RMIT alumnus and organic food entrepreneur Matthew Hardie has received the NAB Microenterprise Loan Award for Best Business Success story.
The award, recently presented at the Small Business Development Conference (SBDC) in Melbourne, recognises microenterprise business loan recipients who have experienced success in key areas, rewarding them with a $2000 grant to further enhance their enterprise.
Mr Hardie, who completed the Bachelor of Business (International Business) and the Certificate IV in Small Business Management as part of the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS), was recognised for his homemade organic food bites company, Manuko.
After outgrowing the capacity of his home kitchen, the loan allowed the hire of a dedicated commercial kitchen to increase production to meet escalating demand.
In the space of two years, Manuko products went from being stocked in one Melbourne store to now being available in close to 100 outlets around Australia.
Mr Hardie said completing the NEIS program at RMIT allowed him to form a strong foundation and knowledge in each area of running a business.
"The business mentoring we received throughout that year greatly assisted us by providing expertise and knowledge that we would otherwise not have had access to, and for being held accountable for certain business goals," he said.
Three other NEIS graduates were finalists for the National NEIS Association Awards at the SBDC.
Philip Pille (3D Print Express), Cinzia Cozzolino (Nutrition Darling Raw Food) and Andrew Shiangolis (Relevant Financial Solutions) were all finalists for the Best New Business award.
Vicki Molloy, Head, School of Vocational Business Education, said: "I am thrilled by the achievement of all these NEIS graduates.
"Each of them has established interesting and worthwhile businesses with the benefit of NEIS training and mentoring and they are testimony to the quality of the program and its teachers and mentors."