1st generation winner and finalists


HUSBAND and wife team Rick and Clare Ferdinands established this communications software company in 2001, following two years of research and applications development.

The Ergotel service can direct a landline call to a messaging service, copy it to email and alert a mobile via SMS.

Both Rick and Clare sit on the three-person company board, chaired by former Channel Seven executive Kevin Campbell.





MICHAEL and Claire Kessissoglou’s Healthy Life Fitness Centre was established four years ago on a personal mandate "to provide a clean, friendly and helpful club, dedicated to integrity and service to members".

The club’s client retention success has been recognised in Asia Fit magazine.

While turnover has improved each year, Michael and Claire, like all family businesses, experienced the start-up cash-flow angst.




THIS gourmet Mediterranean food import company has been owned twice by current owner and founder George Stoinis.

George established the company as an olive, cheese, oil and tinned food importer in 1972. After eight years he sold the operation and then bought it back in 1982.

George’s three children are taking over the daily management of the company, which imports $1.5 million worth of products a year to sell to small and major food outlets across Australia.




KYM and Tonya Illman have been getting their message out since 1988, winning both awards and brickbats for their distinctive marketing stunts.

Truly a family business, Kym and Tonya’s two children, both under three, are ‘employed’ as official mascots.

Messages on Hold now has 75 staff and has expanded beyond its Perth offices to operations in Malaysia and Singapore.

Turnover grew 49 per cent in the 2002-03 financial year.





OPTIMA Press has been in business for 14 years, growing from five staff and an A3 press to a 25-strong workforce and using the latest in digital print technology.

Owned and operated by the Finlay family, Osborne Park-based Optima has grown on its original mantra of product quality, customer service and investment in staff and technology.




PIERO’S has seen more than its fair share of dents and scratches since its Italian beginnings in 1972.

A move to Australia in 1986, and then a relocation from Shenton Park to West Perth, did not damage the business aspirations of Piero and his wife Jenny, who now also employ son, Simone.

In a notoriously high customer-turnover industry, Pieros grew sales by 18 per cent in 2002-03.



FOUR of Sapienza’s five employees are members of Sam Sapienza’s family.

This South Perth business is kept busy not only arranging housing, business, commercial, vehicle and equipment finance, but also sponsoring organisations such as the Sicilian Club, the Italian Club, the Perth Soccer Club and the Dennis Lillee Foundation.

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