Indigenous in Business

2019 WINNER: Envirobank Recycling
Narelle Anderson

As a young girl, Narelle Anderson was paid $6 per week by the Australian government to attend school. It was this payment which first made her aware of her Indigenous heritage. After getting her first job at the age of 14 and leaving school at 16, Narelle’s grit and resilience saw her build a successful career in the waste and recycling industry firstly with CBD recycling services which she sold and then with Envirobank which she started in 2007 using the $2 million she made from CBD’s sale.


IPS Management Consultants
Katina Law

Raised in Derby, from Worora and Walmajarri families, Katina Law worked closely with a range of Indigenous people in the early part of her career, especially in the mining industry. Over time, Katina became acutely aware of the challenges facing Indigenous businesses trying to sustain themselves as meaningful players in the mainstream economy.



Blackrock Industries Pty Ltd
Steve Fordham

Steve Fordham is a proud 27-year-old Kamilaroi man from Muswellbrook. At the age of 13, Steven was told he was going to die due to a benign polyp found in the middle of his brain. Having survived this early scare, Steven committed to live life to the fullest, not allowing anything to hold him back, while helping those around him.



PSG Holdings
Troy Rugless

Troy Rugless and Shane Jacobs are Wiradjuri cousins born two days apart and raised like brothers. Their family story vividly encapsulates the pain and struggle typically found at the heart of the Stolen Generation era. Growing up in a family of mixed race and backgrounds wasn’t always easy, however, Troy realized the importance of family and treating those around them right.




Small Business

2019 WINNER: Pine Creek Mango Plantation Pty Ltd
Wayne Quach

Wayne Nguyen Quach officially set roots in NT, Australia in 2015. Fleeing post-war Vietnam at the tender age of 17, Wayne left all behind and emigrated to the USA as a refugee. It was in the US that Wayne set out to build a family and a better life.



Yoshinori Sakuno

In 1995, at the age of 18, Yoshinori Sakumo was flung into the air as he woke to the most terrifying magnitude 7.0 earthquake in his homeland of Japan. It was an experience that rocked his world and ignited in him a desire to do something meaningful with his life.



Global Education Academy
Dr Majeda Awawdeh

From a small village near Nazareth to the bustling suburb of Kogarah, in Sydney’s south, Dr Majeda Awawdeh left Israel for Australia at the age of 35 to pursue a Ph.D scholarship focusing on Cognitive Load Theory at The University of New South Wales.



Chin Communications
Professor Lushan Charles Qin OAM

In 1991, Charles Qin arrived in Australia with no money and no job. With a simple idea of doing something connected to China and language, he embarked on postgraduate study in translation/interpreting at Deakin University and started running private Chinese language classes.




Henry Ngai Medium to Large Business

2019 WINNER: Holdmark Property Group
Sarkis Nassif

It was a classic combination of instability, inspiration and a good old dose of the entrepreneurial spirit that saw Sarkis Nassif go from form-worker to founder of one of Australia’s largest property development groups. With the outbreak of war in his homeland of Lebanon, Sarkis left all that he knew and arrived in Australia in 1987, with ‘no money, no degree and no background in the English language’.


Accent Aluminium Windows and Doors Pty Ltd
Basir Abbass

Born in Afghanistan in 1961, Basir Abbass and his family were forced to flee their homeland following extreme pressure from the Soviet Union invasion in 1979. Arriving in Australia, Basir was immediately confronted with the hardships that come from being thrust into the unknown.



Rest Interior Group
Hashem Mahmoud

Hashem Mahmoud landed in Australia from Lebanon in the spring of 1978, leaving behind a family and country devastated by the physical, social and psychological effects of a soul-wrenching civil war. Arming himself with the timeless qualities of resilience, courage and a conviction to succeed against all odds, Hashem sustained numerous blows of adversity before his success.



Medsurge Healthcare
Kamlesh & Bharti Phulwani

When Kam and Reet Phulwani decided to leave their family and the world they knew back in India, it was the beginning of an adventure they could never have imagined. Landing at Melbourne Airport at 7 pm on 23 July 2002, they were welcomed by the reality of the challenges that lay ahead.