The Southern Region winners will go on to represent the state at the national awards in November, where they will compete for the title of 2014 Australian EY Entrepreneur Of The Year.
Baker’s Delight founders, Lesley Gillespie OAM and Roger Gillespie OAM, were awarded Champions of Entrepreneurship, while Aesop’s Michael O’Keeffe, walked away with the Industry award.
EY’s Melbourne managing partner, Gerard Dalbosco, congratulated the winners, saying they represented the high quality and diversity of the region’s entrepreneurial talent.
“Successful entrepreneurs have an extraordinary passion, self-belief and drive that keeps them going when others might give up,” Dalbosco said.
“Because of this, they are able to make a significant contribution to Australia’s economy and to the community by creating jobs, driving productivity, fuelling growth and inspiring others to act on business opportunities.
“Each of our 2014 Southern Region awards winners has demonstrated outstanding innovation, determination and entrepreneurial spirit. On behalf of EY, I congratulate them on their achievements and wish them the best of luck as they go on to represent Victoria at the national awards in November,” Dalbosco said.sley Gillespie, Rger
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is conducted across 145 cities in more than 60 countries. Over 1200 outstanding entrepreneurs have been recognised through the Entrepreneur Of The Year program in Australia since 2001.
The overall 2014 Australian winner will be named at a gala ceremony in Melbourne on November 20. The national winner will then go on to represent the country and compete in the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in Monte Carlo next June, following in the footsteps of last year’s Australian winner Andrew Bassat of Seek.
Michael O’Keeffe – Aesop
Michael O’Keeffe is the CEO of Aesop, an Australian cosmetics line founded in Melbourne in 1987.
He joined the business in 2003 after a diverse career that even included a short stint as a professional cyclist.
From the start, he was convinced that Aesop had a global opportunity if he transformed the company from a wholesaler into a retailer. Today, Aesop has a presence in 12 countries and a strong, creative and innovative brand.
Over the next five years, O’Keefe is planning expand Aesop to 20 countries while still manufacturing all their products locally.
What the judges said: “Michael O’Keeffe’s flair for executing the grandest of visions has seen him successfully transform Aesop into a global, vertically integrated business. Michael has achieved tremendous growth since taking the reins of this distinctive Australian brand in 2005. His ability to achieve this in a competitive segment, while remaining true to Aesop’s core beliefs, is a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit and integrity.”
Category: Champions of Entrepreneurship
Lesley Gillespie OAM and Roger Gillespie OAM – Bakers Delight
The Champion of Entrepreneurship award is a lifetime achievement award that recognises individuals who have a long term record of outstanding entrepreneurial achievement; have driven the growth of an Australian company, or companies, over a sustained period of time; and have made a significant contribution to their community.
Lesley Gillespie is co-founder, executive director and joint CEO of Bakers Delight as well as a director and co-owner of grocery chain, NQR. Her achievements include being a finalist in the 2004 Prime Minister’s Award for Community Partnerships, receiving the 2002 Boroondara Citizen of the Year (shared with her husband Roger), an OAM in 2006 and a Fellowship from Monash University in 2013 where she gained an Honours Degree in Science and a Diploma of Education.
Apart from the ongoing and active partnership of Bakers Delight and BCNA, Lesley is also the patron of the Margaret Pratt Foundation which supports research into transplanted organ rejection.
Roger Gillespie is co-founder and executive chairman of Bakers Delight, the largest national chain of bakeries in Australia with more than 700 bakeries operating throughout Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
Roger has been inducted into the Hall of Fame for both the Swinburne University of Technology’s Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship (AGSE) and the Franchising Council of Australia.
He has been named Citizen of the Year for the City of Boroondara (shared with his wife Lesley) and was granted an Order of Australia for his tireless work within the community. He is a board member of the Cranlana Programme, a director of Epic Health, director of NQR, president of the Australian Retailers’ Association, and a board member of the Bionics Institute.