Business Basics

Meet the National Finalists for the 2018 Telstra Business Awards

- September 14, 2018 8 MIN READ

Now in their 26th year, the Telstra Business Awards shine a light on the businesses that make our nation thrive. Driven by passion, ingenuity and hard work these businesses are setting the benchmark for products and service around the nation.

Telstra Business Awards Ambassador, Vicki Brady, said the State and Territory winners of the 2018 Telstra Business Awards demonstrated excellence across six key judging criteria, underpinned by a commitment to innovation and technology.

“The winners of the 2018 Telstra New South Wales Business Awards are shining examples of businesses doing great things in new and effective ways for their customers. They are genuine innovators, always on the lookout for ways to leverage technology to connect with customers, unlock new markets and take their business to the next level,” she said.

The National winners of the 2018 Telstra Business Awards will be announced on Thursday 20 September, in Melbourne.

In the meantime, you can have your say on your favourite small and medium businesses, charity and social enterprise by casting your vote in the people’s choice award.

Vote now.

Meet the finalists.

Active Truth

2018 Telstra Queensland Emerging & Energised Award winner

Active Truth is an online activewear company that caters to, and celebrates, all women regardless of their shape, size or stage of life. Its high quality, fashion-forward range is available in sizes XS to 3XL, including maternity styles.

Stevie Angel and Nadia Tucker were inspired to launch the label after having babies, as they discovered that buying new activewear for their changed bodies was a challenge.

The duo conceived the business as a size-inclusive label because they believed that women who wore size 16 and over were underserved by the activewear market, and should have access to the same quality and styles available in standard sizes.

Active Truth’s tights quickly became a favourite for thousands of women across Australia and received rave reviews from high profile names including Mia Freedman, Zoe Foster Blake and Sophie Cachia.

Be Fit Food

2018 Telstra Victorian Business of the Year

Combining their weight loss industry expertise, bariatric surgeon Mr Geoffrey Draper and Kate Save, a dietitian, exercise physiologist and diabetes educator, created Be Fit Food as a food-based tool that could remedy chronic disease and enhance long-term health.

Convinced that there was a better way than referring weight loss clients to the usual bars and shakes diets, Geoff and Kate decided to set people up for long-term success with scientifically formulated home-delivered meals that contain no added sugar, are low in salt and include plenty of vegetables.

The meals strike the right balance of macro and micronutrients for effective treatment of chronic illnesses, and promote weight loss.


2018 Telstra Queensland Small & Succeeding Award winner

CartonCloud was originally developed to save a refrigerated transport and warehousing company from bankruptcy. After acquiring the company, Vincent Fletcher and Nic Comrie identified the key issues it faced were due to major revenue leakage from poor administration and operation costs.

As a trained software engineer, Vincent began developing a transport and warehouse management system. CartonCloud was designed specifically with automation in mind, leveraging the advantages of cloud computing for ease of access, and mobile phones for inexpensive electronic proof-of-deliveries capture.

CartonCloud is now in use by over 90 carriers and warehouses across Australia and New Zealand. CartonCloud processes over 200,000 jobs, and invoices over $10 million dollars of freight each month.

Find Your Feet Australia

2018 Telstra Tasmanian Small & Succeeding Award winner

Find Your Feet Australia is a multi-faceted independent company that is devoted to providing an exceptional retail experience and quality education to inspire the community to enjoy an outdoors lifestyle and ‘find their feet’.

Founded by former elite athlete, Hanny Allston, the brand combines a multi-channel approach with a 4-level store in Hobart, an e-commerce website, a tour arm with holiday experiences for trail runners and an educational and coaching service including a podcast and running resources.

The success of this approach is evident: the retail arm now has 8600 email addresses in its national database, the education arm has had over 40,000 listens in 12 months for its podcast, and the business has delivered 25 tours to 5 countries, with a total of 200 guests to date.

Flora & Fauna

2018 Telstra NSW Small & Succeeding Award winner

In 2014, Flora & Fauna founder and passionate vegan Julie Mathers started her business with one clear mission: to be the most ethical retailer possible with the best customer service. Today, the online store sells over 4,500 products across organic and vegan skin care, make-up, body, home and lifestyle ranges.

A Certified BCorp business, Flora & Fauna is out to change the way people shop by only offering products that are vegan, ethically sourced and cruelty-free. Driven by a desire to protect the environment, Flora & Fauna aims to be a zero-waste business and sources many sustainable products that are either plastic-free, biodegradable or eco-friendly.

Julie hopes that creating a demand from the ground up will inspire other brands and retailers to change the way they operate to be more conscious.

Happy Way

2018 Telstra South Australian Business of the Year

Working as a personal trainer for over 15 years, Hien Nguyen would have many of his female clients asking for suggestions of protein powders as most formulas were designed for male bodies. After months of researching and gathering data, Hien and his co-founder Ben Germein, had a break through and created Happy Way protein powder.

Happy Way protein powder is made from the highest quality of ancient and organic superfood supplements and is 100% certified organic. These nutritional products are suitable for women of all ages, and are safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding mums.

After three years in business, Happy Way now sells their products to 64 countries, with over 10% of their revenue coming from countries outside of Australia.

Manly Spirits Co.

2018 Telstra NSW Emerging & Energised Award winner

Founders and husband and wife duo, David and Vanessa Wilton were inspired by the successful Craft beer scene and the success of Australian distillers who were receiving international recognition. Manly Spirits Co produces premium Australian handcrafted gins, vodka and whiskies by the stunning surrounding marine environment of the New South Wales coastline.

The range is created using artisanal methods in the Northern Beaches distillery. The founders strive to keep things interesting by experimenting with new flavours, equipment and techniques to craft a distinctly Australian premium spirit.

In its first year of trading, Manly Spirits Co has quickly established itself, achieving wide distribution through more than 300 restaurants, bars and bottle shops, including Dan Murphy’s.

The business has exported to China, Japan and Austria and plans to access the UK and the USA markets.

Perth Cat Hospital (WA)

2018 Telstra Western Australian Emerging & Energised Award winner

During her career as a vet, Dr Martine van Boeijen realised that many cats failed to receive the same high level of care as other pets, such as dogs. Motivated to make a difference, she focused her career on feline medicine and, in 2016, opened the doors to Perth Cat Hospital.

As Perth’s first and only feline specific veterinary hospital, Perth Cat Hospital is on a mission to make a positive impact on the lives of all cats.

Everything from the waiting room to wellness programs have been specifically designed for cats. With a calmer environment and staff that are highly focused on every cat’s welfare, patients (and their owners) experience less stress, so they can heal better and recover faster.

ProActiv People Solutions

2018 Telstra South Australian Social Change Maker

ProActiv People Solutions was established in 2006 to provide a holistic approach to the provision of injury management services. The business not only returns people to work, it also restores them to the community and empowers them to be active participants in their world.

Founder Nives Matkovic was inspired by her father, who, after being injured at work, faced lots of obstacles which then impacted her family’s way of life. Believing there must be a better way, Nives set out to provide the answer.

At the heart of ProActiv is a bio-psychosocial injury management approach. This addresses all of the physical, psychosocial and social factors involved in human illness and disability to deliver a program that helps prevent incapacity and maximise recovery, health and return to work.

Purple House

2018 Telstra Western Australian Business of the Year

By incorporating western medicine and Indigenous concepts of caring and wellbeing, Purple House provides a whole new model of care for dialysis patients in remote Australian communities. The business offers an in-community service for which people would otherwise have to dislocate to regional centres , hundreds of kilometres, away from their country and homes.

Today, Purple House provides dialysis services and nurses to remote communities, with a focus on incorporating Indigenous priorities of family, country, Dreaming and compassion. The organisation has also achieved Medicare funding for dialysis performed by a nurse in a very remote community, paving the way for the rest of Australia.

With a strategic goal of getting people back to country, the business successfully helped 157 people return home to their remote communities in the last year.


2018 Telstra Victorian Emerging & Energised Award winner

Sensum provides a unique and personalised project management service to clients in the construction industry. With the business growing rapidly, they continue to expand their service offerings, including program management, prefabrication & modular construction expertise and consultant services.

Sensum’s founders believe that a sustainable approach to the design, development and construction of Australia’s public and private infrastructure are key to mitigating negative environmental impact.

Having secured a second large-scale contract Sensum have consolidated their business as a serious player in Australia’s prefabricated construction industry.


2018 Telstra ACT Social Change Maker Award winner

ThinkPlace is a strategic design consultancy specialising in designing for public good within complex systems. With a unique methodology and collaborative approach our designers willingly wade into the type of complex problems that make others throw up their hands.

It started in 2005 when former public service executive John Body saw the potential for a company that applied design thinking and a process of co-design to solve complex problems within the public, private and humanitarian sectors.

Every project ThinkPlace takes on must advance the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which include abolishing poverty, ending global hunger and tackling climate change. In short, it needs to make the world a better place.

With 60 designers across studios in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne, and a global design network spanning New Zealand, Asia, Africa and the US, ThinkPlace works all over the world, making a wide impact every day.