The Sydney Opera House set the stage last night for the 18th Ethnic Business Awards (EBA). His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC joined other distinguished guests at the annual Gala presentation, where immigrant business owners were recognised for their outstanding contribution to the Australian economy.
Accepting the Medium/Large Business Award, Mr Silvio Pitruzzello of Pantalica Cheese Company attributed the win to his father Sebastiano.
“The success of our business comes from the hard work and passion of my father. He came to Australia from Sicily in the 1960’s with a suitcase and a dream, and now 33 years on, the Pantalica Cheese Company is a thriving business.” Mr Pitruzzello said.
Representing an assortment of cultural backgrounds and covering a broad range of industry sectors the EBAs has welcomed over 6,000 entries since its inception. The following businesses were presented with an award:
[ Large Business Award ] Pantalica Cheese Company – received by Mr Silvio Pitruzzello.
[ Small Business Award ] kikki.K Pty Ltd – received by Ms Kristina Karlsson, Managing Director, from Sweden.
[ Initiative Award ] Skybury Coffee Pty.Ltd – received by Mr Ian MacLaughlin, Company Director, from South Africa.
[ Women in Business Award ] The Education Group – received by Ms Neda Morris, Director, from Macedonia.
Accepting the Special Initiative Award, presented by Fran Bailey MP, Minister for Small Business and Tourism, Mr Ian MacLaughlin, who set up Skybury Coffee with his wife Marion said, “Australia was a place where we thought that we could bring up our family in freedom and prosperity… but when we arrived in 1987 we were told that this used to be the lucky country. My first thought was “goodness we have missed the boat”, but I am here to tell you that this is still the lucky country”.
The Hon Fran Bailey MP later commented, "The Australian Government is proud to be associated with the Ethnic Business Awards. These Awards recognise achievements of people born outside of this country and who have come here and made a significant contribution to our country. As Small Business Minister, I congratulate all of tonight's winners and finalists on their vision and initiative at achieving this success."
Group Managing Director of Telstra Business, Deena Shiff, said Telstra's ongoing support of the Awards recognised the contribution that migrants had made to the success of many Australian businesses. “The courage and determination needed to move to another country are also essential to build and run a successful business - our winners have clearly demonstrated the characteristics needed to compete and win in a highly competitive marketplace and Telstra congratulates them on their efforts."
In a country where approximately 20 per cent of the population speak a language other than English at home the Ethnic Business Awards has grown to become a most anticipated annual event.
In his speech last night founder of the Awards and Chairman of Etcom, Mr Joseph Assaf commented on the positive impact of multiculturalism to Australian society, a strength reflected in the Ethnic Business Awards.
“In Australia, diversity is a fact of life and because of that, multiculturalism is a way of life. It is a way of life that enables Australia to harness and promote the ingenuity, vision and enterprise that characterises many of its new citizens.”
George Frazis, Executive General Manager of Business and Private Banking at the National Australia Bank (NAB), said: "NAB is as extensive as the community it serves. The myriad of services available to our clients are as broad as the backgrounds from which they come. We pride ourselves in taking the time to understand and connect with our clients. That’s one reason why we sponsor these awards, to help recognise great business."
The Awards will be televised on SBS at 1pm on Thursday, November 30 and repeated at 1pm on Saturday, December 2, 2006. They will be aired twice on Australia Network to an estimated 10.1 million homes across 41 countries, and replayed by 155 broadcasters throughout the region, seen in 200,000 hotel rooms.
Higher resolution images are available upon request
Media Releases are also available in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Greek, and Vietnamese