25/07/2008 - 08:12

WA's best entrepreneurs revealed

25/07/2008 - 08:12


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Shipbuilding, fashion design, education and mining are the tools of trade behind this year's Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Western Region award winners.

WA's best entrepreneurs revealed

Shipbuilding, fashion design, education and mining are the tools of trade behind this year's Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Western Region award winners.

Mark Newbold of Strategic Marine, Rod Jones of Navitas Limited, Torsten Ketelsen of GMA Garnet Group and Richard Poulson and Kylie Radford of Morrison were named the region's best entrepreneurs at an awards dinner in Perth last night.

Ernst & Young Western Australia regional managing partner Jeff Dowling says the winners are talented people who have excelled at growing and sustaining market-leading businesses in the region and beyond.

"Our Western Region Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year winners highlight the achievements and innovation of our business community and show just what can be achieved with hard work, perseverance and ingenuity," says Mr Dowling.

"All together, the 17 Western Region finalists in the 2008 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year program employ 3,396 people and have combined turnover of $602 million, making a significant contribution to the WA economy."

The winners will go on to compete for the 2008 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year national award in Sydney on 27 November 2008.

Mark Newbold, Strategic Marine (Products)
Mark Newbold established Strategic Marine in 2001 with a goal to build a global shipbuilding company with manufacturing operations across the world. Seven years later he is close to achieving that dream, with the company's shipyards employing nearly 1,500 staff in Singapore, Vietnam, Mexico and Western Australia. In the past year alone Strategic Marine has had more than 125 orders worth more than US$210 million with plans to further develop the business and expand into the European market.

Rod Jones, Navitas (Services)
Rod Jones first identified an opportunity for an educational services business for international students in the mid-1990s. Thirteen years later and that idea has become reality with Navitas, Australia's largest provider of university pathway education and English language programs. Navitas teaches more than 32,000 international students each year in Australia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Zambia, Canada, United Kingdom and Indonesia with plans to expand to more countries. With an ongoing contract with the Australian Government, 25% of all new migrants to Australia participate in Navitas' language education and cultural adjustment programs.

Torsten Ketelsen, GMA Garnet Group (Technology and Emerging Industries)
Founder and Managing Director of the GMA Garnet Group Torsten Ketelsen has transformed what was a previously questionable mineral deposit with little local or international demand, into a profitable mining, processing and global distribution business. Today GMA Garnet Group supplies more than half the world's garnet abrasive materials. In true entrepreneurial style Torsten has also pioneered recycling technology and re-processing facilities to allow the products to be re-used more than five times.

Richard Poulson and Kylie Radford, Morrison (Young Entrepreneur)
The two young founders of clothing design business Morrison, Richard Poulson and Kylie Radford, had a vision for a modern store, filled with throngs of delighted customers, wearing the dynamic duo's own designs and buying exciting merchandise. That was 2002 and five years later Morrison has turned into a 'boutique' Australian made women's clothing range with five concept stores across Australia.

Jenny Allen, Youth Focus Inc (Social Entrepreneur)
Youth Focus assists young people showing early signs of suicide and depression. When Jenny Allen joined Youth Focus as CEO in 2000, money was tight, corporate and government funding was almost non-existing and the charity needed a fresh direction. In the past eight years Jenny has raised the community profile of Youth Focus, increased fundraising, increased counselling staff numbers and thus clients they can support, and expanded the charity into rural and regional areas of WA. As a result Youth Focus has supported more than 3,000 young people and 620 families across WA in the past eight years with plans to more than triple this number over the next seven years.

Gordon Martin (Champion of Entrepreneurship)
Gordon Martin has spent much of his working life in the chemical and resource industries in Coogee Chemicals, a private company where he is majority shareholder and Executive Chairman. His involvement in the public sector has been as a Director of Burswood for seven years and as a Director of United Group for eight years from its initial listing. Gordon was Chairman of the Western Australian Energy Research Alliance (WAERA) until his appointment as Chancellor of Curtin University in 2006. He has given much of his time and skills to community groups such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service where as Chairman of the Aircraft Replacement Campaign, he helped to raise $17 million. He was the inaugural Western Australian State President and a past National Vice President of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and received the Western Australian AICD 2005 Gold Medal Award in recognition of his achievements in the business and wider community, and his contributions to economic progress and corporate governance.


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