Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram An Aboriginal woman who lived in a tent for two years in a remote part of the Northern Territory before going on to develop her own seafood empire, is among the winners of the 2012 Ethnic Business Awards. Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott joined the awards at a special gala dinner in Sydney last week, which aims to recognise Australia’s diverse people and the contribution they’ve made to business, innovation and the community The three categories included were Indigenous in Business, Small Business and Medium to Large Business. Entries from all over Australia were accepted and were open to migrants and first generation Australians. Yvonne Bradley, who won the Indigenous in Business award, began catching crabs with her husband Neil by the Wearyan River in remote Borroloola. Soon their fishing expertise developed into a thriving commercial seafood operation that is distributing to markets across Australia. Bradley’s Seafood has now doubled the size of its operations in three years and continues to grow. Speaking to Neos Kosmos, Mrs Bradley explains just how much they had to overcome to get the business up and running. “We had to improvise and do the things we had to do to make it work. We moved out there for the environment and we ended up liking the area and selling everything we had in Queensland and moving away to a tent. “We get flooded out every year but we’ve learnt to improvise. No matter what kind of weather condition it is, we still go to work,” she says. Very humble about her win, asking her what she will do with the prize money, she admits she hadn’t even thought of it: “I might buy myself a new outfit or might go on a trip with the family, who knows?” Also winning the Medium to Large Business award was Faddy Zouki, who fled war-ravaged Lebanon and settled in Melbourne. He won for his company’s innovative retail model that has transformed the food, cafe and retail experience in our hospitals and health facilities. Over 60 outlets operate under the Zouki banner across Australia. Initially a welder, Salem Sukkar won the Small Business award with his fine dairy foods. Buying a farm in NSW, Sukkar wanted to follow in his mother’s footsteps and started producing high quality dairy goods for the State. Green Valley Dairy now graces Australian supermarkets, and all the products are natural, with no added preservatives or flavours. The Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who comes from a migrant family herself, praised the entrepreneurship of migrants and their unique way of harnessing the best of Australia. “Australia was a great country before post-war migration. But our migrants showed us a way to make it greater still. Ethnic businesses are a big part of the story. Your hard work and self-sacrifice are legendary, from the smallest corner store to the great enterprises founded by migrant pioneers,” she said. Minister for Multiculturalism, Senator Kate Lundy, said the Awards were a way to recognize the large contribution of Australia’s diverse population and give them the recognition they deserve. “Australia’s economic and cultural success owes much to the contribution of its diverse people – from our first inhabitants to more recent waves of migrants settling in this great land. “The skills, experience and spirit of enterprise that they have carried with them have irrevocably transformed the nation’s fortunes and made us richer for it,” Senator Lundy said. The winners each received $10,000 from the National Australia Bank – founding partners of the awards, a unique crystal trophy, and luxurious accommodation at Sydney’s Shangri La Hotel. More than 500 nominations from 53 different countries of origin were received in the 2012 Ethnic Business Awards.