THE CITY'S best young entrepreneurs were revealed on Friday 3 November at the 2017 Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur Awards which took place at QT Gold Coast.
This year marked the biggest ceremony to date with Gold Coast's most successful young entrepreneurs receiving awards in front of nearly 300 peers, professionals and executives.
Collectively the Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur finalists boasted a combined turnover of more than $180 million in the last financial year alone, and they have created more than 1,000 jobs.
Megan Ziems, founder of Burleigh-based bridal fashion business Grace Loves Lace, took out the highest accolade on the night the 2017 Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Her label gained international recognition when one of her gorgeous gowns was pinned on Pinterest, the mecca for brides-to-be, more than 2.5 million times, in 2016 making it the most popular wedding dress on the social media network.
The Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognises the city's most ambitious young entrepreneur who has cemented their own unique place in the business community.
The judging panel agreed that Ziems is a game-changer who has achieved stellar success and has greatly contributed to the Gold Coast's economic prosperity.
"Megan is rapidly growing a profitable global business in an on-trend, niche fast fashion space using an omni-channel approach of great digital activity," said judge Glen Richards, founder of Greencross.
Also on the judging panel, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Bond University Baden U'Ren agreed by saying "we need more businesses like Megan's a boutique niche manufacturer absolutely killing it, and destined for more."
Founder of the Young Entrepreneur Awards Camilla Jansen congratulated Megan on the achievement and said this year's line-up of talent was the most impressive to date.
"Megan is an outstanding business person and role model for other entrepreneurs on the Gold Coast, a truly deserving winner of the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award," said Jansen.
"This year was incredibly competitive and showcased a diverse range of talent, every finalist should be congratulated and proud of their achievements."
Ziems was joined by James Greig, founder of digital disruptor companies IVvy and Bloomtools, who took out the coveted Trailblazer award which recognises an entrepreneur that has achieved exponential growth and is destined for major success.
Mayor Tom Tate congratulated all finalists on the night saying, "you are the future of our city, as we work to diversify our economy and create opportunities for our young people to stay on the Gold Coast, build a business and raise a family."
City of Gold Coast is a major sponsor of the Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur Awards, and Mayor Tate said it is proud to continue to support the initiative.
"The Awards encourage innovation, recognise those who exemplify the Gold Coast's 'have-a-go spirit', and truly reflect the wonderful entrepreneurial spirit of our city," he said.
Last year's Young Entrepreneur of the Year Dwayne Martens of Amazonia again took home accolades, winning the 2017 Manufacturing, Wholesale and Distribution award.
Other winners included Tammy Hembrow who has amassed more than 7 million followers on social media and Brad Carr who sold his business Ry.com.au to UK retail giant The Hut Group for an undisclosed amount in August this year.
- Young Entrepreneur of the Year Megan Ziems, Grace Loves Lace
- Trailblazer of the Year James Greig, Ivvy / Bloomtools
- Retail & Services Brad Carr, Ry.com.au
- Hospitality & Tourism Cameron Bray, Bray Management
- Influencer Tammy Hembrow, Tammy Hembrow Fitness / Saski Collection
- Manufacturing, Wholesale & Distribution Dwayne Martens, Amazonia
- Digital Disruptor James Greig, Ivvy / Bloomtools
- Technology Kane Sajdak & Bernard Mangelsdorf, BITS Technology Group
- Fashion Design Megan Ziems, Grace Loves Lace
- Health & Fitness Leigh Wetton, EMF Fitness Centre / EMF Performance Centre
- Professional Services John Ramsden, Ramsden Lawyers
- Arts & Culture Michael Huxley, Huxley School of Makeup
- Marketing, PR & Events Fady Hanna, Flagship Digital
- Startup Renee Tocco, Loanezi
- Property & Construction Nick Ray, One Sector
- Specialised Services Jeff Stenner, 2J Electrical
- Social Entrepreneur Jack Corbett & Ryan Tuckwood, ISR Training and Recruitment
- Young Professional of the Year Paul Billing, TORFX
Business News Australia