7NEWS Young Achiever Awards VIC

2018 Finalists

First National Real Estate Leadership Award 

Andrew Millhouse, 26 of Windsor founded Pivot, to provide young people with skills and knowledge to navigate complex legal situations. Previously, he led COMET, addressing homelessness and the law, and was founder of Slingshot Training, a youth mental health program. Andrew was also part of a major review of the Victorian Parole System, focusing on efficiency and reducing reoffending. He has also volunteered with several national and Victorian legal non-profits.

Dr Joanna Newton, 28 of Northcote is fostering change in the Australian dairy industry’s adoption of genetic tools and technologies. An advocate for careers in STEM and agriculture, Joanna mentors students and junior scientists, inspiring their pursuit of agricultural journeys. She won the 2017 Dairy Research Foundation Symposium’s Emerging Scientists Award, and an Endeavour Research Fellowship from the Australian Government. She has spoken at international conferences and has helped move an international agricultural climate change motion. 

Jamin Heppell, 27 of Leongatha co-founded and manages the youth empowerment company HeadQuarters Australia. He is also a founding Director and head trainer of Healthy Communities Australia. Jamin has impacted the lives of over 5,500 people in the fitness industry and acquired $230,000 of start-up capital to help drive his initiatives. He delivered workshops to 1,500 students in 2016. His fitness program raised $10,000 for the four schools it is delivered in.


WFI Insurance Small Business Achiever Award

Josh Murray, 17 of Kerrie started his free-range egg business, Josh’s Rainbow Eggs at age nine. Eight years later 4,000 dozen eggs a week are stocked in Coles, Woolworths and independent supermarkets. He has spoken to thousands of customers and at schools about his eggs. Josh is publishing a book for children about his journey. He is an incredibly engaging story teller with the unique ability to inspire a generation of young entrepreneurs.

Lisa Tran, 27 of Forest Hill founded Lisa’s Study Guides, a leading senior school resource for students and teachers. Lisa and her team offer an all-encompassing approach to student studies. They create study guides, online courses and offer private tutoring. Lisa’s weekly YouTube videos have over 16,000 subscribers tuning in for study advice. Schools invite Lisa to hold workshops with their students. Lisa was named an Anthill Australia’s Young Entrepreneur 30under30.

Sam Lindsay, 29 of Cremone runs Urban Studios, delivering landscape design and construction-management services. He specialises in high-end residential, multi-unit developments and childcare. His company has developed a quoting method faster than any Australian competitor, and provides professional services to clients. Urban studios has domestic and international clients, with projects valuing up to $300,000. Sam recently opened another office in Sydney. He has been named a Young Small Business Champion Entrepreneur.

Maxwell Hertan, 28 of Armadale is founder and director of Megaphone Marketing. He is a Deloitte fast 50 winner, Telstra award finalist and runs one of Anthill’s top 100 coolest companies. The business has doubled year on year and grown to a team of fourteen. Investing in innovative marketing strategies such as giveaways, software building, e-books and digital marketing, they maintain a steady flow of leads for the business.


Saward Dawson Community Service and Social Impact Award

Eliza Li, 20 of Doncaster East founded Reach-In, an entrepreneurship experience program for girls in Melbourne’s high schools. Eliza mentors students weekly on launching start-up businesses. Reach-In also funds rural health initiatives for women in the Philippines. Eliza has volunteered extensively in social change initiatives, spanning global gender equality to rural health. Eliza volunteers over 30 hours per week while balancing delivery of Reach-In with her Biomedicine and Commerce studies.

Nikolina Mabic, 23 of Williamstown created Spare Capacity. The website and workshops aim to equip young women with holistic self-care tools to combat mental illness. Nikolina is also a graduate filmmaker who advocates for enhanced mental health awareness, prevention and treatment. She was selected into the Foundation for Young Australians Young Social Pioneers 2016 Cohort in the Youth Mental Health stream and awarded Hobsons Bay Young Citizen of the Year 2017.

Jennifer Pham, 29 of Yarraville has created an educational development program for disadvantaged students. Her program consists of memory training, study techniques, personal and development skills. Her program aims to break the cycle of poverty and inequality. She has served as an Amnesty International Ambassador and is a Vietnamese Community Association member. Jennifer is a volunteer tutor and student mentor. She is a multi-award winner and runs her own private tutoring service.

Yong Deng, 26 of Dandenong co-founded the South Sudanese Australian Youth United. The organisation provides positive guidance and pro-social engagement activities for South Sudanese-Australian young people. Yong has sought to respond to their needs through multiple initiatives. He established the Weekend Academy offering homework support, tuition and social activities. Yong was named City of Greater Dandenong, 2017 Young Leader of the Year and balances his extensive volunteering with full-time work at Monash Health.


The Coffee Club Arts and Fashion Award

Frances Cannon, 25 of Coburg is a multi-disciplinary artist whose works examines themes of contemporary women. Frances’ work has been displayed in many solo and group exhibitions. She has been featured in influential publications including Vogue, HuffPost, Daily Mail, and Frankie Magazine. Frances is a passionate advocate for LGBTQI+ rights, marriage equality and mental health awareness. She has a strong social media following and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Jessica Moody, 26 of Dingley Village co-founded Deafferent Theatre, an independent self-funded company supporting artists and audiences who are deaf or hearing impaired. Deafferent Theatre has staged two award-winning productions. Jessica was awarded the 2017 Access and Inclusion Award at the Melbourne Fringe Festival. As a Young Social Pioneer participant she received seed funding from the Lord Mayor's Charitable Fund. Deafferent Theatre has earned a prestigious in-house artist residency with the Malthouse Theatre.

Kate Nixon, 26 of Brighton has rapidly established her fashion label, Kat the Label, in the lingerie market. Her unique pieces are stocked online and in 30 other stores across Australia and New Zealand. Kate’s Instagram has grown to 26,000 followers. She has been featured in iconic publications including British Vogue, The Daily Mail and Grazia. Kate was honoured as a RMIT entrepreneur alumni in the fashion space.

Matthias Schack-Arnott, 29 of Preston is a percussive artist working in contemporary classical and experimental music. Matthias’ work has earned critical acclaim in iconic arts publications like The Guardian, The Wire and Artshub. He contributes to the percussive arts community by mentoring high school students and working with disadvantaged children. Matthias is the Artistic Associate of Speak Percussion and guest artist with leading groups like Melbourne Symphony and Malaysia Philharmonic Orchestras.


Bartercard Online Achievement Award

John Collins, 29 of Cremorne is the Co-Founder and VP of Product at Paddl Co. Paddl's web platform helps students gather and showcase experience and companies discover emerging talent. In 3 years Paddl has supported over 7000 young professionals, worked with over 600 companies in 12 countries, and now has 15 staff from 9 countries. Overseeing strategy, design, development John has grown Paddl and successfully raised $3.2M in grants and investments.

Lucy Yueting Liu, 27 of Toorak is co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Airwallex. Airwallex is an online payment company which makes international business payments simpler, faster and cheaper. Lucy has spearheaded customer-centric product development, recruitment and talent retention, investment approach and workplace culture at Airwallex. She was named in Forbes’ 30 under 30 Asia for Finance. She is a board member of Fintech Australia, which supports the Australian Fintech Startup Community.

Yuma Soerianto, 11 of St Kilda West is one of the world’s youngest and most accomplished app and game developer. He has published six apps and games on the iOS App Store. His latest game, Let's Stack AR! was featured as Game of the Day. Yuma has been coding since he was six and his skills are self-taught. Yuma teaches coding on his YouTube channel and has worked with Apple in teaching programming to children.

William Strange, 28 of Abbotsford is CEO of SPT, an award-winning sports performance technology start-up. Buyers from over 90 countries have purchased SPT technologies and the business has over 20,000 social media followers. In three years, William has grown SPT from a home-based enterprise to 13 Australian staff members and a small US team. SPT has on-boarded over $7 million funding and was named in the top 50 sports start-ups globally.


Berry Street Create Change Award

Dan Poole, 24 of Melbourne founded Crepes for Change, a non-profit youth-led social enterprise aimed at eliminating youth homelessness. They provide underprivileged young people with tangible skills and professional development opportunities. Crepes for Change has donated $37,000 to Launch Housing and recently commenced a paid employment program enabling five vulnerable young people to complete 150 hours of paid employment and training. Other initiatives include monthly outreach sessions with 300 Blanket.

Joshua Berry, 12 of Mount Eliza founded '2 Pairs Each’, a charity to tackle the greatest needs of homeless people in Victoria. Joshua’s goal is to collect 50,000 pairs of brand new socks so that each of the 23,000 homeless people in Victoria can have two pairs of socks. So far 2 Pairs Each has collected over 17,000 pairs of socks, together with 2,300 items of warm clothing and blankets.

Whitney Yip, 28 of Brunswick West co-founded Body Safety Australia, providing violence and sexual abuse prevention education to families, early education centres, and schools. They deliver evidence-based, inclusive strategies including parent and carer workshops and professional development for education staff and those working with children. Whitney spoke at the 13th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect and is a Board member of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.


The Victorian Government Group Achievement in the Community Award

Entrepreneurs Movement Club, Pakenham is a youth-led associated incorporation. The club was started by seven South Sudanese Australian young people to connect local Sudanese youth to the community and link them with further education and employment pathways. Entrepreneurs Movement Club delivers sporting events, workshops and mentoring programs and advocates for youth leadership. The incorporation is involved in several community consultations and engagement activities with the City of Greater Dandenong.

Geelong Edge Ensemble, Footscray is an emerging artists ensemble comprising eight culturally diverse young people, many of whom are refugees. The ensemble builds social and cultural inclusion through thought-provoking productions based on personal experience, including being subjected to prejudice or racial comments. Each member balances complex family, study and work commitments to dedicate many hours to writing, rehearsals and performances. Their original works build diversity in the Geelong arts scene.

Happy Brain Education, Rowville is a registered charity providing educational, social and mentoring support to disadvantaged young people. They provide heavily discounted academic tutoring and free one-on-one tutoring to refugee students. Happy Brain Education has raised $147,000 for a six-year-old boy’s heart surgery and $60,000 for a CD4 machine and health clinic in Uganda. They are currently working with UNICEF to create innovation labs in Al-Azraq refugee camp in Jordan.

MSRF Young Rural Leaders, Gooroc aims to develop leadership skills in rural Victoria’s young people. They run a six-day residential program to educate, support and connect. Participants are invited to complete coach training and become part of the leadership group. In 2017, the MSRF camp was run entirely by coaches who were past participants. MSRF has developed a network of over 300 young people committed to a thriving rural Victoria.


Royal Flying Doctor Service Victoria Regional and Rural Health Award

Amy Whitten, 24 of Echuca established BEAM, a not-for-profit organisation aiming to change the perception of people living with a disability. BEAM incorporates occupational therapy and functional movement into a movement-to-music program for vulnerable children and families from rural communities, many of whom have additional needs. Amy was invited to join the Golden Key International Honour Society, elected president of the Bendigo Occupational Therapy Student Association and actively advocates for inclusion.

Chelsea Sofra, 23 of Shepparton spearheaded development of two important mental health literacy resources aimed at school-goers. One is a ‘Stress Less’ booklet to support young people who are struggling while undergoing exams. The second is a ‘While You Wait’ resource for youth awaiting mental health services. Chelsea is a passionate volunteer at Headspace Shepparton, a program to enable young people to easily access help for problems affecting their wellbeing.

Kate Chalmers, 23 of Kinglake advocates for music, drama and the arts as drivers of enhanced wellbeing for young people. She co-founded the Steer Leadership program for youth mental health and recovery. Kate has conducted extensive outreach initiatives with secondary school students and youth councils with community events aimed at young people. She drove a collaborative project to deliver youth mental health first aid to all Kinglake teens.

Steffi Patience, 24 of Stawell has volunteered for Survivors of Suicide, a not-for-profit organisation supporting those affected by suicide and Wellbeing Wendouree, assisting disadvantaged students and their families. She organised a fundraiser to start a clothing and blanket drive; and provides extensive mentoring of disadvantaged youth. Steffi continued to volunteer even during a two-year period over which she was homeless. She is an accredited Youth Mental Health First Aider.


Academy Graphics Regional Achiever Award

Darcy McGlade, 20 of Scotts Creek actively improves the quality of life and wellbeing for his local community through his business, Diamer Signs. He was central to a Corangamite ICE Taskforce campaign, volunteering his time and business resources to make awareness-building trailers and billboards. Darcy recently undertook a yearlong collaborative project mapping the local coastline to enable enhanced emergency services response. He sponsors local events, mentors students and has received numerous citizenship awards.

Cody Chatfield, 22 of Warrnambool delivers significant support to vulnerable families in local and aboriginal communities. Through her work at Gunditjmara Aboriginal Co-operative, Cody strives to reduce the numbers of Aboriginal children in child protection and out-of-home care. Her mother experienced mental health issues, which saw Cody become a carer to her siblings. Cody is a team leader at Gunditjmara and will soon complete her postgraduate certificate in family therapy.

Xavier Huxtable, 15 of Jan Juc is the youngest recipient of the Duke Kahanamoku Award, recognising outstanding performance and sportsmanship at the Australian Junior Surfing Titles. He is the first athlete to win the U/14 and U/16 divisions in consecutive years. Xavier is a role model to surfers to elevate their sport to elite levels. He is the youngest committee member and volunteers at fundraisers, administration and event management for the Torquay Boardriders Club.


Kangan Institute Inspirational TAFE Student Award

Christopher Klepacz, 18 of Hampton Park was born with Cerebral Palsy. He has overcome significant challenges to achieve strong IT capabilities and qualifications. Christopher earned his Cert II Information, Digital Media and Technology in 2017. He is currently working towards his Cert III Information, Digital Media and Technology while also completing his Year 12 education. Christopher uses modified equipment to work independently and offers proactive IT support to fellow students and teachers.

Tom Lobbe, 26 of Emerald advocates for increased awareness and eliminating stigma around mental health issues. Tom has schizophrenia and despite hearing voices almost constantly, learning difficulties and demeanour changes, he has achieved an overall grade of high distinction in his Diploma of Horticulture. Tom runs his own gardening business and volunteers as a mental health ambassador and openly shares his mental health story with others to increase understanding.

Dellareece Matson, 20 of Kilmore has been volunteering since she was eight. She volunteered at the National Day of People with Disability and is on the Mitchell Shires Youth Council. Dellareece is currently studying a Certificate IV in Disability. Dellareece juggles her studies with extensive volunteering including involvement in the Cyber Tattoo campaign on online safety, Rage Event, raising awareness of the LGBTQI+ community, and the Victorian Government’s ICE Action campaign.


2017 Finalists

Saward Dawson Community Service and Social Impact Award

Hiba Abd El Hamed, 21 of ALTONA MEADOWS is a former refugee. She is a human rights advocate and co-founder and President of AfroCare, a youth led not-for profit organisation. AfroCare addresses mental health issues and education within the African community, in a culturally and religiously sensitive manner. As one of 10 UNICEF Australian Young Ambassadors, Hiba authored the “Things that Matter” report, consulting 1,500 children about things that mattered to them.

Laura Pintur, 24 of MOUNT ELIZA co-founded “What’s Normal”, a program to engage and educate young people about the issues related to pornography and how it impacts our society. Workshops, 'Living in a Pornified Culture', equip young people to be creators of culture, not just consumers. Laura spear-headed a campaign to remove Zoo Magazine from supermarket shelves, gathering 40,000 signatures and ultimately causing the magazine’s closure. She has numerous written media articles and has appeared on Radio and TV.

Nick Pearce, 23 of BOX HILL is CEO and co-founder of 'Homeless of Melbourne Incorporated' and has raised $100,000 for the homeless community of Melbourne. In 2015 the first HoMie Street Store opened. The store raises money through apparel sales and donations. It also provides a retail training and employment program for young people currently experiencing homelessness. The Homeless of Melbourne Facebook page has more than 30,000 followers. Nick was also the spokesperson for Headspace’s national ‘Tear Down the Stigma’ campaign.

Bartercard Online Achievement Award

Morgan Ranieri, 27 of BRUNSWICK EAST is the creator of YourGrocer, an online marketplace. It connects busy grocery shoppers with their local independent shops. YourGrocer delivers hundreds of orders across Melbourne every week and has also started deliveries in Sydney. 150 local businesses are involved to date, providing fresh, quality groceries delivered to the customer’s door. YourGrocer supports small businesses and is helping to revolutionise the way we buy groceries. Morgan was also involved with building Thankyou Water's online presence.

Josh Caratelli, 20 of SOUTH MELBOURNE is an award winning game developer. He has created Xbox, iPhone and PlayStation games including Don Bradman Cricket 17 and the eco-themed Smog Game, educating children about reducing their carbon footprint. Josh won the 2014 STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) Challenge and with his prize money, created a scholarship to assist women and disadvantaged youth get into game development. He lecturers and speaks on topics of coding, STEM diversity and education.

Richard Li & David Wei -, 28 of KEW co-created Brosa, an online retailer to revolutionise how people buy furniture. They use in-house built technology to power its entire supply chain including the design of furniture, manufacturing, storage, sales and delivery. Brosa is able to launch 50 new furniture designs each week, and sells its products online to consumers across Australia. Now with a team of 60, Brosa is planning international expansion for its Melbourne-designed products.

Victoria University Research Impact Award

Dr Amgad Rezk, 29 of MELBOURNE received the prestigious RMIT Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellowship and is a Winston Churchill Fellow. He co-leads the Micro/Nanophysics Research Laboratory. They develop and commercialise handheld mega-Hertz nebulisers, for needle-free medicine administration and lung disease treatment. This technology delivers sensitive bio-particles such as DNA, peptides, proteins and cells without detrimental effects to their structural and functional viability. Amgad has co-authored 20 leading journal papers and his research work has been featured nationally and internationally. 

Dr Katrina Witt, 29 of FITZROY is an international leader in suicide prevention research, mapping the trajectory from self-harm to suicide. She pioneered a unique analysis method to illuminate associated and cumulative suicide risk factors. Her research will provide world-first evidence for new risk assessments and management, showing a significant reduction in suicide risk by timely intervention and treatments. Katrina has published 21 papers and presented at ten international conferences. She was awarded the prestigious 2016 Rod Rickards Fellowship. 

Dr Lucie Bland, 25 of FITZROY NORTH is a Research Fellow. She develops process-based models to assess risk, focusing on functional declines in marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems. Her work will improve understanding of the risks to Victorian ecosystems, creating a path forward to sustainable management. Lucie’s work has been published in leading international journals and she has several papers in review and preparation. Lucie volunteers for the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems, coordinating global ecosystem conservation research. 

Dr Sumeet Walia, 28 of MELBOURNE is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Engineering. He specialises in the use of metal oxides for the next-generation of nano-electronics. His research includes wearable electronics, artificial electronic memories and high-speed transistors. Sumeet has 34 peer-reviewed publicataions, presented his findings at prestigious international conferences and holds three patents. Sumeet was named in the top 10 innovators under 35 in Asia and one of his discoveries featured in the Top 100 innovations list.

The Coffee Club Arts and Fashion Award

Claire Goldsworthy, 27 of BRIGHTON is founder and editor of The Fashion Advocate, a digital magazine dedicated to Australian fashion and beauty. She also created The Dress Collective, Australia’s largest online store for Australian made fashion, featuring ethical and sustainable fashion. Claire was awarded a Fashion Scholarship and has worked with international labels in New York and Berlin. She planned and executed the Tenerife Festival Fashion Precinct and hosted the Fashion Advocate Runway in the 2017 Melbourne Fashion Festival. 

Isaiah Firebrace, 17 of ECHUCA won X Factor Australia in 2016 and secured a contract with Sony Music. He released his debut studio album “Isaiah” which peaked at number 12 on the Australian Albums Chart. Isaiah has been honoured with representing Australia in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest with his song "Don't Come Easy". Isaiah gives his singing competition prize money to the family as the sole income earner. He would like one day, to buy them a house. 

Lisa Cheney, 29 of FITZROY NORTH composes contemporary-classical music. She has worked with The Australian Ballet and both the Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras. Lisa is completing her PhD in Music and has received numerous scholarships and fellowships. She is also the Faculty Academic Assistant and tutor in music composition and theory. Lisa is the founder of a Women in Composition group and co-curator of ‘Making Waves’, an online listening space dedicated to Australian composers and composition. 

Penelope Min Ferguson, 29 of UPPER FERNTREE GULLY is the creator of Min Pin, an illustration based design label, specialising in fine jewellery, ceramics and textiles. Penelope was a finalist in Yen Magazine’s Young Female Art Award and won the Art, Illustration and Paper Design category of the 2015 Etsy Design Awards. She was invited by The National Gallery of Victoria to create Min Pin based activities for their 2017 Kids Summer Festival. Min Pin is now stocked internationally.


The Victorian Government Group Achievement in the Community Award

I CAN South West, 24 of WARRNAMBOOL is a subsidiary of Australia’s first social enterprise founded by people with Autism. They offer mentoring, social activities, advocacy and support to young people on the Autism Spectrum. Mentees have spoken to Members of parliament to promote Autism advocacy. The participants of I CAN South West work together in fortnightly mentoring sessions. They challenge traditional perceptions of Autism and drive a rethink of Autism from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’. 

Y-House Foundation Junior Committee, 25 of ELSTERNWICK assists ‘The Y-House Foundation’ to support young people who have suffered traumatic brain and spinal injuries and are living in aged care. The volunteer Junior Committee assists with the Y-House Foundation’s goal to build a transitional rehab facility for young people. They manage donations, fundraising events, awareness campaigns, marketing and social media. The committee created a successful partnership with burger franchise, Grill’d, holding ‘Grill’d Weekends’, raising $30,000. 

Happy Brain Education, 23 of ROWVILLE is a social enterprise for young people experiencing social disadvantage. They provide access to educational resources, mentoring, support, volunteering opportunities and life experiences. Tutoring is provided at a very affordable $10 an hour. After covering running costs such as rent and insurance, the profits go to causes that the students are passionate about. They raised $147,000 for a six year old to have heart surgery and $9,500 was raised for a CD4 machine.


CFA Volunteer Excellence Award

Alphonse Mulashe, 18 of NORLANE arrived as a refugee in 2010. He has completed Year 11 and as the eldest son cares for and supports his family. Alphonse voluntarily coordinates the Congolese Independence Day and Pako Festa, Victoria’s largest Multicultural Festival. He is a Lions Licola Camp youth leader, a member of his church choir and the Congolese Community Choir where he shares his culture through music. As a Youth Ambassador he mentors young people from refugee and CALD backgrounds.

Jake Nankervis, 17 of GROVEDALE has a strong commitment to community and social justice and volunteers for multiple groups. He is a leader in VIBE, a group of young people enhancing social connection and mental health whilst raising funds for various charities. Jake is also a leader in the Green Effect Movement and is passionate about the environment and sustainability. He recently travelled to New York and was involved in the Global Centre for the Responsibility Project. 

Nahkita Wolfe, 25 of ABBOTSFORD voluntarily organises and leads Camp Quality camps and is an advocate for people on the Autism Spectrum, at the ‘I CAN’ Network. She has spent between 20 and 70 hours each week over the past two years volunteering with many organisations, including Global Ideas, festival21, Torque, YEAH, AMSA, and the World Food Programme. She has undertaken these volunteer commitments whilst simultaneously completing full-time honours research, a medical degree, and working part-time. 

Wyatt Kilgower, 20 of PORT ALBERT is 4th Lieutenant and Education officer at Port Albert CFA. He has also volunteered for six years at Woodside Beach Surf Life Saving Club as club captain, patrol captain, first aid officer and is now second in charge. He will facilitate Bronze Surf Life Saving camp this year as Chief Instructor. Wyatt has volunteered in Cusco Peru to build greenhouses and has received community achievement Awards. He is also currently studying to become a paramedic. 

WFI Insurance Small Business Achiever Award

Anna Ross, 29 of COLLINGWOOD founded Kester Black, a nail polish line and an ethical cosmetics company with a positive social impact. Her product has Australian Made, Vegan Society, and Cruelty Free accreditations and is the first cosmetics company in the world to become B Corp certified. Kester Black has grown from and $18,000 to $470,000 annual turnover in just three years. Anna has donated $76,000 to charities and was named 2016 Telstra Australian Young Business Woman of the Year. 

Dale Barnett, 29 of DANDENONG SOUTH is the founder and Director of Biofuel Innovations, where he has created a sustainable biotechnology process to turn waste cooking oil into biodiesel. A chemical engineer by trade, Dale learnt basic welding and electrical work to assist with the plant construction. Biofuel Innovations generates $2.4 million revenue annually. Dale provides a course-accredited internship program for university students. Biofuel Innovations was selected as the Face of Small Business in the 2016 Small Business Festival. 

Mark McDonald, 24 of MELBOURNE co-founded Appster, a multi award winning mobile app development company. Appster is a market leader in Australia and is fast expanding in the USA. They have 350 staff and are on track to achieve $100m a year in revenue by 2018. The Appster University in India puts graduates through an intensive six month course, upskilling them for roles in Appster’s development centre. Appster has developed apps for more than 200 companies and brands.


Bart 'N' Print Health and Wellbeing Award

Amy Whitten, 23 of ECHUCA volunteers as the co-director, program designer, dance teacher and coordinator at BEAM All Abilities Dance and Fitness. Amy also teaches and supports people with disabilities in public shows, activities, and concerts. She is a strong advocate for creating an inclusive community where all feel empowered and valued. Amy volunteers at University events, is President of the Occupational Therapy Student Association and is in the final year of her Masters degree in Occupational Therapy. 

Jessie-Anne Kenworthy, 23 of GEELONG is in her final year of Medicine. She volunteered for several months in a Ugandan health centre, with no electricity or running water. She assisted with delivering babies, vaccinations and helped set up a HIV clinic. Jessie-Anne and her sister created the ‘Light up Mannya campaign’, raising $40,000, and sending 4,000 solar lights to a Ugandan Village. These lights help improve education through home study, reduced costs and stopped fires and burns from kerosene lamps. 

Nikolina Mabic, 22 of WILLIAMSTOWN is a graduate filmmaker. Her film “Unspoken”, about parental abuse won Best Film at the Hobsons Bays Project Film Festival. Her documentary, "The First Giant Hurdle" about mental health will premier soon. She has also created ‘Spare Capacity’, a website and workshops to give young women holistic tools to combat mental illness. Nikolina was selected into the Foundation for Young Australians YSP program and won the 2017 Hobsons Bay Young Citizen of the Year. 

Vi Tran, 27 of FOOTSCRAY is a psychologist who volunteers for many organisations. She volunteered at SHINE for Kids, facilitating programs in prisons, and assisting vulnerable young people with a relative in the criminal justice system. Vi is currently psychologist for Jennings Street School, Doncare Community Services and The Oaks Psychology. She has co-developed two creative group programs for children and adults, developing innovative ways to educate about stress management strategies, anxiety management, strengths and mental health resilience. 

First National Real Estate Leadership Award

Chris Varney, 29 of KEW is the founder and CEO of the ‘I CAN’ Network. The Network is a mentoring and training social enterprise run predominantly by people on the Autism Spectrum with 50% of its Board and team required to be on the spectrum. He created ‘AWEgust for AWEtism’, raising $80,000 to support the mission of the ‘I CAN’ Network. Chris speaks at forums and created the TEDx talk, ‘Autism – How My Unstoppable Mother Proved the Experts Wrong’. 

Hunter Johnson, 25 of MELBOURNE is the CEO of ‘The Man Cave’, a preventative mental health and emotional intelligence program for young men. He has designed and delivered youth and leadership programs and social entrepreneurship incubator programs. As a keynote speaker, Hunter speaks about philanthropy, social enterprise, and what it takes to raise healthy contributing young men. Hunter co-founded Kids in Philanthropy, a not‐for‐profit organisation, focusing on building children’s social awareness, social conscience and the practice of giving. 

Nick Pearce, 23 of BOX HILL has raised $100,000 for the Melbourne homeless community. As CEO and founder of the HoMie (Homeless of Melbourne Incorporated Enterprise) Street Store, $600,000 income has been generated under his leadership. HoMie is a social enterprise creating pathways out of homelessness. The Homeless of Melbourne Facebook page has been heralded as the “most influential social movement in Melbourne”. Nick won the 2015 Big Gun Media Award and the 2016 Australian anti-poverty Award. 

Thomas Banks, 26 of GEELONG WEST wrote and published “Through the eyes of a person with a disability” when he was 16. He will be touring nationally with his one man show, “Someone like Thomas Banks”, and is working on an autobiographic film “The Power of Love”. Thomas is the creator and director of the Centre for Access, a specialised training service to businesses who employ people with a disability. Centre for Access also facilitates disability awareness workshops.


2016 Finalists

CFA Young Volunteer Excellence Award

• Khurram Khan, 21 of WERRIBEE
• Sarah Kenworthy, 18 of GEELONG
• Ryan Wheeler, 24 of MAFFRA

Bart 'N' Print Health and Wellbeing Award
• Jeremy Samson, 28 of VERMONT
• Michelle Connell, 27 of SUNBURY
• Jamin Heppell, 25 of BRUNSWICK EAST

The Victorian Government Small Business Achievement Award
• Shannan Gove - Event Workforce, 26 of RICHMOND
• Aimee Marks - TOM Organic, 29 of ST KILDA
• Kristy Sellars - PhysiPole Studios, 29 of BALLARAT

Victoria University Research Impact Award
• Georgia Atkin-Smith, 23 of QUANTONG
• April Philpott, 28 of ARMADALE
• Briony Murphy, 27 of SOUTHBANK
• Dr Francois Petitjean, 28 of CARNEGIE

The Coffee Club Arts and Fashion Award
• Joshua Muir, 24 of NAPOLEONS
• Lilikoi Kaos, 27 of COLLINGWOOD
• Fablice Manirakiza, 26 of NOBLE PARK
• Tristan Lucas, 26 of BELMONT

The Victorian Government Group Achievement in the Community Award
• Unite Alliance Program - City of Greater Dandenong Youth Services, of Dandenong
• Victorian Student Representative Council (VicSRC), of Melbourne
• Indigenous Group, of Whittlesea

Saward Dawson Community Service and Social Impact Award
• Dean Cohen, 24 of ELSTERNWICK
• Thomas Banks, 25 of GEELONG WEST
• Robert Gilies, 25 of CANTERBURY

The University of Melbourne Science and Technology Award
• Dr Vi Khanh Truong, 29, SUNSHINE
• Dr Julia Marchingo, 27 of SURREY HILLS
• Christopher Baker, 26 of NORTH MELBOURNE
• Kyra Schwarz, 28 of BRUNSWICK

AustralianSuper Career Kick Start Award
• Julia Truong, 22 of ST ALBANS
• Sarah Leung, 28 of BRIGHTON
• Kristy Sellars, 29 of BALLARAT


2015 Finalists

The Coffee Club Arts and Fashion Award

• Rebecca Clark, 28 of Collingwood
• Bek Berger, 26 of Brunswick
• Gemma Topliss, 19 of East Kew

BASF Science and Technology Award
• Timothy Crouch, 28 of Hawthorn
• Adam Kessler, 26 of Malvern East
• David Riglar, 28 of Melbourne
• Jacqui Delaney, 27 of Greensborough

Victorian Government Innovation Award
• Elsje Jordan, 25 of Fitzroy
• Alastair Pryor, 25 of North Fitzroy
• Meera Fernandes, 21 of Ashburton
• Northern Grampians Shire Youth Action Council of Stawell

Academy Graphics Regional Achiever Award
• Htoo Kolo, 18 of Corio
• Chelsea McGhee, 24 of Sorrento
• Jacinta Masters, 24 of Ballan
• Jessi McEwan, 21 of Morwell

Bartercard Online Achievement Award
• Tzvi Balbin, 27 – DataSauce of Caulfield North
• Andrew Armstrong & Long Zheng, 27 of Melbourne
• Lewis Romano, 28 – of Melbourne

First National Real Estate Leadership Award
• Jacqueline Teh, 19 of Glen Waverley
• Georgia Retallick, 23 of Elsternwick
• Ngaree Blow, 25 of Parkville

Victorian Government Small Business Achievement Award
• Lisa Du, 27 – ReadyTechGo of Forest Hill
• Michael Bird, Andrew Archibald and George Glover 26 - Social Garden of Richmond
• Caitlyn Calder, 25 - Coco Red Hair & Beauty of Maryborough
• Paul O’Shea, 28 - CS Town Planning Services of Glen Iris

AustralianSuper Career Kick Start Award
• Julia Doeven, 27 of Wantirna South
• Kate McLean, 25 of Reservoir
• Lara Mayze, 24 of Geelong

Saward Dawson Community Service and Volunteering Award
• Mark Green, 24 of Wodonga
• Jessica Barlow, 23 of Knox
• Daniel Kuzeff, 25 of South Melbourne
• Morgan Cataldo, 27 of Footscray