Telstra have announced the ACT winners of their small business awards in 2011.
(Drum roll please)
And the winners are:
Telstra ACT Business of the Year
The story of real estate agency Luton Properties has been one of continued growth since it began in Manuka in 1999. From one office with five staff, it now has 80 staff offering residential sales and property management services in seven offices across each of Canberra’s established town centres. Director Richard Luton said he plans to expand into an eighth centre and then to open a regional office in NSW. Operating in a market of intense competition dominated by national chains and up against almost 200 licensed ACT real estate agents, Luton Properties deliberately adopted a market penetration strategy of opening local offices. Richard said Luton Properties’ success is based on an ethical approach, innovation and outstanding customer service. It also emphasises a client-for-life philosophy and invests heavily in staff development, placing high importance on internal company communications and being early adopters of the latest technologies.
Business Owner Micro-Business Award
With Australia’s emphasis on skills development, Canberra-based Learning Options is a registered training organisation experiencing rapid growth. It offers more than 40 nationally accredited qualifications to local industry, employers and individuals in government, management, business administration, leadership and project management. Established by Karen Nicholas in 2002, Learning Options awards qualifications to up to 200 students a year. Many students have not been in classrooms for years, according to Karen who was honoured in 2010 by receiving an ACT training excellence award. Learning Options’ growth in the past two years has been underpinned by its participation in the joint Commonwealth-ACT Productivity Places Program – it was awarded 14 per cent share in a recent funding round for the industry skills development program. Starting as a home-based business, Learning Options is now located in Manuka where it has concentrated on embedding online learning technologies into its training strategies.
MYOB Small Business Award
Interaction Consulting Group
Interaction Consulting Group is a management consulting firm specialising in training, facilitation and coaching services. Growing from a home office in 1994 to a company with 12 permanent staff, Interaction helps organisations to build the capacity of their people and their business. It offers team building, development programs, individual coaching, business planning and strategic advice to 36 client organisations. Managing Director Lesley Richards said Interaction’s success is due to the tailored approach it offers clients and the significant senior public sector experience and knowledge of its consultants. When a change of government in Canberra affected spending on learning and development activities, Interaction branched out to seek clients in state and local governments. Interaction’s milestone achievements include winning contracts with whole-of-government panels in the Australian Public Service and the ACT, SA and Queensland governments. Interaction is managing its growth incrementally and recruiting more consultants in mid 2011.
Panasonic Australia Medium Business Award
AMP Innovation Award
Lucy Media has succeeded in harnessing the skills and knowledge of its user base to contribute content to its entertainment-based websites. The business, founded by Managing Director Alexander Mair in 2006, developed a web based content management system that integrates social editorial and social networking platforms with a statistical database. This low-cost system for syndicating and sharing media-rich content supports open access and allows interaction and collaboration between editors, contributors and readers. Alexander said this paved the way for another key innovation – creating a motivating, merit-based system that grants points for user contributions and awards extra publishing privileges and status. The Fyshwick based business, a 2010 ACT Export Award winner, was among the first to introduce galleries of user uploaded photographs, resulting in a threefold increase in hits to its websites. Lucy Media continues to benefit from its custom built content management system, which it developed to achieve the flexibility and sophistication required for its business.
Yellow Pages Social Responsibility Award
PCA People Pty Ltd
When Allison Guy-Ritchie became director of her father’s company in 2007, she wanted to continue his goal of encouraging a sense of community spirit. She also wanted to demonstrate a commitment to her workforce and invest in their health and wellbeing. . PCA People, a boutique recruitment company, is now environmentally accredited through the GreenBizCheck environmental program – one of the first companies in Australia to gain this accreditation. Emissions are offset through GreenFleet which plants a variety of native trees in forests in an effort to reduce salinity and soil erosion and provide essential habitat for native wildlife. PCA People has implemented a staff wellness program which includes a monthly health and wellbeing activity that is determined in consultation with employees and management. The business also provides annual sponsorship and support to not-for-profit organisations and events such as Circus Quirkis, Mix 106.3 Special Children’s Christmas Party,