Media Release

Record number of Scholars and women take 2021 Industry Leaders Fund grants

Record numbers of South Australian business leaders have been awarded the opportunity to expand their companies and workforces through the 2021 Industry Leaders Fund (ILF) program.

The 39 Scholars were awarded grants worth a combined $514,000, topping the ILF’s annual total for its 12-year history, with 15 women amongst successful candidates, in line with National benchmarks to support women business leaders.

The ILF, which helps current and future SA business executives achieve their full potential through professional education, presented the new Scholars at an awards ceremony on Monday, September 27 at the National Wine Centre.

South Australian business leaders are demonstrating noticeably increased confidence as indicated by BankSA and William Buck surveys, said ILF chief executive Geoff Vogt.

“Successful candidates increasingly represent companies which are producing intangible products, based on intellectual property, and less produce physical goods.

“This comes in step with a rise in the popularity of an Adelaide based education course, with a record ten Scholars selecting the same course, turning to the University of Adelaide’s Transformative Leadership Program in Adelaide and Austin, Texas”, he said. 

Among the new 2021 Scholars studying Transformative Leadership at University of Adelaide are;

Christie Bailey, director at architectural firm Brown Falconer who aims to transition from project leadership to business leadership at the 75-year-old business.

Tamara Leclercq, senior project officer at SAHMRI’s Adelaide BioMed City Innovation District, is a high-achieving medical researcher expected to lead significant growth in the State’s biomedical sector.

Chad Elson, CEO of Gibson Wines, to build on the strong sales and market strategies for the Barossa Valley wine producer.

Bianca Hoffman, Head of Marketing at Phil Hoffman Travel, to help build her father’s legacy in growing a business to become a strong national travel agency.

Since the scheme began in 2010, its Scholars have created 2632 South Australian jobs with the average grant dollar cost per South Australian job now at $800 from $7,600 five years ago- lower than other job creation programs in the State and favourably comparable against any global benchmark, Mr Vogt said.

Now in its twelfth year, the ILF program has awarded 237 grants totalling $2.86 million and provides a platform for the State’s business entrepreneurs and leaders to fast-track their careers through the knowledge and experience gained from their educational opportunities.

The inaugural David B McNeil Award for a Scholar nominating the University of Adelaide Transformative Leadership Program, was conferred upon Ben Klason, National Enterprise and Marketing Manager for information and communication technology manufacturer LEADER. Starting as a LEADER-authorised agent in regional NSW, he later joined the company and within 12 months was asked to relocate and establish a new warehouse and office in Melbourne which grew beyond expectations. He then relocated to Adelaide and has been instrumental in the growth of the largest Australian owned computer manufacturer in Australia.

The 2021 Scholars will attend programs offered by Harvard Business School, INSEAD Singapore, IESE Business School, Oxford’s Said Business School, Melbourne Business School, the University of Adelaide, Stanford Graduate School of Business, the University of South Australia, MIT, Shinka Management and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Recipients comprise executives, managers and leaders from diverse industry sectors such as food and beverage, IT, manufacturing, medical, distribution, energy, education, fashion, agribusiness, building, engineering and travel.

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 state’s leading education grants provider and is credited with developing some of South Australia’s highest achievers.

The 2021 Scholars are: Christie Bailey (Brown Falconer); Aaron Bain (Ahrens Group) Navtej Bal (Ironwood Institute); Kirsty Chapman-Smith (Discount Party Supplies); Tim Chopping (SRA Information Technology); Ricardo Conti (Peregrine Corporation); Cain Cooke (LogicPlus); Gosia Davis (BAE Systems); Adrien Doucet (Nuemann Space); Sean Ebert (International Fashion Labels Group); Chad Elson (Gibson Wines); Kylee Harry (Hickinbotham Group); James Higgins (Master Butchers Cooperative); Bianca Hoffman (Phil Hoffman Travel); Dean Johnson (Cooper Energy); Richard Jones (MaxMine); Ben Klason (LEADER); George Korniotakis (Thomas Foods International);  Theo Kristoris (LEADER Systems); Mark Krstic (The Australian Wine Research Institute); Shane Laidlaw (CABN); Tamara Leclercq (Adelaide BioMed City Innovation District); David Malovka (ElectraNet); Ennio Mercuri (Ennio International); Paul Moore (SAGE Group); Beau Murfitt (Camms); Stephanie Panait (Eat Me Patisserie); Lozanne Pretorius (Mitsubishi Motors Australia); Todd Shipway (B L Shipway & Co); Emma Stone (Kelly Engineering); Suzannah Toop (Virtual Agent/Lululiv); Yvette Van Eenennaam (Adelaide BioMed City Innovation District); Eric van Ryswyk (Codium); Marion Vigot (Mister RYE and Compostable Alternatives); Andrew Warner (Fyfe); Michaela Webster (G’Day Group); Emily Welyhorskyj (HenderCare); Judson Wheatley (De Bruin Engineering) Ellen Wundersitz (Space Craft Joinery).

This year’s Scholars were presented with their grants by the Premier, Steven Marshall, MP.


Geoff Vogt
CEO Industry Leaders Fund Inc
0457 900 202