The winners of the 2017 Talent Unleashed Awards were announced at a live event recently in Melbourne, where Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Talent founder and Executive Chairman Richard Earl awarded the global winners from Australia, New Zealand, the UK and America.
The event marked the fifth year of the Awards by Talent, an Australian technology and IT services recruitment business, with Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson joining Steve Wozniak on the global judging panel to determine the most ground-breaking startups and innovators of 2017.
For the first time, entrants from the United States competed against entrants from the APAC and EMEA regions.
The Talent Unleashed Award winners are:
- Best Idea – One To Watch: Life Whisperer (Australia)
- Best Idea – One To Watch: Grainster (USA)
- Best Start-Up: CancerAid (Australia)
- Best Start-Up – Tech or Digital Innovation: BrickX (Australia)
- Most Disruptive Technology or Digital Leader: Nick Whitehouse, Minter Ellison (New Zealand)
- Most Progressive Workplace Leader: Annie Parker, Fishburners (Australia)
In comments at the award ceremony in Melbourne, Mr Wozniak recognised the prevalence of stellar leaders and innovators amongst this year’s Talent Unleashed finalists and winners. “The quality was absolutely amazing and judging was a pleasure, even if it did keep me up all night!”
“People are always at the centre of the best technological innovation. The truly outstanding, inspirational developments in tech are rarely about efficiency and profit alone; they’re about making people’s lives better, and encouraging and enabling people to do their best work and live their best lives. That’s the unifying theme this year.”
What does this mean for Australian startups?
Mr Wozniak also reflected on the need for rapid innovation in Australia, and around the world. “In an age of automation and digitisation, it is astounding the number of industries that lag behind. I’m thrilled to see so many frontrunners driving the acceleration of their industry through technology; artificial intelligence and machine learning was particular prevalent in this year’s awards submissions.”
Sir Richard Branson added “I’m very impressed by the originality and invention evident in the Unleashed entries this year. There are a lot of smart, visionary people behind the finalists, and it’s a pity to have to choose only one winner in each category.”
On another note Sir Richard described how pleasing it was to see a new Unleashed category this year recognising Progressive Leadership. “Virgin Unite’s B Team has created a global movement called 100% Human at Work, which Talent helped us to launch in Australia earlier this year. Based around treating employees as people not resources it focuses on 5 key pillars – Respect, Equality, Purpose, Belonging, and Growth. This new category is talks directly to these principles and it’s fantastic that all 3 finalists are female. Time to step up, gentlemen!”
Speaking at the awards, Richard Earl, Chairman and founder of Talent, said “The calibre of the line-up of finalists and winners this year was wonderful to see.”
“As always, this year’s Australian entrepreneurs have come through strongly in an incredibly competitive field – the fact that all three finalists pitching live for the global Best Idea – One to Watch Award were Australian is proof of the growing energy and vitality in the startup sphere here in Australia, which is exactly what the Awards are designed to support and encourage.”
“We were thrilled to welcome American innovators to the Awards for the first time this year following our expansion into the United States, and look forward to seeing more American entrants taking the stage next year,” said Mr Earl.
The Global Grand Prize winners will be provided an all-expenses paid trip to Silicon Valley to visit the homes of global technology companies, meet with leaders in the sector and visit Talent’s San Francisco offices, which recently celebrated their first birthday.