The Benson Entrepreneur Award— 2012 iAwards

August 6, 2012

Wayne Fitzsimmons, Chairman, Pearcey Foundation

Recognising Australia’s best talent usually involves a TV spectacular presenting awards in glitzy environments – how about the world of ICT, how are our best recognised?

Well on the 9th of August at Melbourne’s Crown Paladium, six of Australia’s best young entrepreneurs drawn from all across Australia, will face off for Australia’s most prestigious entrepreneurial award known as the Benson Award, named in honour of the late Tony Benson, one of Australia’s true ICT pioneers.

Daniel Harrison from Hobart has developed a facial recognition system using iPads and iPhones that is currently being used in Sydney’s club scene to relieve the tension created by having heavy weight bouncers to sort out entry. Then there is Matt Bullock from Canberra who has a unique global credit card transaction system providing secure processing across the internet for more than 10,000 vendors including Qantas, McDonalds and Canon.

Over in Adelaide, Mathew Michalewicz uses predictive modelling techniques in his software to assist companies like BHP and Rio Tinto to optimise complex supply and demand problems, employing more than 150 professionals across five international offices.

Simon Poole and Steve Frisken out of Sydney export more than $200 Million of optical and communications products from their company called Finisar and employ more than 300 staff. And what’s more this is the second company Simon has successfully launched following his start-up Indx he started in 1995. Up in Brisbane a young guy went one better – he has launched three successful companies including Pipe Networks which was ASX listed prior to being sold to TPG in 2010 for some $373 Million (Pipe laid a submarine optical fibre cable from Guam to Sydney).

Bevan Slattery has recently launched Next DC, establishing carrier grade data centre for the domestic Cloud computing market. Meanwhile in Melbourne a mother of four has launched a hearing aid company – to sell low cost state-of-the-art hearing aids over the web! Dr Elaine Saunders is eminently qualified in the area of digital signal processing and led a team that developed the new electrode that underpins Cochlear’s Australian Design Award demonstrating her commercialisation skills.

Full details on all of these outstanding young Australian entrepreneurs can be found on the iAwards website ( and the winner will be announced at the gala dinner on the 9th of August.

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Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland