The Australasian by

Australia’s top-performing female small business owners have been honoured during a glittering gala event held on Saturday 23 September, when the 2023 Australian Women’s Small Business Champion Awards crowned 62 of the nation’s most inspiring and influential women in small business.

Hosted by accomplished journalist and popular broadcaster, Deborah Knight, and held at the newly-built Western Sydney Conference Centre with almost 1000 guests in attendance, the National Presentation Evening Gala Event has a mounting reputation as the ‘Logies’ of small business.

The evening’s most highly-anticipated award – 2023 Australian Women’s Small Business Champion ICON – has been won by Mel Gholami of Planix Projects.

The epitome of a groundbreaking go-getter, Mel is a pioneer of Australia’s construction industry as one of the first – and still few – female founders of a project management firm that is today booming with repeat business, despite myriad challenges faced by the construction industry. Mel’s significant contribution to charitable initiatives, including causes addressing the nation’s affordable housing crisis, also heavily impacted on the judging panel’s ultimate decision to crown Mel the prestigious title of 2023 ICON.

The winners of the three other individual categories are: 2023 Small Business Champion Influential Woman: Jacine Greenwood of QLD-based, Roccoco Botanicals; 2023 Small Business Champion Entrepreneur: Pippa Hanson of VIC’s The Sports Injury Clinic; and 2023 Young Small Business Champion Entrepreneur: Erin Criticos of Moving Mountains Therapy in NSW.

In coincidental timing with the approach of NSW Small Business Month (October), 33 of this year’s Australian Women’s Small Business Champions are NSW-based; while a dozen come from Queensland, a dozen from Victoria, two from South Australia and one each from the ACT, Tasmania and Western Australia.

Spanning all capital cities as well as rural, regional and suburban towns, the vast array of featured categories makes the Australian Women’s Small Business Champion Awards arguably the most diverse awards programme in the country.

From environmentalists and Indigenous business leaders, to women working in agriculture, disability support services, IT, retail, beauty, mechanics and more, the second-annual Australian Women’s Small Business Champion Awards attracted thousands of submissions this year, and is the only national awards programme of its kind created specifically to spotlight the rapidly-rising number of successful female-led small businesses.

According to Australian Government data: of the 3.3 million small businesses operating in Australia today, more than one-third are run by women and by all accounts, that figure is soaring. Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics during 2022 shows a 46 per cent jump in women business owners during the past two decades.

“It’s high-time we better recognise the massive economic, social and cultural contributions of Australia’s female small business trailblazers,” said Steve Loe, Awards Founder and Managing Director of Precedent Productions, which coordinates the Australian Women’s Small Business Champion Awards.

“Just as the Matildas shone during this year’s World Cup, attracting the nation’s admiration and highlighting the positive contribution of women in sport, this comprehensive awards programme celebrates the outstanding calibre of our country’s female entrepreneurs and those who are inspiring future generations of leaders,’ added Mr Loe.

Entries for the 2024 programme will open before mid-next year.

For more information – including a full list of 2023 winners – visit:


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