CommBank

Young Hero Awards

Lord Mayor to launch this year's CommBank SmallBiz Week 2023

Sally Capp

The Lord Mayor of Melbourne

Join the Lord Mayor Sally Capp at the opening ceremony for Australia's largest small business event of the year and to celebrate this year's young heroes.

CommBank Young Hero Awards Program

The CommBank Young Hero Awards are back and nominations are now open. In exciting news, four new categories have been added to this year’s awards program. The 14 Award categories cover crucial areas for Australia’s small business sector. We’ve meticulously designed the program to celebrate the success stories, diversity and brilliance of our national young entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Winners are announced in front of the Small Business Community, VIP guests, media, friends and family at a Gala dinner event marking the opening of CommBank SmallBiz Week 2024

Apply for an Award

Awards Timeline

Nominations Open

OPEN

Nominations Close

19 April 2024

Awards Dinner

28 May 2024

Sponsor an Award Today

Show your business’ commitment to the next generation by sponsoring an award category and joining a high-profile judging panel. Limited availability, so enquire today to secure the award of your choice.

Congratulations to all 2023 Winners & Finalists

2024 Awards Category

7 Individual / Entreprenuer Awards

The grand prize in the individual category, this award recognises outstanding leadership, business success, and strategic vision of an individual entrepreneur. 

Judging criteria:

  • Evidence of strong financial performance: Demonstrated strong financial performance, as evidenced by sales generated, profits, market share, customer growth and/or meeting a gap in the market.
  • Proof of significant impact on the Australian economy: Demonstrated a significant impact on the Australian economy, as measured by revenue growth, job creation, or other economic indicators.
  • Proof of trailblazing leadership and innovation: Demonstrated strong leadership in the industry, and demonstrated innovation in the business model or strategy.

Honoring a promising individual entrepreneur who has made a significant impact on the Australian business market in a short period of time.

Judging criteria:

  • Evidence of rapid growth: demonstrated significant growth in business operations in the last 24 months, as measured by revenue, profits, sales, or customer base.
  • Evidence of significant and recent impact on Australian market: demonstrated a positive impact on the Australian business market, as evidenced by media coverage, awards, or other forms of recognition.
  • Strong leadership and business foundations: Demonstrated a clear understanding of the business landscape and a strong vision for the future, implemented establishing an impactful business strategy.

Celebrating a technology founder who embodies innovation and thought leadership, and is enhancing Australia’s innovation sector by making significant contributions. 

Judging criteria:

  • Strong evidence of product innovation and impact: Demonstrated innovation in developing a new product, service, or business model with significant market adoption and positive impact on the Australian technology sector.
  • Proof of significant contribution to the Australian technology sector: Demonstrated a commitment to enhancing Australia’s innovation sector with proof of impact on the economy with sales generated, interest created for consumers served.
  • Proof of thought-leadership in innovation sector: evidenced by strong publicity, demonstrated positive impact as an innovation spokesperson.

Leading the charge towards a better future by leading a successful sustainable, environmentally conscious business with a strong vision for a better world.

Judging criteria:

  • Evidence of sustainable business success: Evidence of a successful business, such as revenue growth, brand awareness, customer growth and sales volume. 
  • Leadership in the sustainability space: Evidence of the entrepreneur’s leadership in the sustainability space, such as innovation in sustainable business practices, advocacy for sustainability, and mentorship of other sustainable entrepreneurs. 
  • Sustainable business model or practices: Evidence of a sustainable business model or practices, such as a commitment to environmental protection, social responsibility, and economic viability. 

Inspiring others with exceptional leadership and business success while driving the Indigenous economy and community forward.

Judging criteria:

  • Evidence of industry leadership: Demonstrates leadership in the Indigenous economy and broader business community with evidence of thought-leadership, advocacy, and mentorship and making a positive impact in the market.    
  • Evidence of driving the indigenous economy: Demonstrate strong financial performance, including metrics such as revenue growth, profitability, jobs creation, and market share and evidence of a growing customer base. 
  • Successful business strategy: include a clear and concise business plan that outlines the company’s vision, mission, future plans and values, as well as a strategy for achieving its goals.

Demonstrating strong leadership and excellence in the retail space through exceptional business planning and execution.

Judging criteria:

  • Evidence of a successful retail business: Demonstrate strong financial performance, including metrics such as revenue growth, profitability, and market share and evidence of a growing customer base. 
  • Evidence of retail innovation: development of new products and services, the implementation of new technologies, the creation of unique shopping experiences, and/or successful execution of retail innovation initiatives. 
  • Proof of strong leadership within the retail industry: Demonstrated thought-leadership, advocacy, and mentorship. Provide evidence of the company’s positive impact on the retail community.

Awarded to an entrepreneur who is leading a business making a strong positive impact with an innovative approach to solving social problems. 

Judging criteria:

  • Evidence of social impact and goals: Evidence of a clear and concise social impact mission and goals, this could include metrics such as number of people served, social problems addressed, and/or environmental impact. 
  • Evidence of successful social enterprise initiatives: could include examples of social enterprise initiatives, such as fair-trade practices, employment opportunities for disadvantaged groups, or investments in sustainable technologies. 
  • Proof of strong, successful leadership: Evidence of the entrepreneur’s successful leadership of their social enterprise. This could include metrics such as business growth, employee satisfaction, and customer satisfaction. 

Entrepreneur of the year

The grand prize in the individual category, this award recognises outstanding leadership, business success, and strategic vision of an individual entrepreneur. 

Rising star award

Honoring a promising individual entrepreneur who has made a significant impact on the Australian business market in a short period of time.

Innovator of the year

Celebrating a technology founder who embodies innovation and thought leadership, and is enhancing Australia’s innovation sector by making significant contributions. 

Sustainable entrepreneur award

Leading the charge towards a better future by leading a successful sustainable, environmentally conscious business with a strong vision for a better world.

Indigenous Entrepreneur of the Year

Inspiring others with exceptional leadership and business success while driving the Indigenous economy and community forward.

Retail Leader of the Year

Demonstrating strong leadership and excellence in the retail space through exceptional business planning and execution.

7 Business / Team Awards

The grand prize in the business category, honouring an industry-changing startup that has made a significant impact on the Australian market in a short time.

Judging criteria:

  • Evidence of business success: include metrics such as financial statements of revenue growth, strong customer base or customer growth, employee growth, sales volume, customer satisfaction ratings, or product awards in the last 1-2 years. 
  • Successful business strategy: include a clear and concise business plan that outlines the company’s vision, mission, and values, as well as a strategy for achieving its goals. 
  • Meeting a market gap: demonstrated by showing that the company is addressing a real need in the market and that its product or service is in high demand.

Celebrating a business that has executed a successful brand-led marketing campaign that has generated real results in terms of sales and brand awareness.

Judging criteria:

  • Evidence of marketing campaign success: include metrics such as sales generated, social media growth, increased brand awareness, website traffic, or other proof of a successful marketing campaign in the last 1-2 years. 
  • Effectiveness in reaching target audience: demonstrated by showing that the marketing campaign was effective in reaching its target audience with customer growth or brand awareness. 
  • Ahead of the competition: demonstrated by showing that the marketing campaign was unique and innovative, and that it stood out from the competition by successful penetrating new consumers.

Honouring a business that fosters a positive and inclusive work culture where employees feel valued and diversity is supported, evidenced by high employee satisfaction and a commitment to employee well-being.

Judging criteria:

  • Proof of high employee satisfaction: This could be demonstrated by evidence of high staff retention, employee surveys, employee engagement metrics, or other proof that employees are satisfied with their jobs in the last 1-3 years.
  • Evidence of employee-centric business model: Evidence of a strong focus on employee well-being and satisfaction, such as competitive salaries and benefits, flexible work arrangements, and employee health and wellness programs. 
  • Proof of commitment to employee well-being and inclusivity: Evidence of a commitment to diversity and inclusion, such as a diverse workforce, inclusive hiring practices, and a workplace where all employees feel valued and respected. 

Recognising a new tech product that is successfully disrupting an industry and making a big impact with its innovative solution to the market.

Judging criteria:

  • Proof of product innovation and success in the market: Evidence of a truly innovative product that meets a real market gap. This could include demonstrating how the product is unique and different from existing solutions with strong uptake from consumers.  
  • Evidence of product success: Evidence of product uptake and success in the market, such as sales generated, customer feedback, and industry recognition. 
  • Innovative product design: Demonstrate a unique, well-designed product with clear and concise demonstration of the product’s innovative features and benefits, detailed overview of the product’s technology and how it works.

Celebrating a business that has achieved exceptional growth in a short period of time, demonstrating remarkable scalability and resilience.

Judging criteria:

  • Evidence of rapid growth: Evidence of fast growth within the last 24 months, such as revenue growth, customer growth, and employee growth. This could include metrics such as percentage increase in revenue, number of new customers acquired, and number of new employees hired. 
  • Proof of profitability: Evidence of profitability and successful growth, such as profit margins, sales generated, and financial statements. This could include metrics such as net profit margin, gross profit margin, and return on investment. 
  • Scalability and resilience: Evidence of the company’s ability to scale and maintain its growth trajectory and the plan for future growth, as well as how it has overcome challenges in the past. 

Honouring a business with a proven track record of consistently providing its customers with outstanding experience, thanks to a customer-centric business model.

Judging criteria:

  • Evidence of high customer satisfaction: Evidence of high customer satisfaction ratings, such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer satisfaction surveys, and customer reviews. 
  • Customer-centric business model: Evidence of a commitment to putting the customer first, such as customer-centric values and strategies, and customer feedback mechanisms. 
  • Customer service excellence: Evidence of outstanding customer service and customer experience, such as well-documented case studies, customer testimonials, and employee training programs.

Celebrating a successful family-led business that demonstrates excellence in all areas of its operation.

Judging criteria:

  • Proof of family-led business power-sharing: Evidence of a strong family culture and a commitment to power-sharing of family members within the business. 
  • Evidence of business success: Evidence of business success, such as profits, market share, or industry recognition. This could include metrics such as revenue growth, profit margins, customer satisfaction ratings or strong customer base. 
  • Community building and economic contribution: Evidence of the business’s contribution to the local community and the Australian economy, including metrics such as the number of jobs created, involvement in community initiatives and its support for local suppliers. 

Startup of the year

The grand prize in the business category, honouring an industry-changing startup that has made a significant impact on the Australian market in a short time.

Excellence in marketing

Celebrating a business that has executed a successful brand-led marketing campaign that has generated real results in terms of sales and brand awareness.

Best Place to Work

Honouring a business that fosters a positive and inclusive work culture where employees feel valued and diversity is supported, evidenced by high employee satisfaction and a commitment to employee well-being.

Most Innovative Tech Product

Recognising a new tech product that is successfully disrupting an industry and making a big impact with its innovative solution to the market.

Excellence in customer service

Honouring a business with a proven track record of consistently providing its customers with outstanding experience, thanks to a customer-centric business model.

Outstanding Growth Award

Celebrating a business that has achieved exceptional growth in a short period of time, demonstrating remarkable scalability and resilience.

Family Business of the Year

Celebrating a successful family-led business that demonstrates excellence in all areas of its operation.

Best Place to Work

Honouring a business that fosters a positive and inclusive work culture where employees feel valued and diversity is supported, evidenced by high employee satisfaction and a commitment to employee well-being.

Most Innovative Tech Product

Recognising a new tech product that is successfully disrupting an industry and making a big impact with its innovative solution to the market.

Excellence in customer service

Celebrates a business that is obsessed with its customers/clients by providing a ‘customer-first’ approach to business goals and growth

2023 Judging Panel

Lynda McAlary-Smith

Victorian Small Business Commissioner
Victorian Small Business Commission
Victorian-Small-Business-Commission

Bruce Billson

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman
ASBFEO
ASBFEO

Harish Vellat

Executive Director – Small, Medium & Corporate Business
Microsoft ANZ
Microsoft

Michael Breedon

Senior Research Scientist
CSIRO
CSIRO

Scott McCartney

Chief Executive Officer
Kinaway - The Victorian Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce
Kinaway

Karen Cohen

Founder
Emerging Tech Talent & Founder & AlgoHUB.io
algohub-logo

Alyssa Herr

Editor, Small Business Connections & Co-Host ABF Vision 
Small Business Connections
SBC

Amy Morgan

Executive Manager Small Business Banking
Commonwealth Bank
CommBank

Sara Sutton

General Manager Small Business
Commonwealth Bank
CommBank

Susan Brown

Partner
Deloitte Digital
Deloitte-Digital

Krunal Panchal

CEO
Groovy Web
Groovy

Sonja Bernhardt OAM

Serial technology entrepreneur - Founder of ThoughtWare, Women in Technology ...
WIT
logo-women-in-technology

2023 Winners

Get ready for a night of celebration

inspiration and recognition at the CommBank Young Hero Awards dinner as we honour the outstanding achievements of our young entrepreneurs!

Meet your awards dinner hosts

Bruce Billson

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

Vivienne Ryan

Co-Founder & Director
at Gravia Media

Snapshot of Young Hero Awards 2023

The CommBank Young Hero Awards 2023 was presented by Commonwealth Bank.

Snapshot of Young Hero Awards 2022

The SmallBiz Young Hero Awards 2022 was presented by Commonwealth Bank and sponsored by Optus, Coinspot and Blackmagic Design.

CommBank

Young Hero Awards

Nominations are now open

Meet our judges

Alyssa Herr

Editor, Small Business Connections & Co-Host ABF Vision 
Small Business Connections
SBC

Amy Morgan

Executive Manager Small Business Banking
Commonwealth Bank
CommBank

Bruce Billson

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman
ASBFEO
ASBFEO

Harish Vellat

Executive Director – Small, Medium & Corporate Business
Microsoft ANZ
Microsoft

Karen Cohen

Founder
Emerging Tech Talent & Founder & AlgoHUB.io
algohub-logo

Krunal Panchal

CEO
Groovy Web
Groovy

Lynda McAlary-Smith

Victorian Small Business Commissioner
Victorian Small Business Commission
Victorian-Small-Business-Commission

Michael Breedon

Senior Research Scientist
CSIRO
CSIRO

Sara Sutton

General Manager Small Business
Commonwealth Bank
CommBank

Scott McCartney

Chief Executive Officer
Kinaway - The Victorian Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce
Kinaway

Sonja Bernhardt OAM

Serial technology entrepreneur - Founder of ThoughtWare, Women in Technology ...
WIT
logo-women-in-technology

Susan Brown

Partner
Deloitte Digital
Deloitte-Digital

2022 Judging Panel

Clare Morgan
Executive General Manager Small Business Banking

Grant Petty
Founder & CEO

Maree Davidson 
Head of Digital

Alyssa Herr
Editor, TV Co-Host

Sara Sutton
General Manager Small Business Sales Service VIC/TAS

Karen Cohen
Founder

Cheri Davies
Head of Business Marketing, Optus Business

Vivienne Ryan
Director & Co-Host of ABF Vision TV