IF comments by the judging panel are any indication, the winners of WA Business News’ 40under40 Awards will be a group of highly motivated, entrepreneurial and determined individuals, from all areas of the business community.
There will be some familiar names and some freshly unearthed talent on show at WA Business News’ gala cocktail awards event, to be held at the Western Australian Maritime Museum on Wednesday February 19.
The 13 judges had the tough task of selecting the top 40 candidates from the 130 nominations received by WA Business News. All nominees are undeniably leaders in their field of endeavour and all, of course, less than 40 years of age.
The judging panel has read, analysed and awarded points to each of the entrants, who ranged from a 17-year old small business operator to the high fliers of St Georges Terrace.
The 40 winners offer a bright outlook for the future of business in the State, according to 40under40 judge and RSM Bird Cameron managing partner, Rami Brass.
“I was very impressed with the candidates. They had come from varied fields; from media, technology, science, veterinary and accounting. They are all very talented people,” Mr Brass said.
“They are very high achievers. I’d say we are in very good hands as far as the business community is concerned.”
According to 40under40 judge Paul Tzaikos, acting executive director at the Department of Premier and Cabinet, emerging technology and innovation, the entrepreneurship found in the State’s youth was inspiring.
“The entrepreunership of the youngsters was fantastic. I read about a year 12 student who sold her jewellery to surf shops. She went in and gave the sales pitch and now they are being sold,” Mr Tzaikos said.
“What was really interesting from an industry perspective was that they [the entrants] were from across the community. It wasn’t just St Georges Terrace; it was a cross-section.
“There was a lot of women across the board and there are some fantastic regional people.
“They are the future leaders, they will be creating the next companies, the next Wesfarmers, they’ve got the fire in the belly and the youthfulness.”
According to 40under40 judge, National Australia Bank general manager, business financial services, Stuart Wright, the group of 40 is full of risk takers.
“The thing that struck me was the entrepreneurial spirit and the willingness to take a risk and do something that’s a bit out of the ordinary and do something with their professional life,” Mr Wright said.
“It made me think that those who are successful meet the challenges that are put in front of them, be it personal or circumstantial.
“You can’t wallow in the challenge. Those who want success strive to overcome them [the challenges].
Mr Brass also believes this year’s 40under40 entries can offer a degree of insight into business.
“I was always looking forward to reading the next one because there were some ideas or philosophies that were probably useful for my own everyday management,” Mr Brass said.
“I reflected on the way they had done things and compared it to what I would do.”
But while the judging process made for enlightening reading it was also difficult to define the group that would be the 2003 WA Business News 40under40 winners, according to Godfrey Pembroke Exchange Plaza practice principal Greg Devine.
“The observation I would make from this group is that it was enormously difficult to segment them and rank them,” Mr Devine said.
“I would say that the difference between the top 40 is very small.”
WA Business News will feature a full list of the winners in the next issue and in future weeks will feature stories on the 40under40 entrants.
Many of the entrants’ stories are about rising to face challenges, according to Mr Tzaikos.
“What impressed me when reading the entries was the lessons learnt from business disasters. A lot of people would say: ‘No I can’t think of one [a disaster]’ but these people outlined what had happened and showed how they had learnt from their setbacks,” Mr Tzaikos said
Mr Brass said the 40 winners were those who were most deter-mined to succeed.
“A lot of people have gone through quite a bit of hardship or have put in a lot to get through it. They have become more experienced and more talented in building a business because of it,” Mr Brass said.
“They have learnt a lesson and don’t appear bitter about it.
“I was impressed by those who built up a business from scratch or took over a family business and took it to the next level.”
Mr Devine said WA Business News’ 40under40 Awards were
a good mechanism for young achievers to tell their stories.
“It gives them the opportunity to stand up in front of their peers and tell them what they have done. 40under40 is great for that because it gives them a chance to talk about what they have done,” he said.
“There were people who didn’t make the cut that will, in a couple of years, obviously be up there doing similar things.”p The WA Business News 40under40 Awards will be held at the Western Australian Maritime Museum on Wednesday February 19. Tickets are available from WA Business News.