Celebrating the passion, vision and achievements of South Australia’s young entrepreneurs and leaders.


An assessment panel representing the South Australian business community will judge the nominees against the selection criteria, and identify the 40 young leaders who have made in impact in creating or growing a business in South Australia.

Chair of Judges

Joel Abraham

ThincLab, The University of Adelaide

About Joel

Joel Abraham has over 20 years of commercial experience, is a marketing and finance graduate from Flinders University (Adelaide), holds an International Certificate in Corporate Finance from Columbia University (NY, USA) and undertaken the Company Directors Course from AICD (Australia).

Between 2005-2018 Joel was the Joint- CEO of Australian Institute of Business and during this time led the business through the turnaround from a small family-business to become the largest MBA provider in Australia and one of the largest private higher education institutions in Australia – culminating with an exit to a top- decile private equity firm.

Joel is now an active director and investor, specifically working with South Australian businesses. He sits on several boards (including Australian Institute of Business, Business SA, and Trellis Technologies), invests in high growth SME’s, and coaches several South Australian CEO’s directly and through his role as Growth Specialist at Adelaide University’s incubator – ThincLab.

Alison Lloydd-wright

New State of Mind

About Alison

Alison Lloydd-Wright is an Executive Director in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, leading a whole of government approach to growing South Australia’s population through attraction and retention of young global talent. Alison is passionate about elevating our state’s young leaders and helping South Australia unleash its potential and reclaim its identity and confidence as the progressive place it has always been.

Aaron Hickmann


About Aaron

A serial entrepreneur, Aaron started his first business as a 15-year-old while still at high school. He has since established, sold and grown ventures within the technology sector. Passionate about collaboration, innovation and returning manufacturing to Australia, he is demonstrating that it can be achieved through the adoption of advanced technology to achieve cost comparative products while exceeding quality standards.

With over ten years of experience in the lighting industry, Aaron has forged relationships with ‘best of breed’ entrepreneurs and innovators across the globe, from Silicon Valley to Germany and Japan. His renewed focus is working on R&D projects which reimagine lighting technology of the future.

Elisa Pecorelli

Business SA

About Elisa

Elisa Pecorelli has over 20 years’ experience in creating, implementing, and operationalising advisory and regulatory functions within the customer service industry.

Elisa’s portfolio is responsible for ensuring Business SA facilitates business growth and improves outcomes for South Australian businesses through a cohesive range of services and programs.

Elisa is a passionate leader focused on continuous improvement, specialising in managing and leading operational staff in complex environments with a style that exhibits strong coaching skills and enables employees to understand and embrace organisational cultural values while developing their personal and professional attributes.

Will Fennell

Piper Alderman

About Will

Will is a taxation specialist at Piper Alderman who provides state, federal and international taxation advice to a range of corporate, commercial and private clients.

Much of Will’s work involves the provision of specialist taxation advice in the context of corporate restructures, business sale transactions and private client advisory. Will also advises the charities sector in relation to a range of taxation and governance issues.

In addition to advisory work, Will also manages disputes with state and federal taxation authorities, and has an excellent track record in securing positive outcomes for his clients.

David O’Loughlin


About David

During his 30+ year career, David has worked across Australia and around the world on some of the most globally recognised brands. In 2011 and after six years in Sydney and 16 years away from Adelaide, David decided to return home taking up the position of Director, Marketing & Communications with the South Australian Tourism Commission.

In 2014 David returned to the private sector working for the nationally renowned and wholly independent strategic communications company KWPX, where he is now CEO.

David is also a Director of KWPX, a Director of Business SA – South Australia’s chamber of commerce and industry, a Director of The State Theatre Company South Australia and a Director of Bridging the Gap Foundation – part of the Menzies School of Indigenous Health & Research and Charles Darwin University.

Carmen Garcia

Community Corporate

About Carmen

Carmen is the founder and CEO of the national certified social enterprise Community Corporate, which operates in the niche space of corporate social responsibility. The company activates and implements customised strategies in diversity and inclusion to facilitate recruitment with a social conscience and drive social impact. Some of the company’s clients include Woolworths, IKEA and On the Run supporting hundreds of refugees, migrants, youth and women access work across Australia.

Carmen was listed in the inaugural 2018 Top 40 Under 40, and awarded the individual State Contribution Award. She helped establish and leads the 40 Under 40 Alumni. Community Corporate won the 2020 National Social Enterprise of the Year at the Australian Small Business Champions Awards and Carmen’s 20+ year career was recognised in 2020 as the winner of the Governor’s Multicultural Awards for Individual Outstanding Achievement.

Dr Tiffany Lee De Sousa Machado

Adelaide Business School

About Tiffany

Dr Tiffany De Sousa Machado completed her Ph.D. in Psychology and Business and is the founder and CEO of The Village Foundation. Prior to this, Tiffany worked in the corporate sector in national operations management, program design and facilitation, team and event management, executive sales and marketing, retail and hospitality management, and corporate training.

Tiffany was awarded a prestigious Westpac Future Leader Scholarship in 2017, and a Westpac Social Change Fellowship in 2022 for The Village Foundation, and was the Westpac W100 National Executive Co-Chair.

Tiffany is a Course Coordinator and Lecture at the University of Adelaide Business School, in the Entrepreneurship division.

Jennifer Staines


About Jennifer

Jennifer Staines is the Corporate Affairs and Community Relations Manager at Peregrine and OTR. Jennifer is responsible for all strategic communications, public relations and community relations, including OTR charity Program OTRGive.

Jennifer is skilled at stakeholder engagement, media relations, legal communications, government relations and issues management.

Prior to working at OTR Jennifer worked as the Ministerial Liaison Officer for the minister for Innovation and Skills, and as a Ministerial Briefing Officer to the Minister for Education, she has consulted to the Royal Australian Airforce and was the Industry Engagement Manager for the Future Submarine Program.

Matthew Illman

William Buck

About Matt

Matthew is a Business Advisory Director of William Buck, specialising in tax and business advisory services for small to medium business. He works across a range of industries including primary production, property, health and professional services. Matthew thrives on working closely with his clients to achieve outstanding results.

Throughout his career, Matthew has been a regular contributor to the profession through various speaking engagements and networking programs.

Zoe Harrison


About Zoe

Zoe Harrison is the Chief Business Development Officer at CMAX Clinical Research, leading the company’s business development and study start-up teams. With over ten years’ experience at CMAX, including in project management, Zoe enjoys leveraging local medical and scientific expertise to help initiate successful clinical drug trials for CMAX’s international biopharmaceutical clients.

Zoe holds a Master of Public Health and Health Management, and is a long-standing member of the CMAX Executive Team.

Dani Cuff

Harrison McMillan

About Dani

Dani is the CEO and Founder of Harrison McMillan, a multi-award winning South Australian recruitment business driven by innovation, using best of breed technology to provide state-of-the-art recruitment solutions for its customers.

Dani has over 16 years of experience and holds a deep knowledge of business, human resources and the recruitment sector with a passionate for innovation and people.

Dani is a 40 under 40 recipient, a finalist for Telstra business women’s awards and holds Master of Business Administration. All of which has given Dani the ability to understand the big picture of organisations whilst also recognising the grass roots of operations, enabling her and Harrison McMillan to tailor solutions based on individual company needs.

Johnny von Einem


About Johnny

Johnny von Einem is the editor of CityMag, Solstice Media’s premier youth-focussed magazine. In addition to covering arts, hospitality and business in the city for almost a decade, Johnny mentors emerging writers through writer-in-residence programs with The Mill and FELTspace.

Jim Plouffe

Solstice Media

About Jim

Jim is the Publisher of CityMag and the Business Editor at InDaily and has covered South Australia for the past 13 years. He is also the Chair of the Road Users Safety Advisory Committee, the President of Henley Surf Life Saving Club and on the Board of Festival City Adelaide.

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