Wollongong and Shellharbour businesswomen have picked up three awards at the AusMumpreneur of the Year Awards in Melbourne.
Jessica Arroyo, of Weigh Less With Jess, won the national award in the Health & Wellbeing category in recognition of her outstanding results in all areas of business including creativity, innovation and resilience.
The Warrawong mum started Weigh Less With Jess after gaining 16 kilograms while pregnant with her second child in 2013.
She wanted to lose the weight soon after her son was born and the solution she found evolved into a business she started with just $300 in the bank.
Now her home-based business sells products throughout Australia and overseas.
"I can't believe this. I can't even believe I am here," Ms Arroyo said.
The day before the awards she had received a message from her eight-year-old daughter saying her public speaking event at school had been moved forward.
Ms Arroyo caught a plane back from Melbourne to Wollongong for the speech, before flying back in time for the awards and a speech she knew was being made by an inspirational business friend from Wollongong.
"If I didn't go today to watch her I just would have felt so guilty," she said.
"This is what this is all about. Being grateful and privileged to be a mum entrepreneur and being able to do these kinds of things."
The friend she wanted to hear speak was Lisa Burling, who had finished third in the Rising Star AusMumpreneur of the Year category in 2018.
This year Ms Burling, of LBPR, picked up the pink trophy for the second year running.
The other big winner for the Illawarra was Amanda Barr, of Dance Sensations in Shellharbour Village, who came third in the AusMumpreneur of the Year Rising Star category for businesses of more than five years.
Ms Barr has run one of the biggest dance schools in Australia for almost 20 years but is new to entering awards.
She was encouraged to enter after being named Business Person of the Year at the 2018 Illawarra & South Coast Local Business Awards.
"Dance Sensations is in Shellharbour Village where we have just under 800 kids who come weekly. We have been going 19 years and have 25 staff".
A fourth Illawarra businesswoman was among the national finalists at AusMumpreneur of the Year Awards . 2019 Illawarra Women In Business (IWIB) Business Woman of the Year Lauren Buhagier, of Active Property Conveyancing, entered after being inspired watching Ms Burling and Ms Arroyo being named finalists in 2018. She said it was great Wollongong businesses were being recognised nationally.
- Wollongong conveyancer Lauren Buhagiar named Illawarra Business Woman of the Year
- How daring to dream little dreams helped Lisa Burling turn her life circumstances around and inspire many
- Wollongong mumpreneur recognised nationally as a rising star at the AusMumpreneur Awards
- Dance Sensations wins dance category at the Illawarra and South Coast Local Business Awards