Win an award that says something about YOU

This week's guest blogger is Charlie Gunningham, CEO of Techboard's major Western Australian distribution partner, Business News. Before working at Business News Charlie founded his own startup which Charlie sold to REIWA.

When I ran my tech startup, back in the 2000s, I found that one of the best ways to promote my business was to win awards. I had little money for marketing, and found the editorial coverage and PR advantages from award winning immensely powerful.

When our business was a fragile 6 month old we won the ‘Best E-Commerce Innovation’ award at the grand sounding (but now defunct) WA Asia-Pacific IT&T Awards.

We were up against some big players, and we were amazed to be a finalist, let alone win the whole thing. Two years later we returned to win again, including the People’s Choice award too. It gave us a massive morale boost, and it got us through some tough times. It also led to a lot of free press, and from then on we could refer to ourselves as ‘award-winning’.

After that first win, we would enter about 2 or 3 business awards a year, and make sure we selected wisely (the entry process can take up quite a bit of time) so that we had a good chance of being a finalist, if not an outright winner. I am proud to say we won at least one major award every year from then on.

The proliferation of awards programs may have devalued some of them these days, but there are still valuable ones out there. You can choose from industry specific ones organised by your peak body or overall business awards run by the media organisations or local business associations.

Wind on 15 or so years, and these days I tend to be on the judges’ side of the table. This is particularly interesting in that for one of these, the Business News 40under40 Awards, I was also a winner (back in 2003, when I was under 40). Agh, those were the days... #sigh#

The 40under40 Awards has been running since 2002. Business News had brought the idea back from the States where various business publishers had started them in the 1990s.

Both Oprah Winfrey and unknown community organiser Barack Obama won a 40under40 Award run by Crains Chicago Business. Fortune and other publishers still run 40under40s to this day.

The Business News 40under40 is now in its 16th year, and nominations are NOW OPEN.

You don’t have to be an Oprah Winfrey or a Barack Obama; but then again, neither were they at the time. They had shown promise before the age of 40 but went on to even greater things.

As do all 40 under 40s it would appear. At the moment, we are researching all 600 WA winners since that first year in 2002, and we will be publishing a book about them to coincide with the Awards night on March 8th 2017.

It is inspiring to hear their stories. If the future of WA’s economy is in their hands, we will be just fine. From people who cure blindness in outback Australia, to building up a huge apartments business to running a digital agency and everything in between, the stories of the 40under40s are many and varied.

We’ve even filmed a few recent winners – like the wonderful Bourby Webster from the Perth Symphony Orchestra (she started a whole orchestra), or Betty Tran who is doing amazing things in the world of fashion, or the driven Bernard Chia from Alyka (now 10 years old and well established digital business), or Philippa Vojnovic who has since gone on to award winning mental health app, All of Me. You can see their videos below.


So are you a future 40under40 winner? Do you know anyone who might fit the bill?

Do something for your own/their brand and nominate today. All entrants receive a free workshop on how to tell your story (from our sponsors Lush Media) and a ticket to the glittering event in March 2017.

Nominations close 23rd November – NOMINATE HERE.

I can tell you one thing – if you don’t enter, you’ll have no chance; and from what I know about startup and techie people, you like to have a go...

Charlie Gunningham


For more information on the 40under40 Awards, contact Business News, or Charlie Gunningham on [email protected]

Leave a Reply