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Young entrepreneurs celebrated at this year’s Young Hero Awards

Last week young entrepreneurs and the next generation of Australian business leaders were recognised and celebrated at the Young Hero Awards show, hosted at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne. The awards show was presented by Commonwealth Bank and sponsored by Optus, Coinspot, and Blackmagic Design. It was a feature event of SmallBiz Week and Fintech 21 events, which proceed the next days at Marvel Stadium. The Young Hero Awards is an awards program dedicated to celebrating business leaders under thirty-five years old who are making incredible contributions to the market and shaping the future of Australian business. On 17 May 2022, the well-deserved young heroes were finally revealed at the Young Hero Awards show:

Young Hero Awards Winners for 2022:

Benjemen Elengovan, CEO & Founder of MyGigsters presented the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award presented by Commonwealth Bank’s Executive General Manager Small Business Banking, Clare Morgan.

Entrepreneur of the Year – Benjemen Elengovan, CEO & Founder of MyGigsters

Award presented by: Commonwealth Bank

➤ MyGigsters is a community-backed platform that enables gig workers to access financial services, helping them become financially secure. This platform captures real-time data on their gig earnings and expenses. It uses these data to offer specific insights to maximise their earnings, save money on taxes, and access financial products. Their mission is to build the largest, safest and most financially secure gig workers community in the world.

Emily Bobis, Founder of Compass IoT accepting the “Startup of the Year” award at Young Hero Awards, presented by Commonwealth Bank’s General Manager Small Business Sales Service VIC/TAS, Sara Sutton.

Startup of the Year – Emily Bobis, Founder of Compass IoT

Award presented by: Commonwealth Bank

➤ As a company, Compass IoT is consistently innovating in an industry that has been using some of the same manual and hardware-reliant processes for the last 100 years. They offer cloud connected vehicle insights that are unique to Compass and are driving change and technological disruption across the way our cities are built and maintained, and how drivers are kept safe, how they are charged for insurance, and the quality of roads they drive on.

Business Innovation Award – Dr Sam Donegan, CEO/Director of Ally Assist


Award presented by: Optus

➤ Ally Assist brings in allied health university students to work with children’s allied health professionals (AHPs). The student is able to run with the plan the AHP has created, see the child more often (because the student is more affordable) and report back to the AHP about progress. This provides children with somebody that is affordable, available and deeply invested in their therapy. It provides AHP with more time to see other clients on their long waitlists, and it provides the student paid work experience related to their field of study.

Blockchain Award – Tristan Cole, Co-Founder of Sempo

Award presented by: Coinspot

➤ Sempo uses blockchain to create financial inclusion for the most underserved communities on the planet. They make it easy for people without access to bank accounts to send, receive and secure money, regardless of geographic borders. The company focuses on building technology that operates in environments with minimal connectivity, is simple to use for those with lower levels of literacy and ultimately empowers people to take control of their financial future.

Christie Ding, Co-Founder of Brand Catalyser winning the “Best Marketing” award at Young Hero Awards in Melbourne.

Best Marketing Award – Christie Ding, Co-Founder/Head of Client Solutions of Brand Catalyser

Award presented by: ABF Group

➤ Founded in 2017, Brand Catalyser (BC) is a niche cross-cultural advertising agency focuses on customer acquisition in both the Australian and Chinese & South-East Asia landscape. The BC team is made of a group of immigrants from different backgrounds with expertise in digital marketing across China, Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Throughout the year, the company increased their portfolio with eight ongoing clients, and over ten ad-hoc projects spanning across skincare, personal care, oral supplements, kids apparel, real estate and alcoholic beverages.

Martin Karafilis, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer of Tiliter accepts the “Innovator of the Year” award, presented by Blackmagic Design.

Innovator of the Year – Martin Karafilis, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer of Tiliter

Award presented by: Blackmagic Design

➤ Tiliter is a fast growing technology company with cutting edge AI software and hardware that has scaled globally with some of the world’s largest clients. With a diverse team, Martin has grown the company and managed to raise significant investment from some of the world leading Angels and VC’s whilst securing some of the most impressive technology contracts seen in this space with large B2B clients such as Woolworths.

Saski Albers, COO & Co-Founder of Unhedged accepts the “Fintech Founder” award, presented by Karen Cohen from Emerging Tech Talent.

Fintech Founder Award – Saski Albers, COO & Co-Founder of Unhedged

Award presented by: Emerging Tech Talent & Women in Emerging Tech

➤ Unhedge is a super simple app, where sophisticated algorithms do the investing for you. The algorithms are designed to outperform. This is also reflected in their fee structure. Besides a low base fee, the success fee only gets charged when the algorithms hit an all-time-high and outperform the benchmark. Algorithmic investing and fees based on actual performance is usually only available to the high end of town. Unhedge shakes up the wealth investment industry with AI/ML powered investing.

Tech Star Award – Emily Rich, Director of Startups for Asia at Microsoft

Award presented by: ABF Group & Small Business Connections media

➤ Emily joined Microsoft in 2018 as Managing Director of Startups for APAC, where she was soon promoted to look after 16+ countries across Asia all by the time she was 30 – making her on of the youngest directors in Microsoft worldwide. Emily is committed to building out startup initiatives and nurturing diverse founder ecosystems in this region for both startups and scaleups to better support their growth and scale.

Judges for the Young Hero Awards 2022 include:

  • Commonwealth Bank‘s Executive General Manager Small Business Banking, Clare Morgan
  • Commonwealth Bank‘s General Manager Small Business Sales Service VIC/TAS, Sara Sutton
  • BlackMagic Design‘s Founder & CEO, Grant Petty
  • Optus‘ Head of Digital, Maree Davidson
  • Optus‘ Head of Business Marketing & Optus Business, Cheri Davies
  • Small Business Connections‘ Editor & TV Co-Host, Alyssa Herr
  • Emerging Tech Talent‘s Founder, Karen Cohen
  • Gravia Media‘s Director & Co-Host of ABF Vision TV, Vivienne Ryan

“There was an overwhelming number of nominations this year (new record!) and we’re thrilled to have so many amazing young entrepreneurs and business leaders to choose from. We can’t wait to celebrate these young heroes’ accomplishments and ambitions. We’re looking forward to announcing the category winners on May 17 at Marvel Stadium for an awards night not to be missed,” Alyssa Herr, Editor, Small Business Connections media.

Finalists for the Young Hero Awards 2022:


Startup of the Year:
Bec Connolly – Founder/Director of Botanicals by Luxe
Aayushi Khillan – Founder & Managing Director of Body Buddies
Thomas Fu – Director & Co-founder of Motor Culture Australia
Emily Bobis – Founder of Compass IoT

Business Innovation Award:
Adel Shahin – Head of Marketing of Novatti
Alicia Holmquest – Co-Founder of WIRL
Dr Sam Donegan – CEO/Director of Ally Assist

Best Marketing Award:
Judy Sahay – CEO of Crowd Media Group
Ellen Weigall – Founder/Director of BABY Pink Gin
Christie Ding – Co-Founder/Head of Client Solutions of Brand Catalyser

Blockchain Award:
Samira Tollo – CTO of Elbaite
Danielle Marie – Founder of She’s Blockchain Savvy
Tristan Cole – Co-Founder of Sempo

Entrepreneur of the Year:
Julia Truong – Creative Director of JT. Production Management
Benjemen Elengovan – CEO & Founder of MyGigsters
Camille Socquet-Clerc – CEO & Founder of Bloom Impact Investing

Innovator of the Year:
Sophia Hamblin Wang – Chief Operating Officer of Mineral Carbonation International
Dominic Woolrych – CEO of Lawpath
Martin Karafilis – Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer of Tiliter

Fintech Founder Award:
Saskia Albers – COO & Co-Founder of Unhedged
Sam Brown – Founder/CEO of Pelikin
Vincy Wong – Head of ChinaPayments of Novatti
Jonathan Despinidic – Co-Founder of Sipora Pty Ltd

Tech Star
Aamir Qutub – Founder, Enterprise Monkey
Anthony Kwok – Founder, ZILIO
Emily Rich – CEO, Microsoft


The Young Hero Awards was hosted at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne on May 17 and presented by Commonwealth Bank and sponsored by Optus, Coinspot, Blackmagic Design and Small Business Connections media.


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