7 News Brisbane, Xero, Hutchinson Builders, BDO, and Epicure at City Hall.