Media Release

2020 Industry Leaders Fund Scholars Aim for World’s Best Products

2020 Industry Leaders Fund scholars aim for worlds best products

South Australian business leaders are showing unprecedented confidence with aims to dominate the world stage with their products and businesses in the 2020 Industry Leaders Fund (ILF) program.

The ILF, which helps current and future SA business executives achieve their full potential through professional education, presented 22 grants totalling $257,000 to scholars at an awards ceremony on Monday, September 21 at the National Wine Centre.

The ceremony also recognised an outstanding contributor to the States economy. Some successful applicants had been recognised for worlds best products or businesses in medical, beverage and software development, said ILF chief executive Geoff Vogt.

This year several applicants provided the most exciting picture of the future in the ILFs history, Mr Vogt said. At least three new Scholars articulated an intention to make their business or
product recognised as the best in the world. South Australians have traditionally been the first and best in the world, but for many years shy to say so. This new willingness to be bold seems to signal a change in the confidence of South Australian business leaders.

Among the new 2020 scholars with global aspirations are; Sacha La Forgia, founder of Adelaide Hills Distillery awarded Distiller of the Year at the 2020 Icons of Gin Awards, London in February. Mr La Forgia will undertake the High Performance Leadership course at the Said Business School, Oxford when travel permits.

Dr Greg Miller, co-founder and innovation director of Australias first dental implant manufacturer ATi Implants who is developing dental implant systems for the global market. Dr Miller will study a Global Management certificate at INSEAD Singapore.

Alexei Fey, chief executive of 25-year-old IT solutions provider Comunet who plans to expand on its world-leading expertise in provision of safety and compliance services for aviation to other industries. Mr Fey will take part in The Oxford Strategic Leadership Program at the Said Business School in the United Kingdom.

Since the scheme began in 2010, its scholars have created 2285 South Australian jobs with the average grant dollar cost per South Australian job now at $800 from $7600 four years ago lower than other job creation programs in the State and favourably comparable against any global benchmark, Mr Vogt said.

Now in its eleventh year, the ILF program has awarded 199 grants totalling $2.356 million and provides a platform for the States business entrepreneurs and leaders to fast-track their careers through the knowledge and experience gained from their educational opportunities.

This year marked the first recipient of the Colin J Peters AM Memorial Award, instigated by the family of Fund architect and former chief executive of Castalloy. It is awarded to the business leader who has made the biggest difference in employment and wealth generation in South Australia.

REDARC Electronics chief executive Anthony Kittel was handed the inaugural award for his work as an outstanding manufacturer and employer, among many criteria, since receiving his ILF grant in 2010. Mr Kittel had engaged in modern manufacturing to expand the companys turnover by 500 per cent in a decade, now employing more than 200 workers, a 285% increase at REDARCs Lonsdale headquarters.

The ILF Board said he has contributed actively to the goals of the ILF as inaugural chairman of the Scholars Committee and is an active mentor and supporter of other business leaders, energetically engaged in industry bodies and a contributor to community activities.

The 2020 scholars will attend programs offered by Harvard Business School, INSEAD Singapore, Oxfords Said Business School, Melbourne Business School, the University of Adelaide, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and the University of South Australia.

Recipients comprise executives, managers and leaders from diverse industry sectors such as food and beverage, IT, manufacturing, medical, transport, mining and energy, agribusiness, building, engineering and defence.

The ILF, a non-government organisation, is private-sector funded and has cemented its position as the leading fund in its field since transitioning from a state-based apprentice training scheme.

It is now recognised as the states leading education grants provider and is credited with developing some of South Australias highest achievers.

The 2020 scholars are: Richard Angove (Angove Family Winemakers); Lisa Bosworth (Samaras Structural Engineers); Edward Carlson (Lumination); Jarrad Cassaretto (Casarosa Almonds); Tom Cross (REDARC Electronics); Dion Draper (SAGE Group); Alexei Fey (Comunet); Matthew Hedges (Saab Australia); Michael Hickinbotham (Hickinbotham Group); Henri Hugo (Key Tubing and Electrical); Sacha La Forgia (Adelaide Hills Distillery); Mitchell Lloyd (Woodside Cheese Wrights); James McLeay (LMS Energy); Dr Greg Miller (ATi Implants); Keetah Murphy (Spring Gully Foods); Damien Puyenbroek (Lifestyle Bakery); Damien Rankine (Dominant Australia); StuartRogers (Williams Metal Fabrication); Shahin Sayyar Dashti (Austofix); Burkhard Seifert (OZ Minerals); Nathan Wessling (AJ & PA McBride); Craig Whitton (Northline).

This years scholars were presented with their grants by South Australian Commissioner of Police Grant Stevens APM.