Canberra shines bright at the ‘Oscars for Small Business’

Posted 17 Apr 2019

Story by Her Canberra

Ever since she was little, Kate Prior dreamt of being a career professional.

So it was a pinch-me moment when Kate found herself on stage, in front of 1,000 guests, receiving a national award for Recruitment Services at the ‘Oscars for Small Business’ in Sydney last weekend.

Kate founded face2face Recruitment Services in 2005 and since then the company has enriched the lives of more than 3,700 people, finding them meaningful work.

“For us, recruitment is about people and relationships,” says Kate. “The team jumps for joy every time we help an employer find an amazing candidate or help a candidate find an amazing job. And we sure jumped for joy when we heard our name announced as the national winner in our sector at the Australian Small Business Champion Awards gala event.”

“I love running my own company,” says Kate. “It’s energising, exciting and rewarding. It’s loads of hard work and never-ending challenges. From time to time, I ask myself if there’s something else I would rather be doing. The answer is always “no”.”

Kate remembers her first day in business with fondness. The furniture and computers hadn’t arrived and so she and her two staff had their first meeting sitting cross-legged on the floor. The company placed its first candidate within a week of opening.

“It was for another recruiter and we took that to be a good omen,” says Kate.

Kate with some of her face2face Recruitment team.

Today face2face’s team of 20 staff operates three service lines—ICT recruitment, Business Support recruitment and Scribing services. The company works for public, private and not-for-profit organisations locally, regionally and nationally.

Kate is the first to admit that operating her own business isn’t always a walk in the park. Tough times are inevitable, including those that are unexpected.

“I once engaged someone I wasn’t entirely confident with, but I was desperate for support at the time,” says Kate. “That person stole a lot of money from me in my second year of business. It tested my resolve. With the fraud, I leveraged equity from my home mortgage to keep going. I got there but it was hard.”

What did Kate learn from the experience? Cultural fit is key.

“You can teach hard skills but you can’t teach cultural fit,” says Kate. “A business should never compromise on this. It’s why we always consider cultural fit when matching employers and candidates.”

Now in their 21st year, the Australian Small Business Champion Awards, run by Precedent Productions, is the only national awards program to celebrate the major contribution the approximately 3.3 million small businesses make to the Australian economy. Between them, these businesses employ well over 5.7 million people.

This year’s awards attracted 2,200 entries, a record number. Sixteen ACT businesses placed finalist in a range of categories.

face2face is the only Canberra company to have won at a national level for this year’s awards and the only company from the capital to place finalist in four categories—Business Entrepreneur, Business of the Decade, Business Growth Award and Recruitment Services.

“It was fantastic to see 16 businesses from the ACT place finalist in a range of categories for this year’s awards and I hope more apply next year,” says Kate. “We’re all small business champions in our own right.”


Recruitment Services: face2face Recruitment


Entrepreneur: face2face Recruitment (259 nominations submitted for this category)

Business of the Decade: face2face Recruitment

Business Growth: face2face Recruitment

Accounting Services: The Firm

Beauty Services: Faux Tanning Studio

Business Services: Rapid Context

Business Services: PentaQuest

Educational Services: The Teachers’ Coach

Educational Services: Wisdom Learning

Financial Services: Finance Your Future

Fitness Services: Haylstorm Fitness

Hairdressing: Bond Hair Religion

Marketing Services: Win More Clients

New Business: Parbery Consulting

New Business: Altina Drinks

Professional Service: AeroPM

Real Estate Agency: Fox Property Management

Specialised Small Business: Riddle Room

Business Growth Award: AeroPM

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