Small business tradies gear up to cement their legacy at national awards

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
5 Min Read

Aussie tradies can get their traditional early start ahead of the upcoming 2024 Australian Trades Small Business Champion Awards, as the sector prepares to shine a floodlight on trades-based small businesses. 

The awards are an opportunity for the trade sector to hammer home its role as the backbone of the nation’s construction industry, acknowledging tradies’ vital role in keeping their local communities functioning. 

Created to celebrate and inspire Australia’s most innovative, dynamic, and top-performing tradies, the honours will recognise the best small business operators in every state. 

Five different honours will be awarded for each of the 50 trade categories represented, with awards including Apprentice Champion, Champion Tradie, Small Business Trades Entrepreneur, Young Small Business Trades Entrepreneur and Trades Champion Leader. 

trades small business champion awards
The 2024 Australian Trades Small Business Champion Awards helps small trade businesses get recognised for all their hard work.

But with plenty of accolades comes even more competition, with recent data indicating almost two million tradies are actively employed in Australia, with Masterbuilders declaring the nation will need 500,000 more to keep pace with construction demands.

Awards founder and managing director Steve Loe says the now annual event celebrates the critically essential role tradies play in keeping the country running.

“Small business owners in trade industries are crucially important to Australia. Their contributions to this country are simply astronomical. So, it’s in the interests of all Australians to recognise the champions of this sector and, in doing so, consider how we can better support them so they can continue to support us,” he said.

“A trade career typically means early starts, long days, and exhausting labour, and for owners, this is in addition to all the pressures that come with running a small business. It can be a taxing career, and those who perform to a high standard ought to be acknowledged in a big way – which is what these Awards are all about.” 

“Owners from all parts of the country are encouraged to enter the Awards – free of charge – as we strive to celebrate the tradies behind the small businesses that contribute so significantly to our national economy and help to shape their local communities in so many meaningful ways.” 

Small business owner stats: 

  • 45 per cent say it’s now harder to meet deadlines than pre-Covid.
  • 71 per cent feel they are subject to too much regulation and pay too much tax. 
  • 61 per cent say they need more government support to take action on climate change, cyber security, innovation, and local manufacturing.
  • 74 per cent would rather purchase supplies from an Australian manufacturer. 
  • 22 per cent have implemented Artificial Intelligence (AI) into their operations.
  • An additional 39 per cent are considering AI implementation in the near future.
  • 63 per cent of small business owners work more than five days a week.

Past winners build business to new heights

Mornington Turfing and Landscaping owner Jacob Free picked up the Young Small Business Champion Trades gong last year for his demonstrated entrepreneurial skills.

He says the award has pushed him to further excel at his craft, helping his trade business grow to the next level. 

“The recognition from this prestigious award has been a major boost for my business,” he said.

“It’s opened doors to exciting new collaborations on diverse projects, and increased visibility has allowed me to give back to the community by hosting monthly giveaways of my services to those in need.”

Landscaper Jacob Free picked up the Young Small Business Trades Champion Award last year and has since seen his company grow to new heights.

Mr Loe hopes the award’s numerous apprentice and under 30s categories can help inspire the next generation of tradies, desperately needed to help tackle Australia’s skilled worker shortage. 

“The Australian trades sector is arguably amongst the most complex, but it’s also among the most innovative, resilient and certainly hardworking,” he said. 

Eligible small businesses must be based in Australia, be a trade or service business provider with under 41 employees, or a trade manufacturing business under 101.

The 2024 Australian Trades Small Business Champion Awards finalists will be announced in July, with the national finals to be held on Friday, 23 August 2024, at The Star in Sydney. 

Online entry is free and will remain open until 5 pm (AEST) on Thursday 4 July 2024.

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.