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Irish Chamber

Irish Australian Business Awards Peoples Choice 2016

IACC Business Awards
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*VOTING FOR THIS CATEGORY HAS NOW CLOSED

Thank you to all our finalists for their participation and thank you for taking the time to cast your vote in the People's Choice category.  We are pleased to announce the most popular finalist on the public vote winning the Higgins Award, named after our founding President Gerry Higgins, is....... "Currency Fair"!

The National Final has now taken place and we congratulate all the winners and the finalists for participating in this year's awards and for sharing their inspirational stories of achievements.  Please take the time to watch some of these inspirational stories below and we look forward to again opening nominations for the next Irish Australian Business Awards early in 2017.

If you would be interested in coming on board as an Awards Partner for 2017, please contact us to learn more.

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Pepper Group Limited, a specialist residential mortgage and consumer lender and loan servicer of third-party loan portfolios, spanning a range of asset classes including residential mortgages, commercial mortgages, auto finance, unsecured loans and equipment finance.

Pepper Group operates in targeted market segments in Australia, Ireland, UK, South Korea, Hong Kong and China. Since entering the Irish market four years ago, Pepper has made a significant contribution to the Irish economy and in particular the local economies of Shannon and Dublin where its offices are located.  Employee numbers have more than doubled since 2012 and the workforce stands at 430 today and growing.
 

Importantly, Pepper has had a significant impact on the local economy in Shannon.  Over the last few years, Pepper has expanded its footprint at Shannon’s Westpark Business Campus providing high skilled roles in a regional area. The company has been investing in its people over this time, for example, by linking up with the Institute of Bankers to create a bespoke seven-week ‘Boot Camp’ training programme to help up-skill employees and bolster their qualifications.

Pepper has also made a substantial investment in infrastructure, including office space and state-of-the-art IT systems in the area.

In early 2016, Pepper became the first new mortgage lender to enter the Irish market since the banking crash in 2008, and the first non-bank group to offer home loans.  The growth Pepper has achieved demonstrates our success.  In 2012, as a loan administrator, Pepper had 2 major contracts and now has almost 20 contracts with a high value and harbours plans for further growth.  No other loan servicer or lender in Ireland has witnessed the same level of growth in this period.

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I, Ryan McClenaghan, am the co-founder and Director of Micron Manufacturing based in Sydney Australia. I have an extensive background in Engineering & Manufacturing, initially serving as an apprentice at Langford Lodge Engineering (RLC Group) in Country Antrim.

After arriving in Australia from Northern Ireland in 2006 and working in the industry, I identified Australia as having an older traditional manufacturing sector. I saw a gap in the market and I knew I could fill it.

Rather than viewing the changing manufacturing environment, where domestic companies were increasingly looking to engage offshore manufactures for a more affordable alternative as a threat, I saw an opportunity for a design, engineering and manufacturing solution, and adopted innovative and cutting edge manufacturing processes – implementing the latest in software and automated machine technology combination to deliver high-mix low-volume work at a speed that could not be matched by local or overseas competitors.

The success of Micron Manufacturing since its inception can be seen in our client base, which includes some of Australia’s most recognised companies, brands & government bodies, as well as in recognition in the BRW Fast Starters 2014 & 2015 top 100 list and being named a finalist in 2016 for most innovative manufacturing business & Outstanding Start-up Australia (2016 Endeavour Awards-Australian Manufacturing Technology).

I'm proud of the success of my business, and the opportunity it gives me to provide jobs to the community, and to fly the flag for Ireland in business circles with in Australia and Internationally.

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CurrencyFair has a simple vision;  “create a world of fair financial services that empower and delight people“

Founded and headquartered in Dublin in 2010 CurrencyFair developed a unique peer to peer platform that allows users to make international transfers at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. Backed by Enterprise Ireland as a high potential start up, CurrencyFair established an Australian office in 2012 to expand its operations and service the increasing Irish expat community.

CurrencyFair now employs over 100 people with its two main offices being Ireland and Australia. CurrencyFair’s growing volumes of international transfers form part of Irish export figures and along with creating highly skilled jobs has resulted in a success for Enterprise Ireland.

Key to CurrencyFair’s success has been the ability to link technologies that enable a seamless customer experience that is utilised by an ever expanding client base. This commitment to innovation has ensured we delight customers at every touch point and enables scalability.


Why we are worthy winners of the International Trader Award:

• Well established business, leading innovation in global payments, CurrencyFair is in its sixth year of delivering a highly valued product.
• Growing trade volumes that since inception have now surpassed AUD 5.5 billion.
• Our performance has improved exponentially both in customer base and export / import volumes. Our Australian customer base has increase 21,000 % since company launch in 2006.
• We are highly innovative and technology focused, being the first to bring peer to peer foreign exchange to the market place.
• We have a strong sense of community creating highly skilled jobs, supporting local sporting clubs and providing philanthropic support to groups like The Irish Australian Fund.
• We have put in place a strategy that is driven by a simple vision. Make life easier for our customers. We have used technology and innovation to develop a platform that makes what once was expensive and difficult to being cost effective and easy.

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I'm a very proud Irishman but I sum up Irish people in two buckets; those who stay at home and those who emigrate. I always had an underlying feeling that what I desired wasn't necessarily going to be there for me in Ireland.

Australia is a fantastic country and I see it as the land of opportunity in today's society. It's pushed me to be a better person in so many ways, not just professionally. My lifestyle has changed, yet I feel this has been the setting where I have been able to flourish. I see it as the perfect mixture of having the right skillsets and innate ethics built from Ireland, utilised in a country the sky literally is the limit.

I shown in my time here in Australia that I am a diverse professional, starting out originally coaching girls tennis and soccer, to working in a jewelry store before getting my first big break, working for Oxfam Australia. From thereon in, I've never looked back. Shortly after this six month role, I was employed by the PR industry body of Australia, PRIA. In this company, I worked on national conferences in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, also managing the global World PR Forum in Melbourne in 2012. Following two promotions, I then worked as the National Marketing and Communication Manager in the Sydney head office for over two years.
 


In May of 2016, I was recruited by CBS Interactive, a global digital publisher, as the Senior Product Marketing Manager for Asia Pac. I've come a long way since arriving in Australia on New Year's Eve 2011 but I've progressed in career from almost the moment I landed here.

Outside of my career progression, I've led an active life in various other ways. I've been playing semi professional soccer both in Melbourne and Sydney at State Level for the past four years.

I've also volunteer consistantly, not just in Australia, but for my entire life. I feel volunteerism is the essence of human nature and I simply couldn't imagine my life without it. My first full time professional role was with Special Olympics in Ireland and since then, I've volunteered for them, firstly in Ireland and then in Australia. I was elected the State Secretary for Special Olympics Victoria in 2012 and served on the committee until my promotion for PRIA, which led me to move to Sydney.

Last year, I co-founded the Light Ball Sydney with 15 other Irish colleagues, hosting Sydney's first black-tie charity ball supporting Pieta House (Ireland) and beyondblue (Australia) around kicking the stigma out of mental health. The event sold out with 800 attendees and raised $87,000. The event is back on this year and already it has sold out with a month to go before the event on 15 October 2016. This year's ball boasts 1,000 guests and aims to raise over $100,000.

August just gone, my partner and I launched Sydney's first infrared sauna studio, Nimbus & Co on Bondi Road.

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From humble beginnings, Olive Group has rapidly grown into an award-winning, international digital media provider of bespoke eLearning and communications content. Starting from a single office in Dublin, under the name of Olive Safety, that branch grew exponentially as it opened its doors to the Workplace Health and Safety training industry back in 2008.

The business was focused on face-to-face safety training for the oil, gas and petroleum sector - but we wanted to take that training further. We wanted to offer our clients true innovative solutions to help them cut back on training costs and downtime. We wanted to offer them something unique that no other company was providing. We were witnessing a massive shift towards explainer videos and eLearning in the workplace, so we came up with the idea of video-rich, highly interactive, streamlined online training.


In 2009, Olive Safety branched into Olive Learning and Olive Media in order to create unique eLearning and digital media content for our rapidly increasing clientbase. We provided a solution for them to significantly reduce the amount of downtime and travel expenses for their companies, especially those with staff spread across broad geographic areas.

While other eLearning companies were simply creating PowerPoint slides and calling it eLearning, we hired our own in-house film and video editing crew. We visited client sites to capture actual workers doing live tasks in real environments. From a training perspective, it was the next best thing to being there in person.

Olive Group has since grown into a highly talented team of over 180 employees with offices in Dublin, London, Brisbane, Dubai, Doha, Washington DC and Berlin. We now service the Hospitality & Catering, Retail, Health & Aged Care, Construction, Rail, Aviation, and Tertiary Service industries.

To facilitate our growth, we have also established production offices in Kathmandu (Nepal) and Kerala (India).

By leveraging off our unique training heritage and providing exceptional service to our many international clients, we aim to expand our capabilities and become a renowned digital media company with strong presence across all corners of the globe.

We consider ourselves worthy winners of this prestigious Irish Australian Business Award because our international growth strategy has been proven successful by the results of our outstanding levels of sales and clientele growth since we first expanded the business.

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Surety IT is one of the leading IT service providers in Australia focused on the SME market in Brisbane. We focus on providing tailored, pro-active IT support to multiple verticals including finance, manufacturing and professional services. For us it’s all about ‘Creating Confidence’ in everything we do.

We want to be the one number for our customers to call when it comes to technology but we also don’t try and be all things to all people. So if we get a customer enquiry through in something we don’t specialise we refer our customer to one of our trusted partners. In other words we know what we are excellent at and what we can deliver superbly and we focus on that. We want to be the best at what we do and that shows through in the quality of solutions we deliver.We don’t try and build complementary services ourselves we partner with class leading solution providers and vendors to provide businesses with these first class additional services including IaaS, BaaS, DRaaS as well as hosted anti-virus and anti-spam plus cost competitive data connections.
 

We are not marketers or sales people; we are technical people that recognise that there are many businesses that require an IT company that gives them honest advice and best value. We know if we can consistently produce high quality work and keep our customers delighted, then we will continue to win more business.  We’ve been making huge strides over the past number of years in terms of our customer base but also the quality of work that we provide for customers and it would be great to get recognised for that.

Our managed services part has grown by 52% over the past 12 months as well as our total business growing by 34%. We are retaining our existing customers as well as attracting new customers and through our monthly newsletters we’re providing the SMB community with the ability to ask the right questions from their technology provider as well as getting them to think about their IT and change their thinking from regarding it as an expense to regarding it as an investment.

We've also put huge emphasis on providing valuable information to businesses around cybersecurity, not only technical solutions but also practical steps around processes and education and awareness of their own staff. We’ve presented for the CEO Institute, AIM and the Governance Institute.

We have had several big successes in Managed Services and reputation building projects. We've done some great work in regional Queensland where we've helped a number of growing businesses with the unique challenges that their location presents.

We’ve also managed to turn our business around from a substantial loss four years ago to a continued profit for the last 2 years.

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Whilst property and construction industries have struggled with diversity in the past, JLL has empowered a strong dynamic female dominated team to lead the engineering and operations department of one of its biggest commercial assets in Australia. As a key member of this team, I am closely engaged with both the operations and project aspect of Rialto’s redevelopment. As the property undergoes $200million regeneration, the projects I develop and manage on behalf of the client are crucial to the building’s revitalisation as it approaches its thirty year anniversary.

My skill set of project management, forma architectural training and experience with building operations was recognised and acknowledged by the owners of Rialto and the senior management of JLL that I was promoted from Operations Manager to the position of Fit-Out Manager within a year of joining the team.
 


As Fit-Out Manager, I can provide experience to the client on many facets of the properties activities. I have solid knowledge and experience in design, operation, maintenance, compliance and risk gives me an advantage over a team of individuals charged with delivering separate components. I can deliver projects and upgrade with greater efficiency than team, each with individual responsibilities.

I believe that I am a worthy recipient the Irish Australian Young Professional Award as I am strong representative of my company’s values – a premium asset player for a premium asset group.

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I believe that I’m a worthy winner of an Irish Australian Business award because I’m a true representation of modern Ireland who has immigrated to Australia, found employment and excelled in my career.

Having left Dublin Ireland at the height of the recession, I came to Australia in February of 2011 and quickly gained employment. I had been tasked to take an established Engineering firm, LCI, to the next level of innovation with technological advances.
 


I believe that throughout my 5 - 6 year career at LCI, I have achieved my goals to date and have set a new level of expectation by both stakeholders within the company and by our ever expanding range of clients. Since my employment we have gained new clients and retained our previous clients due to the high standards which I introduced and adaptations of new level innovation in technology which are clients are becoming accustomed to from LCI. 

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Damien, having survived the worst of what the Global Financial Crash had to throw at Ireland during one of the worst recessions in living memory, decided that he needed a new challenge. In June 2014, he left his successful career with one of the largest Engineering Consultancy firms in the world Mott MacDonald, to join an Irish start-up company on the other side of the world in Victoria. Damien is currently working as the Commercial Manager for Global Rail Australia, an Engineering and Construction company specialising in rail and telecommunications infrastructure.

As an Irish company setting-up in Australia in 2012, Damien has overseen and been instrumental in the rapid growth of the company, during his tenure, revenue has increased from $3m in 2014 to over $8m in 2015. Damien has been key to winning and securing new work for the company by bringing a professionalism and keen commercial edge to the company’s business development approach. Damien’s commercial experience, which he gained on a wide variety of projects in a number of diverse markets including Ireland, the UK and main land Europe has been invaluable. He also brings a unique perspective to contracting, having worked on client design and commercial teams, he has an in-depth understanding of client requirements and potential issues.
 


Global Rail Australia competes in an extremely challenging market with organisations that are well established and have significant resources at their disposal. Our proven ability to deliver to the highest standards in safety and quality whilst also providing cost effective solutions, has been well received by our clients and will hopefully lay the groundwork for establishing long term partnerships with our various clients and for creating a sustainable business for the future.

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EHS Assess is an Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) risk management company, specialising in the areas of occupational hygiene, technical OHS, building science and indoor environmental ecology.

EHS Assess was founded by Managing Director and Certified Occupational Hygienist (COH) Mr. Brian Murphy having gained over 10 years national and international experience as an occupational hygienist.

Within our first financial year in operation we have had great achievements with a team of three full time and one part-time employees.  We have a simple business model of bringing like minded people together that are passionate about what we do. This is evident in our values and work ethic. We deliver a quality service that is practical and solutions focused, providing real value to our clients.
 


As risk management professionals and a small start up business we have identified many of our threats and put in place measures to mitigate these. Our vision, goals, plans and hard work to achieve these have been executed flawlessly. However though the last 12 months we have remained flexible and have adapted these plans as required.

Being selected as a finalist or ultimately a winner of this prestigious award would be great recognition to our team that our hard work to date has been worth it and that we are striving to be the best business we can be. Accolades of this nature are not easily earned and if successful we would leverage from the confidence boast this would provide us, but also to assist, mentor and guide other Irish/Australian start up businesses that have or thinking about taken the plunge to "give it a crack".

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