Women are dramatically changing the landscape of Australian business with improvements in technology and flexible working options. These changes are helping drive opportunities for women to balance work and family.

In fact, more than a third of Australia’s small businesses are now owned by women. That’s a 46 per cent increase in the number of female business operators in the country over the past 20 years.

In recognition of Australia’s leading women innovators, we are calling for nominations for the 2019 Telstra Business Women’s Awards – a program which aims to shine a light on women who are taking their own unique approach to achieving business success.

By pushing through the glass ceiling, by embracing technology, by being incubators of new concepts and new ways to serve customers; women are bringing fresh ideas to business like never before.

As we encourage the Australian public to get behind their women in leadership, we want to reflect on some remarkable women who are continuing to break down barriers and make change for good in their respective fields.

Violet Roumeliotis, chief executive of not-for-profit Settlement Services International, won the 2017 Telstra Business Woman of the Year. Her community organisation and social business supports newcomers and other Australians to achieve their full potential.

One year on, Violet says the business has gone from strength to strength.

“Our Ignite Small Business Start-ups initiative, established in 2013 to support fledgling refugee entrepreneurs to build or expand their own small businesses, has hit a milestone – onboarding over 100 new businesses, with the help of business mentors, enterprise facilitators and volunteers from the local community, said Ms Roumeliotis.

“This program is also now being rolled out in Queensland and from September, in partnership with the Canadian Government, we will be training their NFP’s so migrants in Canada will also benefit from our innovative small business start-up model.

“I am very proud of this self-funded initiative that has now been recognised as world-leading.”

Since winning the 2017 Telstra Victorian Business Woman of the Year, Michelle Gallaher has successfully sold her start-up, The Social Science, to a US-based public company.

“This was my first and principal start-up and I’m delighted to see this milestone occur within the 3.5 years since establishment. I’m still with the company managing the Australian operations for the global group within which The Social Science now sits,” said Ms Gallaher.

Elise Apolloni is managing partner at Capital Chemist Wanniassa, having worked in pharmacies since she was 14 years old. Elise won the 2017 Telstra Australian Young Business Woman’s Award.

“We are celebrating 40 years as a community pharmacy this year and I have accepted the opportunity to become a partner in another pharmacy as a mentor partner which is very exciting,” said Ms Apollini.

“Our pharmacy continues to innovate and grow, and develop new female leaders too. I have accepted two board positions since the end of last year and I am having my first baby in December – a big year!”

There are so many incredible women in leadership positions doing extraordinary things – and these are women that deserve to be acknowledged for their hard work, courage and persistence.

Participation in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards starts with a simple nomination. Anyone can nominate – friends, family, employees, colleagues, clients, customers or even yourself. Nominees then submit a completed online entry form. Nominations are open until 8th November.

To nominate yourself or an inspiring business woman you know, visit the Telstra Business Women’s Awards nomination website.