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Have your say on Australia’s best business

Telstra Business Awards

Posted on October 31, 2019

6 min read

Here’s your chance to vote for your favourite Aussie business as part of the Telstra People’s Choice Award. Who will you pick out of these finalists?

The Telstra Business Awards are an exclusive platform that recognise Australia’s best businesses, provide expert advice and help businesses gain the credibility to unlock new opportunities.

Behind each local business are people who day-in and day-out dedicate their lives to bringing us the services that we need. They inspire us for their resilience, courage and incredible commitment to business. They deserve our support.

Café Mojo Mundaring

That’s why we have the Telstra Business Awards. For over 25 years now, we’ve been celebrating Australian small-to-medium businesses for their spirit, tenacity and originality. We not only celebrate the successful past that Aussie businesses have been through, but also give them the platform for future success.

The Awards recognise the strategy and vision of a business, as well as the people and culture, the social responsibility and financial acumen amongst other criteria. Through the People’s Choice Award, we’re giving everyone the chance to get behind some of the best local businesses and give them recognition on a national platform.


There are 32 businesses to be recognised this year in the 2019 Telstra Australian Business Awards, from a field of 21,000 nominations. These 32 businesses are all up for the Telstra People’s Choice Award:

Curve Tomorrow, a digital health technology company who works with organisations, clinicians and medical researchers to create life-changing health technology with an ambitious goal to impact the lives of one billion people;

Future Golf, a golf community that has partnered with various golf clubs to give members affordable access to courses and golf events all over Australia;

Nutricare, an innovative business that creates organic, natural adhesive-strip bandages for wounds by using the highest quality, sustainable ingredients available;

TM Insight, a specialist consultancy firm that brings together industry experience in supply chain optimisation, property advisory and project management to help businesses adapt and thrive;

Mollydooker Wines, a McLaren Vale winery making waves in the industry by bringing innovative techniques and an uncompromising commitment to providing exceptional quality wine at an affordable price;

Society Marketing Communications, an Adelaide-based specialist marketing and public relations consultancy firm founded on the promise to deliver business impact for its clients;

Physio Fit Adelaide, a physiotherapy service that helps customers with pain and injury management, and provides injury prevention seminars and workshops to local sports clubs and gyms;

Determined2, a disability service that provides underwater therapy giving participants the chance to experience movements that may otherwise be impossible;

Southern Wild Distillery, a Devonport based distillery which produces spirits, primarily gins, using locally grown and produced ingredients wherever possible;

Kingston Beach Dental, a family-owned and operated practice that provides a range of general, family and cosmetic dental services and is passionate about providing quality and caring dentistry and service with integrity;

Crusader Homes, provides clients with beautifully designed and high-quality homes at a low cost for residents mainly located in the Derwent Valley;

Bridgewater Police & Citizens Youth Club, is a not-for-profit community service organisation that provides a safe environment for youth and the community to enhance their future career and personal development;

Unios, an internationally-recognised architectural lighting company, that simplifies the entire process from design to construction, through an innovative digital platform;

Warmun Art Centre, a community-based enterprise that provides employment and cultural lessons to the public, whilst keeping the Gija culture and language alive and returning all its income to the community;

Work Metrics, a technology company that constructs highly intelligent apps and software tools to help businesses manage and engage their workforce, with an emphasis on safety;

Café Mojo Mundaring, an all-inclusive, community-supporting café that provides a co-working space and values environmentally sustainable practices;

Orbitz Elevators, experts in the supply, installation, maintenance, repair and modernisation of elevators and escalators;

STEM Punks Ventures, a provider of world-leading STEM education programs for students and teachers in primary and secondary schools with learning outcomes linked to the curriculum;

Street Science, creates a range of powerful demonstrations, workshops and stage shows with a focus on engaging and inspiring students to study the senior sciences;

Community Information Support Service, a not-for-profit online platform established to support the health and wellbeing of Australians through connecting individuals to health information and services;

Northern Trade Solutions, a multi-disciplinary subcontractor that aims to reshape the local construction industry by providing an integrated, solutions-focused, multi-trade company to all-size projects;

Dermo Direct, a dermatology clinic offering comprehensive care and on-site treatments for patients who travel from as far as Northern Western Australia and Timor-Leste for consultations;

Universal Site Monitoring, a technology company that produces Australian designed and manufactured safety monitoring devices through Internet of Things technology for industrial businesses;

Bush Medijina, an Indigenous social enterprise that creates unique products, supporting the community by harvesting bush produce and making bush remedies for sale around Australia;

Coordinate Group, a communications and marketing consultancy that provide pro-bono support to not-for-profit, start-up and community groups;

New Level Landscapes, a high-quality landscaping company that tailors projects to client requirements and use, whilst increasing the value of a property;

OzHelp Foundation, a not-for-profit mental health program provider, aiming to implement workforce wellbeing programs in Australian workplaces to reduce the number of suicides in the country;

Water Tight Canberra, a plumbing, drainage and gas-fitting company that provides high quality, interactive service with the use of digital software to keep clients up-to-date and informed;

Sonder, a visionary business that creates a global support network to address personal safety and get help by their side within 20 minutes through the dedicated app;

Shine Drink, a healthy energy drink company that aims to provide a healthy option, helping people stay mentally alert and productive;

Modibodi, a feminine hygiene underwear business that aims to deliver supportive apparel for periods, incontinence and perspiration, while having a positive social impact on humanity and environment;

Dignity, a charity that provides temporary housing and other support services including shelter, jobs and connections, for victims of domestic violence.

Street Science

Voting is now open to cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award and closes on Wednesday 20 November 2019.

The winner of the People’s Choice Award will be announced at a ceremony for the 2019 Telstra Australian Business Awards, in Melbourne on Thursday 21 November 2019.

Telstra Business Women’s Awards 2020: celebrating 25 years of progress

Telstra Business Women's Awards

Posted on September 4, 2019

4 min read

We want to celebrate women in business and thank the many who have paved the way and helped reshape the Australian business landscape for the better. That’s why the Telstra Business Women’s Awards are back for their 25th year.

25 years ago we awarded our first Telstra Business Woman of the Year to Sue Vardon for her work as South Australia’s Department of Correctional Services chief executive officer.

Sue said at the time that the award gave her the confidence, profile and credibility which helped her take the step to set up Centrelink. “It also gave me a chance to acknowledge the many others who had contributed to my success, in particular my mother,” she recalled.

“Most significantly, the awards continue to highlight women who may see themselves as ordinary by acknowledging and showing how extraordinary they are. Other women gain confidence and inspiration from hearing the stories, particularly when they see how others have persisted after hardship.

“They showcase to the larger community that success and excellence is not defined by gender and I know a lot of women are thankful for the path the Awards have helped pave,” said Sue.

Now, when you analyse women in business by the numbers, you quickly identify some key trends. Women now make up more than a third of all Australian business operators and there has been a 46 per cent increase in that number in the past two decades.

To Sue, and the many other trailblazing businesswomen, we say thank you. Thank you for giving other women a female leader to look up to; for not being deterred by the doubters; for standing up, speaking up and lifting other women up.

The progress is encouraging, but we know there remains much to do. The OECD and Australian Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PMC) recognise that women still remain underrepresented as entrepreneurs in this country. Specifically, the PMC identified this as a ‘key concern for policy’.

Corporate Australia also needs more female representation, with the number of women serving on boards at just 20.1 per cent of the ASX 200.

That’s why we want to encourage Australians to back our female leaders in business. We want to showcase and celebrate their great work and reward their tenacity in reshaping how Australia interacts with business.

We’re thrilled to mark 25 years – a quarter of a century of recognising incredible female leaders and progress.

At last year’s awards, an incredible disruptor in the field of aged care was recognised. Natasha Chadwick is the CEO of NewDirection Care at Bellmere. She took out the award in 2019 for forging her own path in a critical industry to better address the quality of aged and dementia care in this country. Natasha said after she won that the process of entering the Telstra Business Women’s Awards allowed her to articulate her mission well.

TBWA 2019 National Business Woman of the Year Award Winner - Natasha Chadwick

“I’ve got a very clear vision and goal of what we want to achieve, and we’ve always had that. Certainly, having to articulate what we want to achieve through the Telstra Business Women’s Awards process has made it even clearer. I now have the validation that we’re on the right track, and the extra encouragement to take NewDirection Care to the next level,” Natasha said at the time.

So what is the next level for NewDirection Care? Natasha says she’s using the Telstra Business Women’s Awards win to help propel her and her company to the international stage.

If you know someone like Natasha, Sue or the countless other incredible women we’ve seen enter the Telstra Business Women’s Awards over the past 25 years, now is your time to nominate for 2020. To nominate yourself or an inspiring businesswoman you know, visit the Telstra Business Women’s Awards nomination website.

2019 Telstra Business Awards finalists announced

Telstra Business Awards

Posted on July 22, 2019

3 min read

After receiving a record 21,000 nominations nationwide, we’re excited to announce the 170 finalists for the 2019 Telstra Business Awards.

Now in its 27th year, the Telstra Business Awards recognise remarkable businesses across four categories: Emerging & Energised, Small & Succeeding, Medium & Making Waves, and Social Change Maker. Overall the judges were impressed by the calibre of the 2019 finalists.

Onya Life is waging a war on plastics.

Among them is Onya Life, which has been part of the global effort to replace single-use plastics since 2004. The Western Australian business has been using recycled materials to provide high-quality, functional, and beautiful reusable products to help individuals reduce their plastic footprint.

Behaviour support for children goes mobile with Tiny Terrors psychology services.

Also a finalist is Tiny Terrors, a mobile psychology service that provides families with compassionate parenting and child behavioural support. Sydney-based psychologist and mother-of-three, Funda Yolal, teaches evidence-based professional techniques and strategies to parents who feel they’ve already tried it all.

Building better videos is at the heart of James and Simon’s digital marketing platform.

Biteable is also a finalist this year. The Tasmanian business provides a digital marketing platform that allows marketers to build videos from a library of professionally designed content. The service allows a novice user to quickly create a new video that looks as if it were made by a professional production agency.

The record number of nominations we’ve received for the program this year alone shows how dynamic the small and medium business industry is in Australia – and how supported they are by their community.

Getting to this stage of the program is an achievement in itself, whether they win or not. In particular, we found that three-quarters of last year’s state finalists saw a spike in activity or business awareness just from taking part in the program.

Babbara Women’s Centre in the NT supports artists by translating textile designs.

We’re incredibly proud to continue to support these organisations year after year. They continue to inspire us with their resilience, courage, incredible commitment, and their ability to find new solutions and ways of working, and this year’s finalists are no exception.

The finalists have been through a rigorous judging process to find the most deserving Australian businesses. They were judged across a broad range of criteria, including: strategy and vision, customers and marketing, operations, people and culture, innovation and technology, social responsibility and financial acumen.

State winners of the 2019 Telstra Business Awards will be announced at celebratory events in states and territories around the country between 5 September and 24 October. State and Territory winners will then be invited to Melbourne for the National Series, including networking events, masterclass, national judging and a national dinner celebration on Thursday 21 November.

For a full list of this year’s state finalists, please visit the Telstra Business Awards website.

Disrupting aged care for good

Business and Enterprise

Posted on May 24, 2019

5 min read

Natasha Chadwick, Telstra’s Business Woman of the Year 2019, wants to change the way the world looks at aged care.

As we age, the need for respectful and individualised care becomes paramount. But as aged care became industrialised, the needs of the individual were potentially overlooked in the pursuit of large-scale care. That’s why we founded NewDirection Care at Bellmere.

At NewDirection Care, my team and I are on a mission to flip the script on aged care for the better, and forever. Our work at Bellmere has been positive, and now we’re eager to expand our model of care internationally.

It takes a village

NewDirection Care’s philosophy is simple: rather than filling a large building with many residents to provide care, a small residential township is built to deliver care that focuses on the individual in a community setting. 17 domestic-style homes are created, which can house seven residents each. The community at NewDirection Care at Bellmere, Queensland is the first of what we call a “microtown™”.

Developed especially for the elderly and those living with younger onset dementia and complex care needs, the microtown™ community model gives back freedom to residents and is just like any small suburban town.

It has 17 homes, plenty of outdoor space, BBQ areas, a retail precinct with shops, a café, cinema, wellness centre, barbers, beauty salon and much more. Residents are encouraged to pursue hobbies and passions in the community and socialise with other residents.

Traditional aged care facilities are built around a regimented structure. Meal times, activity hours and sleeping periods are often mandated for residents in large scale care facilities. We saw an opportunity to flip this model around: instead of regimented schedules, NewDirection Care supports the autonomy of its residents.

Residents decide when they get up in the morning, when they go to bed in the evening, when they eat and when they socialise so as not to oppose personal autonomy. Use of outdoor spaces is encouraged, and freedom of movement for residents is paramount to NewDirection Care’s success as an individualised care community.

Residents are supported in their homes by personal carers called House Companions™ who provide relationship-based support and personalised care for each individual’s needs. Pets are also welcomed into the community and embraced as great companions.

Focus on the individual

The NewDirection Care model recognises that each resident is an individual with wants and needs that go beyond a simple diagnosis. The microtown™ model is built around respecting the individual and allowing them to flourish, rather than segmenting and segregating them inside a rigid, diagnosis-based structure. Residents are encouraged to lead an independent life and contribute to their community, which in turn supports them.

This focus on the individual is key to success. I believe that prioritising the needs of the individual in all of our business interactions increases the inclusivity of our business overall.

Some of my greatest mentors also prioritise the importance of the individual and I’ve had some amazing mentors in my journey. My business partner Arthur Brotherhood always championed me as a woman. Even though we were equal partners, people would come to him with questions and for answers. Instead of answering, he would always refer them back to me and honour the fact that we were partners.

From the microtown™ to the world

The theme for this year’s Telstra Business Women’s Awards program was literally about ‘undoing business’ – taking traditional mindsets and turning them upside down. Each of us has to look at our own industries, to not settle for the status quo, and instead step out of the shadows and spearhead the world that we want to see, so that present and future generations benefit from what we have to offer.

I believe that’s exactly what I’ve done with NewDirection Care. We’ve taken a traditional sector, a whole industry, and demonstrated that you can actually turn it upside down to change the way we provide aged care to people living in our communities. It can be much better than what it currently is.

I’ve got a very clear vision and goal of what we want to achieve, and we’ve always had that. Certainly, having to articulate what we want to achieve through the Telstra Business Women’s Awards process has made it even clearer. I now have the validation that we’re on the right track, and the extra encouragement to take NewDirection Care to the next level.

My role now as founder and CEO of NewDirection Care is to grow it into a national and international aged care brand. Through partnerships and licensing that ensure that NewDirection Care MicroTowns are built across Australia and around the world, allowing ageing people and those living with dementia, brain diseases or injuries both here at home and around the world to live a much better life.

I have proven with our new model of care that everyone can have a life of freedoms, not restrictions, no matter what their diagnosis. At NewDirection Care, we offer a life of equality, of respect, compassion and empathy, with every individual continuing to be a part of our communities, not shut away.

It’s so much more than a business for me – you can probably tell it’s my passion, and it’s my mission. I’m absolutely thrilled that winning this award will now shine a spotlight on my mission at NewDirection Care for radical change across the aged care industry, not only in Australia but around the world.

Introducing the 2019 Telstra Business Woman of the Year

Business and Enterprise

Posted on May 17, 2019

4 min read

The 2019 Telstra Business Woman of the Year is Natasha Chadwick, CEO of Queensland aged care facility, NewDirection Care at Bellmere. She was awarded the honour at a gala event in Sydney overnight.

I had the absolute honour of being on the judging panel and hosting the 2019 Telstra Business Awards last night, and what an incredible evening it was! Everyone was buzzing with excitement and in awe of our amazing finalists from around the country who are the best in business. 

Telstra Business Women of the Year winners are known for challenging the status quo and achieving success in business by forging their own path, and Natasha Chadwick is no different. Her tireless efforts to improve access to quality aged care for older Australians cannot be understated.

The rise in cases of dementia is a global crisis and one that touches many of us, whether in our own family or with someone we know. And Natasha has been pioneering a new approach for residents over the past seven years by creating a first-of-its-kind microtown™ residential community that brings together residents with a range of care needs and similar values and lifestyle preferences to live together.

Natasha developed her radical new take on aged care because she believed there was an opportunity to improve the traditional way of delivering care. Developed especially for those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, she pioneered the microtown™ community model that gives back freedom to residents.

This model allows residents to have control over their lives while residing in an environment that is both familiar and safe. Residents in the community are treated as individuals, and are not bound to a set schedule of meals and care. The focus of microtown is all about establishing a sense of community. 

Upon reflecting on our winner and this year’s theme of celebrating women who are ‘undoing business’, I feel whole-heartedly that this is exactly what Natasha has done. She has been challenging traditional mindsets and turning them upside down, approached a whole industry with a view to improve it and demonstrated that you can actually change the way we provide aged care for the better.

Natasha joins a renowned group of Telstra Business Women’s Awards alumni, who for years have been sharing wisdom and advice with winners to help them take their businesses or not-for-profit organisations to the next level.

TBWA 2019 - Emerging Leader Award - Genevieve Clay-Smith
TBWA 2019 – Emerging Leader Award – Genevieve Clay-Smith
TBWA 2019 - For Purpose & Social Enterprise Award - Dushyanthi Thangiah
TBWA 2019 – For Purpose & Social Enterprise Award – Dushyanthi Thangiah
TBWA 2019 - Public Sector and Academia Award - Debbie Platz
TBWA 2019 – Public Sector and Academia Award – Debbie Platz

Now in its 24th year, the Telstra Business Women’s Awards shine a light on women who have challenged the status quo, done things their own way, and achieved success in business. The program empowers Australia’s most successful women from small, medium and large businesses, for-purpose organisations and social enterprises, academia and the public sector.

TBWA 2019 - Small Business Award Winner - Jodie Silvester
TBWA 2019 – Small Business Award Winner – Jodie Silvester

The national winners were awarded following a rigorous judging process, which involved in-depth interviews with a panel of high-profile judges, including Melanie Silva, Managing Director of Google Australia & New Zealand, Stevan Premutico, Founder of Dimmi, and Tracey Spicer, journalist, author and founder of Outspoken Women.

TBWA 2019 - Noni Vassos and Mikayla Lynch
TBWA 2019 – Noni Vassos and Mikayla Lynch

The full list of the 2019 Telstra Business Women’s Awards national winners are:

  • Small Business Award: Jodie Silvester, Managing Director and Founder, KAS Accounting Solutions (WA)
  • Public Sector and Academia Award: Debbie Platz, Assistant Commissioner, Australian Federal Police (QLD)
  • For Purpose & Social Enterprise Award: Dushyanthi Thangiah, Chief Executive Officer, Yumba-Meta Housing Association (QLD)
  • Emerging Leader Award: Genevieve Clay-Smith, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bus Stop Films (NSW)
  • Business Woman of the Year Award and Medium & Large Business Award: Natasha Chadwick, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, NewDirection Care at Bellmere (QLD)

We congratulate Natasha on her win, as well as all the category winners and the nominees in this year’s national awards – all of whom are doing their utmost to make Australia and the world a better place.