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Tattoos, boats and STEM: the 2018 ACT Telstra Business Awards

Michaela McGrath

When you think Telstra, the iconic Black Mountain tower likely springs to mind.

But did you know that telecommunications giant is also a champion of local Canberran business?

This July, Canberra’s movers and shakers will converge at the National Gallery of Australia for the 2018 Telstra Australian Capital Territory Business Awards. From coffee vans turned commercial catering mainstay Mr Cappuccino to champion of local producers The Old Bus Depot Markets the awards serve as recognition for Canberra’s pioneering ventures.

Of a record 10,000 businesses nominated across the nation this year, Canberra’s best and brightest are gearing up to be recognised for their contributions to the local business sector.

“Every day, we see and help support Australians start new businesses, grow existing businesses, and help them be more productive, secure and successful,” explains Telstra Group executive and awards ambassador, Vicki Brady. “We love being able to showcase and celebrate this amazing business talent through the Telstra Business Awards.”

Hailing from Canberra’s north, 2018 finalist Tatts On Tatts Off (TOTO) has made a name for itself for providing expertly personalised tattooing and body piercing services. While the studio boasts an impressive folio of creative work, it has also captured the hearts of the local community for its charitable division, Survivors Ink.

TOTO’s founder, Peter Bone, provides realistic nipple tattooing in an effort to aid in the recovery and assist emotional closure for breast cancer survivors. Through Survivors Ink, an estimated 180 survivors have received free nipple tattooing, to the approximate value of $135,000 across Australia.

“Body art can help clients express themselves or make them feel whole again after life-changing medical procedures like a mastectomy,” explains Peter.

Literally making waves, you’ve probably seen fellow 2018 finalist GoBoat Canberra zipping across Lake Burley Griffin. The eco-tourism experience prides itself on sustainable practice and shedding light on a different side of the lake. Originating in Copenhagen in 2014, the electric Scandinavian picnic boats continue to revolutionise the way tourists and residents experience Canberra.

Go Boat

Powered by eco-friendly electric motors and recharged with Green Power, each boat is constructed using recycled plastic bottles and sustainably sourced wood. Going one step further, the food and drink on board is also wrapped using recycled and recyclable packaging so you can rest assured that you’ll leave nothing but a gentle ripple on Canberra’s iconic lake.

Changing the face of disability one service at a time, 2018 finalist Skipper Care Australia is a Canberra-based disability support provider with a focus on personalised approaches to each person’s specific requirements.

With a family of their own and a son with a disability, Skipper Care founders Rebecca and Kagan Skipper recognise the value of support and have constructed their business with a deep understanding of the intricacies of caring for someone living with a disability.

“We established Skipper Care to help people with a disability develop stronger living skills to increase their independence, and make sure that they can live a fulfilled, meaningful life,” explains Rebecca.

Smashing gender assumptions about women in science, Canberra-based Science and Technology Australia (STA), which is also a 2018 finalist, provides an influential voice for the nation’s 70,000 scientists and technologists.

Better yet, the organisation is leading the way for diversity in the sector with its innovative program, the Superstars of STEM.

STA CEO Kylie Walker (left).

STA works with women across the science and technology realm to create dynamic role models for young women and girls. Equipping its Superstars with the communication skills and media opportunities to share their stories, the program hopes to increase public visibility and shift the stereotype of the Australian scientist.

Some of Science and Technology Australia’s Superstars of STEM.

Each of these Canberran game changers will be evaluated across a range of criteria from strategy and vision through to customers and marketing, social responsibility and more, with each business receiving a customised Business Benchmark Report.

The reports offer entrants invaluable insights and advice tailored specifically to their business.

“The Awards program aims to support small and medium businesses by helping them to analyse, evaluate and improve their operations and increase their networking opportunities though technology and innovation,” explains Vicki.

The winners of the Telstra ACT Business Awards will be announced on Thursday 12 July and will be invited to Melbourne to attend national judging and the celebration gala dinner in September.

The full list of finalists of the 2018 Telstra Australian Capital Territory Business Awards:

  • CopperTree Analytics Australia
  • Corporate Catering by Mr Cappuccino
  • Datapod
  • Disability Leadership Institute
  • Fifty Acres
  • Future Superannuation Group
  • Go Boat Canberra
  • HorizonOne Recruitment
  • iSimulate Pty Ltd
  • Old Bus Depot Markets
  • Penten
  • Projects Assured
  • Rapid Context
  • Science & Technology Australia
  • Skipper Care Australia
  • Solace Creations
  • SponServe
  • Tatts On Tatts Off
  • The Academy of Interactive Entertainment Limited
  • ThinkPlace
  • Vivid Accounting
  • Wholistic Financial Solutions

Images: supplied. 


Michaela McGrath

Michaela is a New Zealand born Australian currently based in Adelaide. Spending her childhood in Canberra’s north, she regularly travels east to the nation’s capital to visit family and friends. An avid foodie, Michaela is thrilled to see Canberra’s thriving hospitality scene continue to unfold. She is in her final semester of a Bachelor of Media with a major in Journalism at the University of Adelaide, and is an aspiring food and lifestyle writer with a passion for all things local. When she’s not busy writing her next piece, you’ll find Michaela on the hunt for the next place to grab a caffeine fix or whipping up a storm in the kitchen. More about the Author

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