• Gary Smith, CEO of BioPak, has been named EY Entrepreneur of the Year.
    Gary Smith, CEO of BioPak, has been named EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

Gary Smith, CEO of global sustainable packaging enterprise BioPak, has been named the winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2024 Australia, announced at an awards ceremony in Sydney Wednesday 20 March.

Selected from a group of 16 finalists, recognised for their purpose-driven entrepreneurial spirit, Smith was acknowledged for pioneering a movement in the sustainable packaging industry – showcasing unwavering dedication, innovative spirit, and commitment to driving positive change through his company, BioPak.

Smith was also named Industry category winner, alongside three other Australian entrepreneurs.

Finalists were judged on their demonstration of entrepreneurial spirit, national and global impact, strategic direction and purpose, with Smith commenting on the significance of these awards in recognising the work of BioPak and its global community.

“I am truly proud and humbled to accept this award,” he said.

“BioPak started with two people, a trestle table and a dream. Almost two decades later, our task force and BioCrew is now 200 + strong, underpinning a workforce and culture that drives innovation, champions growth, and celebrates creativity. Our purpose and vision have always been to create a world without waste – and we will continue to change behaviour, disrupt industries and influence policies for the better.”

Russell Phillips, partner of EY Australia and Entrepreneur of the Year Australian program leader, commended Smith’s achievements.

“Gary absolutely embodies the Australian entrepreneurial spirit. He combines vision and innovation with action, transforming ideas into successful businesses,” he said.

“Thanks to Gary’s inventiveness, dedication and relentless enthusiasm for positive change, BioPak has revolutionised the foodservice packaging industry and accelerated its movement toward the circular economy in Australia, New Zealand and beyond. By celebrating Australia’s best and brightest, and the incredible and lasting impact they create for communities across Australia, we are helping to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Linda Brown, chair of the independent judges, president of Torrens University and former Australian Entrepreneur of the Year Winner in 2021, commended Smith, saying, “The Entrepreneur of the Year awards allow us to showcase the best of Australia’s entrepreneurial spirit. For Gary, this spirit has been evident throughout his life. After finishing school at the age of 17, he founded his first business. And with persistence, hard-work and a bold vision, he has since gone on to build nine successful, dynamic companies.”

“Gary is an inspiring, resilient and forward-thinking leader. In a time of significant change, we need people like Gary with the drive, determination and vision to help solve our greatest challenges, shape new industries and reimagine a better tomorrow.”

Since 2001, the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year program has recognised ambitious leaders who its says build and sustain successful, dynamic businesses that leave a lasting positive impact in the communities in which they operate.

In Australia, there are over 1700 entrepreneurs in the Entrepreneur of the Year Alumni community.

As the Australian winner, Gary Smith will travel to Monaco in June to compete against national winners from more than 60 countries for the chance to be named 2024 EY World Entrepreneur of the Year.

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