Every single small business in Australia has been on an emotional roller-coaster in the past twelve months. For some, it was sheer terror, as the world changed forever, followed by more terror. For others, it was riding the tsunami of a rapidly growing market, stratospheric order volumes, and supply chain headaches. Sadly, for many, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

For those small businesses that have been able to hang on, 2020/21 will go down as one of the greatest entrepreneurial learning experiences for each and every one. Like most entrepreneurs, the accolades don’t come very often – if at all. Thankfully Telstra is doing something about that.

The Telstra Best of Business Awards

What was a double-act of the Telstra Business Awards and the Telstra Business Women’s Awards over the past 25 years have come together to create the Telstra Best of Business Awards that recognise stand-out businesses in 8 categories.

Nominations are now open to nominate a small business that you know or are part of.

Telstra Consumer and Small Business Group Executive, Michael Ackland said the past year gave Telstra an opportunity to reflect and reimagine a program of the future.

“We are proud of the support we have shown the small business community over the past 25 years through the Telstra Business Awards and the Telstra Business Women’s Awards where we have recognised over 5,000 finalists from both city and regional areas across each state and territory of Australia.” Mr Ackland said.

“The Telstra Best of Business Awards builds on the success and learnings of these award programs and is a reflection of our desire to continue to lead positive change for all Australians. “It allows us to celebrate the businesses and people making a positive impact within their community, industry, across the country or perhaps the world,”

Diversity and inclusion is also at the heart of this revamped program, from improved accessibility to the entry process, to the creation of new categories. This includes Indigenous Excellence for Indigenous-owned businesses, Accelerating Women for businesses challenging exclusion and inequality, and Building Communities for businesses working to make a positive impact on their communities.

Building Communities
For businesses working to make a positive impact on culture and society so people from all walks of life can thrive as part of a supportive community.

Championing Health
For businesses focused on innovative solutions, improving health outcomes for every Australian.

Embracing Innovation
For businesses innovating with technology to develop solutions for challenges faced by modern Australia.

Promoting Sustainability
For businesses reducing their environmental impact by driving sustainable change within their industry for a cleaner and healthier planet.

Outstanding Growth
For businesses achieving significant growth and contributing to building a more resilient Australian economy.

Accelerating Women
For businesses actively challenging exclusion and inequality to create meaningful and lasting equity for women

Indigenous Excellence
For Indigenous-led, owned and operated businesses succeeding through entrepreneurialism, innovation and inspiring the next generation of all Australians.

Progressing Australia
For businesses tackling important issues affecting Australia. Each year the committee will set the theme for the Award in line with the national agenda. Note: Businesses must enter one of the above seven core categories to opt into the Progressing Australia category


At the launch of the 2021 Telstra Best of Business Awards, there were a number of successful and very hard-working founders who spoke passionately about their small business experience and charting courses for success.

Eamon Sullivan – Olympian & Cafe Owners

Co-owner of the Bib & Tucker Cafe in Fremantle.

We are passionate about creating a dining experience like no other through friendly service, amazing food and breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean and we believe in serving up whatever is the freshest, not whatever is most convenient. That’s why you will never find anything frozen on our menus. We are guided by a ‘love your locals’ ethos which means our menu is a celebration of the best seasonal produce our Perth-based suppliers have to offer.

Sally Obermeder & Maha Corbett – Founders of SWIISH

SWIISH stands for: Stylish Women Inspiring Inner Strength, Health and Happiness. The ultimate feel-good online lifestyle destination for women, SWIISH is based on the belief that you don’t have to spend a fortune to feel amazing inside and out. It’s all about creating the best version of yourself – from wellness and health, to personal style, beauty and home.

Mark Olive – Indigenous Chef

Mark aka “The Black Olive” is an iconic ambassador for “Indigenous Food and Hospitality” with unique skills in the development of gourmet food products. Mark’s passion for fusing native food and culture with contemporary lifestyle cooking has led to a huge international profile specialising in gourmet Australian Indigenous cuisine.

Grace Brennan – Founder of Buy From The Bush

Buy From The Bush is a marketplace for Australian bush business. Think of it as your gateway to rural and regional Australia. We bring together the butchers, the bakers and the candlestick makers in small rural communities across Australia. We make it easy for small businesses to sell their products and for consumers to shop with purpose.

Entering the Telstra Best of Business Awards will help business owners take their business to the
next level. The rigorous judging process will seek to identify those who are having an impact in the
areas and industries most important to Australia’s growth.