Who won at the Telstra Business Awards?

Alexander Houseman and the team from Over the Moo won the Telstra new business award

The winners of the Telstra Business Awards have been announced. Businesses from around Australia were vying for the top honour and GenWise Health from South Australia has been announced as the Telstra Business of the Year. This online clinic platform enables GPs to save time, improve efficiencies and connect directly with their medical community.

Celebrating their 25th year, the Telstra Business Awards showcase the achievements and entrepreneurial spirit of Australia’s best small and medium businesses (SMBs) and more recently charities. This year, MS Australia, a charity at the forefront of international research into MS which is one of the world’s most debilitating illnesses has been named the 2017 Telstra Charity of the Year.

Telstra Group Executive, Consumer and Small Business and Awards Ambassador Kevin Russell said “The winners of the 2017 Telstra Business Awards demonstrate what it takes to become ‘that’ business – a leader in their field, a name that is trusted and admired and an organisation that inspires others.”

State and territory winners of the 2017 Telstra Business Awards gathered at the 2017 Telstra Australian Business Awards in Sydney on Friday 25 August 2017, where the national category winners and the overall Business of the Year WAS announced.

If you know a business that deserves recognition, nominate it now for the 2018 Telstra Business Awards, https://www.telstrabusinessawards.com/nominate

Check out some of the amazing finalists and winners below.

1. Love to Dream: 2017 Telstra Small Business Award NATIONAL WINNER

When Hana-Lia Krawchuk gave birth to her first child, Elijah, his reluctance to sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time quickly began to take its toll on family life. Sleep-deprived and subject to Elijah’s continuous crying, Hana-Lia started to question the failsafe swaddling technique she had been taught by midwives, which was proving ineffective in soothing Elijah to sleep. Believing there was a safer and more effective way to swaddle babies, Hana-Lia developed a line of garments that would allow babies to sleep safely, soundly and more comfortably, whilst allowing them to have access to their hands for self-soothing. The result has been a true sleep revolution, with Love To Dream’s shaped swaddles, sleep suits and sleep bags now among the most successful items in Australia’s infant products industry.

2. Over The Moo: 2017 Telstra New Business Award NATIONAL WINNER

As a lactose intolerant ice cream lover, Alexander Houseman struggled to find ice cream that ticked the boxes of catering for his requirements while also being reasonably priced, creamy and just a little bit indulgent. Seeing the huge growth of the dairy-free milk category, he took inspiration from the Asian desserts of his childhood and created dairy-free ice cream out of coconut milk. Over The Moo was born. Since inception two years ago, Over The Moo has grown its distribution network to comprise more than 400 independent supermarkets and over 500 Woolworth stores. Alexander says this exceptional growth is testament to their investment in developing an engaging brand, competitive pricing structure and products with bucketloads of flavour.`


3. Showkidz Management: 2017 Telstra VIC Micro Business Award

As a young performer from a minority background, Terri Svoronos was frustrated at being typecast in roles because of her Greek heritage, not necessarily selected for her talent. With the goal to break down barriers of the entertainment casting culture, Terri successfully started and ran numerous entertainment companies culminating in Showkidz, a talent agency that supplies diverse children’s talent to industry. Showkidz goes against the grain by providing opportunities, education and development for talent from all backgrounds to participate in TV, film, fashion, theatre and musicals. With an enormous emphasis on the development of young talent, the agency also provides skills workshops and audition preparation sessions, as well as chaperone services for kids on set. Showkidz is the preferred supplier of child talent for a number of local and US-based companies when filming in Australia – a testament to their professionalism and success.

4. Sleepbus: 2017 Telstra VIC Charity Award

In 2015, while forging a successful career in the corporate world, a chance encounter with a homeless man changed Simon Rowe’s life. Using his 20-plus years of business experience, Simon set about developing a simple solution with a mission: to bring safe overnight accommodation to people sleeping rough in Australia. Founded in 2016, sleepbus is the world’s first charity converting old buses into temporary overnight accommodation for homeless people. It took just eight weeks of crowdfunding on GoFundMe to raise the $100,000 needed to begin building the very first sleepbus, which features 22 sleep pods, two toilets, personal lockers, pet pods for companion animals, overnight security person and monitored security system.With the first sleepbus completed, the charity’s goal is to build 319 buses, which would provide more than two million safe sleeps per year for an operational cost of only $20 per sleep.

5. Great Southern Distilling Co: 2017 Telstra WA Business of the Year

Growing up in a small town in WA, Cameron Syme enjoyed hearing stories of distant relatives in Scotland who reportedly gave up the whereabouts of their illegal distillery to use the reward money to start a new one. Whether it was the romance of those stories or simply a love of whisky that planted the idea of starting his own distillery, more than a decade on, Cameron opened craft distilling company, Great Southern Distilling Company, home of the Limeburners whisky. A craft distilling company of premium quality spirits, Limeburners now operates out of three iconic locations in Albany, Porongurup and Margaret River. With a number of major awards to its name, including two time Champion Australian Whisky at The Australian Distilled Spirits Awards, and the USA’s Distilling Institute’s 2017 Best International Craft Whisky in the World, Limeburners is proving the little guys can compete with the major, established spirit houses.

6. Kid Sense Child Development: 2017 Telstra SA Small Business Award

Whilst gaining specialist paediatric training in the US in the 90s, Joanna Buttfield started thinking about bringing America’s unique professional paediatric experiences, training and observations back to Australia. Kid Sense Child Development was born in 1998 and has since become one of South Australia’s primary private providers of centre-based paediatric occupational therapy and speech pathology services. Supporting children with disabilities and developmental challenges, Kid Sense’s paediatric team helps children to overcome the physical, linguistic and learning frustrations that can otherwise prevent them from functioning optimally, independently and confidently in a peer setting. But the organisation’s offering stretches beyond its physical facilities, with the team acting as a source of continued emotional support for the family members of its young clients.

7. Northern Territory Vet Services: 2017 Telstra NT Small Business Award

Northern Territory Veterinary Services provides animal care across the Northern Territory, with two full-service practices located in Katherine and Alice Springs. Treating the likes of cattle, horses, buffalo, pigs and native wildlife alongside domestic animals, the team has established the first ever state-wide programme for providing care to animals in remote indigenous communities throughout NT and WA. And it’s no mean feat – a round trip can entail two staff members spending two weeks and 2,000 kilometres travelling in a 4WD to treat patients that may not otherwise receive any veterinary attention. Northern Territory Veterinary Services also provide online video consultations for communities and stations when veterinary care is urgent but distance is an issue.

8. House of Dance Tasmania: 2017 Telstra TAS Micro Business Award

As an ambitious young dancer, Michelle Williams had to leave home to get the training she needed to perform professionally. Some years later, after a successful performing arts career, she returned to Tasmania with the mission to bring opportunities to aspiring dancers in her home state. In 2000, the enthusiastic 25-year-old opened the doors to House of Dance Tasmania. What started as a one-woman show in a local hall in Hobart quickly expanded to meet demand and changing market needs. Today, in addition to its original dance program, House of Dance offers Elite Squad, a training program for dedicated dancers; Tasmanian Youth Classical Ballet Company for serious ballet students; and Angelina Ballerina Academy, which is currently the largest preschool program of its kind in Tasmania.

9. Hancock Creative: 2017 Telstra WA Micro Business Award

Director, Alecia Hancock, believes telling stories can change the world. However, in a world where everyone is shouting to be heard, it can be difficult for cause organisations to cut through. Hancock Creative’s range of training solutions focus on storytelling and digital marketing for cause-related organisations, helping them grow awareness, raise funds, attract employees and volunteers, and build impactful partnerships _ all on limited budgets. Through accessible, fun and affordable training, its goal is to create a sustainable future for social enterprises, community groups and not-for-profits. Hancock wants to impact millions of lives by building a solid foundation for causes in Australia.

10. Dex: 2017 Telstra ACT New Business Award

Anaesthetist, Dr David Reiner, recognised that patients in hospital waiting to undergo surgery were ‘hangry’, which means being both hungry and angry at the same time. Patients were arriving to the operating theatre with headaches, nausea, lethargy, anxiety and they were thirsty. In collaboration with his wife Anna who is a food technologist they set out to find a solution. The solution found was Dex. A calorie-dense complex carbohydrate drink that empties rapidly from the stomach. Dex is safe to drink before surgery and minimises all the issues that are associated with starving. Dex is the only Australian made pre-operative carbohydrate drink. Dex improves the entire hospital experience for patients. Patients are comfortable during the hours preceding surgery, veins are more easily accessed avoiding repeated needles, recovery is improved as Dex puts the patient’s metabolism into an anabolic state, which helps the body heal after the trauma of surgery.

11. Family Doctors Plus: 2017 Telstra QLD Business of the Year

Disillusioned with the proliferation of the five-minute medicine approach, Dr Fiona Raciti and Dr Maria Boulton started Family Doctors Plus with the goal to empower people to optimise their health and take charge of their well-being. Community education is their number one remedy, and the family-friendly general practice holds regular events, which are proving highly popular, including puberty information sessions and school-readiness seminars. The practice has extended to offer a Corporate Doctors Plus service, helping local businesses improve the health of their staff and reduce time lost due to illness or injury. Recognising a need for on-site doctors in the aged care sector, Family Doctors Plus also recently established satellite clinics at two nursing homes.

12. Mountain Bikes Direct: 2017 Telstra QLD Micro Business Award

In the face of increasing competitive pressure from international online retailers, bike store owners, Michael Geale and Tim McCullough decided to transition their retail business to a pure-play e-commerce operation, called Mountain Bikes Direct. Making it possible for riders to buy from an Australian retailer at a globally competitive price, Mountain Bikes Direct is dedicated to countering the issues customers often face when purchasing from an overseas retailer, by stocking carefully curated products backed by local warranty support and offering next day delivery for much of Australia.In the traditionally-male mountain biking industry, the business sets itself apart by also having two female co-owners, Jen Geale and Mel McCullough, and a strong female customer base and social following.


GenWise Health from South Australia has been announced as the Telstra Business of the Year. This online clinic platform enables GPs to save time, improve efficiencies and connect directly with their medical community.

The 2017 Telstra Business Awards winners are proving that innovation, technology and the courage to take risks, enables them to become a leader in their field,” Mr Russell said. “In particular, the 2017 Telstra Australian Business of the Year, GenWise Health, is an innovative, purpose driven business, led by directors who are customer-oriented and have a palpable passion for meeting a need in a growing sector.”

GenWise Health co-founder, Dr Sebastian Rees, said the business aimed to address the challenges for GPs working in aged care. He added, “Traditionally, it is challenging for GPs to work in the aged care sector due to inherent inefficiencies. By building an online clinic platform that saves time and allows for better remuneration, we’re able to attract more GPs into this rapidly growing area of health care.”


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Cec Busby
Cec is the managing editor of KBB. She is a multimedia professional with 20 years experience as an editor on titles as diverse as SX, CULT, Better Pictures, Total Rock, MTV, fasterlouder, mynikonlife and Fantastic Living. She has extensive experience working as a news journalist covering all the issues that matter in the political, health and LGBTIQ arena. She is the Head of Content at Pinstripe Media and a recent convert to the world of small business.


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