Previous winners - Lord Mayor's Multicultural Awards for Business

2020 winners 

Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Awards for Business for their contribution to the Brisbane economy.

Nick Xynias Multicultural Young Business Person of the Year - Mrs Aishwarya Somal, Emerson Family Pty Ltd

This award recognises the success, creativity and energy of a multicultural young business leader under the age of 35, celebrating both their contribution to their community and that of Brisbane’s continued economic prosperity.

Aishwarya Somal was born and raised in Brisbane by Indian-born parents. After she became the sole Director of Emerson Family Law in 2013, she established Emerson Migration Law in 2015 and Global Pathways Education and Migration Services in 2019. She currently has a team of eight who provide advice on all aspects of Family Law and migration to Australia for both individual and corporate clients. She also works closely with women including victims of domestic and family violence.

Multicultural Business Person of the Year - Mr Canio Muscillo, Muscillo Romano

This award recognises a multicultural Brisbane business leader who successfully exports their products and services from Brisbane, throughout Australia, and/or across Asia Pacific or internationally. The award celebrates the recipient’s contribution to the Brisbane economy and recognises them as a local champion of enterprise with a global outlook for their business. 

Canio Muscillo is a renowned Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Business Advisor of Italian heritage. Canio, with business partner Michele Romano, founded Muro in 2007 and won the Queensland Accounting Firm of the Year. Muro is a Brisbane-based accounting firm that helps business owners achieve financial success both in business and in life. With over 23 years’ experience in the accounting industry, he is highly involved in the business and finance community and is regularly invited to present at key industry events. The firm’s philosophy is that every business owner is an entrepreneur. By taking on risk, innovation is inspired, and new challenges are set -creating opportunities that lead to improvement and growth.

Multicultural Entrepreneur of the Year - Mr Peter Marinos, Big Michael's Fruit and Vegetables

This award recognises a multicultural Brisbane business leader that demonstrates through their business success, entrepreneurial flair, embedding a culture of innovation as a central pillar to their growth strategy. The recipient will personify the best in entrepreneurialism, possessing qualities from clear leadership and sound management to determination and ambition.

Peter Marinos was born in Brisbane and is of Greek heritage. Peter is 29 years of age, married and a father of two children - with another due in January 2021. He started the business, Big Michael’s Fruit and Vegetables in 2009 by borrowing his father’s ute and worked seven days a week for over a decade. Through hard work and determination, he now has a fleet of over 14 trucks and a clientele of over 1000.

2019 winners

Nick Xynias Young Business Person of the Year - Vian Lin, Harmonie Music Centre

Vian was born in China and lived in Paris before arriving in Brisbane in 2002 to pursue her music studies. After winning the Australia Yamaha Piano Competition in 2005 and her debut performance with Sydney Symphony Orchestra, she has toured more than 10 countries and performed a piano solo at the 2014 G20 Summit in Brisbane. Vian is now the director and owner of Harmonie International and Harmonie Music Centre. Over the past eight years, Harmonie has brought household names from China, Japan, Korea, Hungary and Croatia to over 200,000 patrons in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Auckland.

Multicultural Business Person of the Year- Päivi Piotto, Janie Collins Interiors

Päivi arrived in Australia from Finland in 1998 to do what so many other young European people do – backpack around Australia. It was during this time she met her husband, David. Now the happily married mother of four and proud small business owner is delighted to call Brisbane home. Fluent in four languages, Päivi completed her Bachelor of Design (Interior Design) at Queensland University of Technology in 2013. After starting as marketing manager at Janie Collins Interiors in 2010, Päivi purchased the company in 2017. She had a vision to merge her love of all things Australian with design, and developed the business into a passionate supporter of Australian designers. Janie Collins Interiors brings modern, high-end, exclusive furniture into the Brisbane commercial and residential interiors market.

Multicultural Entrepreneur of the Year - Nigel Heyn, REDD Digital 

Nigel Heyn is the founder and CEO of REDD Digital. Having grown up in Sri Lanka, Nigel’s parents sought a greater future for their children and migrated to Australia. Nigel followed closely in his father’s footsteps and pursued a career in technology from an early age. Whilst at high school, Nigel began dreaming up business ideas and launched his first venture in 1995. Nigel established REDD Digital to empower Australian organisations to achieve greater success, through the adoption of best practice technologies. With formidable global partnerships established over the last 25 years, Nigel has enabled REDD Digital to help organisations embrace the complete stack of digital success, which includes digital advisory, modern cloud, data analytics, immersive technologies and artificial intelligence.

2018 winners

Nick Xynias Young Multicultural Business Person of the Year - Mrs Kim Zoulek, Oktoberfest Brisbane 

Kim was born in Germany and has lived in various countries before arriving in Australia in 2003 to pursue her studies. Having played a role in the founding of Oktoberfest Brisbane in 2008, Kim is now the director and co-owner of what has become Australia’s largest German Festival. Together with her husband she is committed to ensuring that the festival is an authentic and true representation of their German culture. Attracting more than 43,000 attendees annually, Oktoberfest Brisbane has been officially recognised as one of Brisbane’s major events since 2016. 

Multicultural Business Person of the Year - Ms Renhui (Fiona) Kee, Australia Institute of Business and Technology (AIBT) 

Fiona is a Singaporean by nationality with a Chinese heritage. Fiona came to Brisbane as a student and post graduation she worked in several large corporations learning about international business. Identifying a gap in the vocational education and training market, Fiona founded the Australian Institute of Business and Technology (AIBT) in 2014. AIBT has multiple divisions and has branches in Ghana and Singapore. The college strategy is to grow its foothold in Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia via strategic partnerships with universities and vocational institutions.

Multicultural Entrepreneur of the Year - Mr Mathew Tsin, 1ICT

Born in Hong Kong, Mathew and his family moved to Australia when he was seven. Together with two business partners, Mathew started 1ICT in 2011, an innovative ICT and software development company. Named in the CRN Fast50, the business is one of the fastest-growing companies in the Australian IT industry.

2017 winners

Nick Xynias Young Multicultural Business Person of the Year - Clare Sheng, PQ Fashions 

Clare came to Australia from China at the age of 11. After a short career as a pharmacist, Clare took over the family business of clothing alterations six years ago. In this time, through the injection of new ideas, streamlining and systemisation, PQ Fashions is now recognised as an industry leader.

Multicultural Business Person of the Year - Schalk Pienaar, Croomo

Schalk was born in South Africa and came to Brisbane after a successful corporate career. He founded Croomo, a multiple award winning digital training development company. Croomo creates learning assets for global clients. Under his command, Croomo has evolved to become a recognised industry expert in eLearning architecture, delivering innovative and fun training solutions.

Multicultural Entrepreneur of the Year - Fan-Chi Yvonne Chu, Australian Multicultural Education Centre

Yvonne was born in the Republic of China (Taiwan). After many years working in the education industry, she re-settled in Brisbane and established the Australian Multicultural Education Centre. The company has successfully assisted more than 25,000 international students from more than 30 countries to study in Australia. Read more.

2016 winners

  • Nick Xynias Multicultural Young Business Person of the Year - Bertrand Doeuk, Brisbane Headache and Migraine Clinic
  • Multicultural Business Person of the Year - Bien Peralta, Dello Mano
  • Multicultural Entrepreneur of the Year - David Wu, 8 Street

2015 winners 

  • Nick Xynia’s Multicultural Young Businessperson of the Year- ​Saneil Chand, Terry White Chemists, Woolloongabba
  • Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Businessperson of the Year - Tea Dietterich, 2M Communications, Paddington
  • Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Entrepreneur of the Year - Zeinab Khalil, Eyedeal Optometrist, Morningside

2014 winners 

  • Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Young Businessperson of the Year - ​Ching Hung (Don) Chiu, Manager of Fashion Tour Pty Ltd
  • Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Businessperson of the Year - Takeshi Takada, Company Director/Executive Producer of Alt.vfx
  • Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Entrepreneur of the Year - Igor Stjepanovic, Managing Director, GIS People
Last updated: 6 May 2021