Eight impressive innovators have been rewarded at the 2010 Telstra Business Women’s Awards, taking out the state titles for the Nokia Business Innovation Award.
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The award recognises the successful introduction of innovation within a business or workplace.
Victorian recipient Alexandra Wardle is the CEO of Qubies, a one-woman operation providing upside-down ice cube trays designed specifically for baby food.
A self-confessed ‘mumpreneur’, Wardle had the idea after becoming frustrated over the lack of available containers designed for storing and freezing baby food.
In getting her product to market, Wardle faced the challenges of learning how to create a product from plastic, and finding a manufacturer who was prepared to back her.
Wardle overcame these obstacles and now mentors other mothers starting up small businesses. She says parents should not be put off by the challenging nature of start-ups.
“It’s so easy to be told ‘no’ and sit back and think ‘oh well’. But I want other mums to know it is possible,” she says.
Physiotherapist Marnie Douglas is the NSW winner of the award. Douglas turned her passion into a profession when she opened her own physiotherapy clinic, Ergoworks, in 2003.
After discovering a trend in ergonomic-related injuries, Douglas expanded the business to include a national ergonomics consultancy, helping companies reduce workers compensation claims and helping to improve staff wellbeing.
She says her greatest achievement is the development of an online workstation assessment tool, ErgoAssess.
“The product is designed to enable businesses to determine the risk of injury for people using a computer and therefore minimise workplace injuries,” Douglas says.
Other recipients of the award are responsible for a host of innovations including a mobile health service for horses, a cheesemaker in residence program, Australia’s first fibre-composite bridge, and the first aggregated online portal for the culinary tourism industry.