What are the Ethnic Business Awards?

Founded in 1988 by Joseph Assaf AO, the Ethnic Business Awards are Australia’s longest running national business awards program, celebrating diversity and multiculturalism, and the achievements of migrants, who come to Australia with a “suitcase full of dreams”; and whose creation of new jobs, wealth and ideas, have contributed to cementing the harmony of multicultural Australia. Their ingenious and enterprising characters contribute greatly to the country’s business and social landscape, and it is the goal of the Awards to celebrate their journey. In 2019 the Ethnic Business Awards Foundation became a registered not for profit charitable foundation.

Being a migrant himself, Assaf, a Lebanese born Australian, who has been dubbed the “father of multiculturalism” in Australia, launched the awards program with an aim to “recognise and reward the contributions of migrants to the Australian economy.” In 2010, the “Indigenous in Business” category was created to recognise the “descendants of those first Australians – the traditional owners of the land.” In 2013, the  Awards celebrated 25 years of honouring the success and contribution of migrants to Australia’s business and social landscape, by reconnecting with the winners and finalists of the past 24 years through a special “where are they now?” project.

Over the last 31 years, there have been in excess of 21,000 nominations resulting in 247 Finalists and 94 Winners hailing from more than 100 countries of origin and covering every state and territory in Australia. The annually held Ethnic Business Awards are televised nationally to every State and Territory across Australia, and are the country’s longest running business award on television.


Celebrating diversity, multiculturalism and migrant entrepreneurship

The Awards aim to attract high quality business entries from an incredibly diverse group of nationalities now residing in Australia from all sectors and across all industries. In hosting the Ethnic Business Awards our vision is:

  • To recognise and reward the contributions of migrants to Australian business and the economy at large.
  • To highlight the collective migrant spirit in Australia and celebrate the diversity of our nation.
  • To provide role models that encourage migrants and indigenous communities to emulate their successful business models
  • To highlight Australia as a key destination to create and sustain business across all sectors of industry, regardless of race, colour, creed, religious, economic or social differences.
  • To recognise the contribution of key government and corporate entities in supporting the migrant journey and indigenous business endeavours.
  • To create understanding and resonate national harmony by highlighting the positive aspects and impact of multicultural Australia.


Individual entries will be accepted for either of the following categories:




All entrants meeting specific criteria are eligible for the Additional Award categories presented at a date to be confirmed.


  • For the Small or Medium-Large Award categories all entrants have to be born overseas, in a country other than Australia and these entrants must be Australian citizens or hold permanent residency
  • For the Indigenous in Business Categories, all entrants must be Indigenous or Torres Strait Islanders
  • Entrants must hold and provide a registered Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Entrants must own the whole or part of the business nominated
  • Entrants must be financially transparent with due diligence reporting structures
  • Entrants must be of good name and character and must not have engaged, directly or indirectly in any conduct which in the opinion of the Ethnic Business Awards might discredit the Awards
  • Entrants must comply with all Federal and State Government legislation and regulations and all relevant industry codes of practice
  • If short-listed, entrants must agree to have their business and personal story made subject of a three minute documentary style presentation to be screened during the night of the gala presentation and subsequent broadcast to national and international television audiences



Mr Joseph Assaf AO

It gives me great pleasure to celebrate not just the amazing achievements of all our nominees, finalists and eventual winners, but also to celebrate the longest running business awards in Australia.

The success of the Awards in many ways reflects the increasing and enduring successes of both our migrant and indigenous population.

Many of the businesses that have been part of this event in the past have continued to grow, to contribute in myriad ways to the rich and vibrant fabric of Australia’s life at all levels: in business and finance, certainly, but also in so many other ways. They continue to contribute to the developing multicultural melting pot that makes Australia one of the most diverse and genuinely integrated societies in the world.

It was always our hope that the Awards would inspire further success and, I believe, that intent is again mirrored in the efforts and achievements of all the businesses that have been celebrated over the last 30 years. They have generated excitement and hope in others and have inspired others to succeed.

I am proud that the Awards have played a part in that process and I look forward to the longevity of its legacy.



Since 1988, the Ethnic Business Awards Foundation has been honoring the success of migrant contributions for decades. As Australia’s longest running business awards, the Ethnic Business Awards Foundation continues to recognise and reward the valuable and innovative contributions migrants have made to Australian business and the economy. To further its acknowledgments, the EBA Foundation added the “Indigenous in Business” category in 2010 to recognise the “descendants of those first Australians – the traditional owners of the land.” Then, in 2013, the EBA Foundation celebrated 25 years of honouring the success and contribution of migrants to Australia’s business and social landscape, by reconnecting with the winners and finalists of the past 24 years through a special “where are they now?” project. Since the beginning of the Awards journey, we have had a strong network of sponsors supporting and promoting the Awards and the tremendous achievements that they stand for.  The EBA Foundation has, over the years has been proudly supported by a multitude of corporate sponsors, including NAB, Arab Bank, Ethan Group, GCD Group, Singapore Airlines, Gulf Air, Emirates, China Southern Airlines, Virgin Australia Qatar Airways and MBF, along with various Government Departments, including the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Austrade and Centrelink. The EBA Foundation has also received enormous support from various media outlets, which have provided the awards with substantial national and international exposure. These include SBS Television,  Aurora Community Channel, El Telegraph (Arabic), The Sydney Korean Herald, Chieu Duong Vietnamese Daily, Sing Tao Daily Chinese Newspaper, Neos Kosmos (Greek) and the 1688 Chinese Newspaper Group. The EBA Foundation became a not for profit charity in 2019.