CBA and Prince's Trust Australia recognise veteran-owned businesses

The final prize went to a navy veteran-turned-Great Barrier Reef tour operator

CBA and Prince's Trust Australia recognise veteran-owned businesses


By Mina Martin

The winners of the inaugural Beyond Service Awards, an initiative by Prince’s Trust Australia and sponsored by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia that celebrates the achievements of Australia’s veteran community businesses, have been announced.

Winning the Commonwealth Bank of Australia Business of the Year Award, the final prize awarded to one of the four category winners, was a navy veteran-turned-Great Barrier Reef tour operator, Stuart Alexander. Alexander, co-founder of Great Barrier Reef Safaris/Mission Beach Charters, was given the Environmental Warrior Award for championing sustainability through his business.

“Stuart Alexander has reskilled three times in his life – first as a Navy veteran, then an IT specialist, and now an eco-tourism operator,” said Michelle Endacott, chief executive of Prince’s Trust Australia. “His commitment to protect one of the world’s greatest natural assets, alongside his partner Dr Adele Pile, is inspiring.”

The other Beyond Service Award winners are as follows:

  • The Power of One Award (recognising the outstanding efforts of an individual who works on their own) — Matt Lewis, Founder of MxM – Made by Matt
  • The New Mission Award (recognising the application of skills, experience and/or networks developed in service to the Australian Defence Force to a civilian business, sponsored by BAE Systems Australia) — David Ballantyne, co-founder of HomeFront Australia
  • The Defence Family Business Award (recognising ADF partners and spouses in business, sponsored by PwC Australia) — Bec Waller, Founder of Australian Partners of Defence

The awards ceremony was held at Admiralty House in Sydney on Oct. 4 and hosted by David Hurley, chair of the Enterprise for Veterans’ advisory council and governor-general of Australia, and Julie Bishop, chair of Prince’s Trust Australia. The event was also attended by several representatives of CBA, including Clare Morgan, executive general manager of small business banking.

“Veteran-owned businesses play a valuable role in the community, and it was wonderful to celebrate the collective achievements and successes of these small businesses at the Awards,” Morgan said. “Hearing their stories of service, and their journeys transitioning into business ownership and entrepreneurship was truly inspiring. On behalf of all of us at CBA, congratulations to the finalists and the winners.”

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