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Indian Australian Ambassador of the Year

Peter Varghese AO, Chancellor, The University of Queensland

Peter Varghese AO is the Chancellor of the University of Queensland. His thirty eight year public service career included Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Director General of the Office of National Assessments and senior adviser on international issues in the office of PM John Howard.

Mr Varghese was High Commissioner to India (2009 to 2012) and has also served as High Commissioner to Malaysia and in diplomatic positions in Tokyo, Washington and Vienna.

He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Australia India Institute and was IABCA's Ambassador of the Year in 2016. He sits on the board of AMP and AMP Capital Holdings.

Born in Kenya, his parents hailed from Kerala, India and the family migrated to Australia in 1964.

Young Community Achiever of the Year

Pritika Desai, Founder and Project Leader ShoutOut! 

25 years old and raised in the Northern Territory, works in the youth and community engagement sector. In 2013, at 22 years old, she established ShoutOut!, a youth led mental health project focusing on youth concerns around the accessibility of mental health support services for young people and lack of community understanding of mental health issues.

Young Professional of the Year

Deepti Sachdeva, Content strategist

Be-better People

Deepti is someone with a deep passion for all kinds of stories – back stories, user stories, episodic stories, breaking news stories... and how people learn from these stories, what they retain, what has an impact, what changes them and what they chose to forget.  She has won multiple awards for her multi-platform productions including many at Asian Television Awards, World Media Festivals and International Business Awards.

Community Services Excellence Award 

Dr Khimji Vaghjiani, Founding President Swaminarayan Mandir 

Dr Khimji has been in his role for over 20 years and has seen the organisation growing from a few families to over 300 families and provides a place like home for the local Indian community in Western Sydney. The Community Centre has been providing a place for devotees, children, school excursions and community events for the last 10 years and has grown into a $2.5m complex for the benefit of the community.

Business  Woman of the Year 2016

Uppma Virdi, Founder

Chai Walli

Uppma is the granddaughter of an Ayur vedic doctor who used to make Ayurvedic chai blends. Uppma learnt how spices balance, their properties and the art of chai. She created Chai Walli to share her grandfather's deep rooted knowledge and her passion of chai and spices. Chai Walli wholesales blends across Australia, retails them through its e-commerce website, collaborate with many Australian dessert houses and restaurants to create chai infused food and also run the Art of Chai workshops for consumers to learn about the Indian culture of chai

Professional of the Year

Tamanna Monem, International Business Development Specialist, Queensland

Tamanna is an extra ordinary individual, with a responsibility to facilitate export and investment for Queensland to India; in her private time, a social entrepreneur who established her own fashion boutique to raise awareness of Indian hand loom weavers to the world and works for empowering the weavers for health and education, she also is a voluntary adviser to the Australia Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce and the Punjabi Welfare Association of Australia. 

Business leader of the Year

Deepak Nangia, Chief Customer Officer & Corporate Vice President, Capgemini

Deepak currently drives business develop -ment across the region. He is also respon sible for all strategic Initiatives across APAC & Middle East including the integration of IGATE He is a member of the Capgemini APAC & Middle East Management Board. Deepak led a team of 2600 consultants across Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. Deepak brought Capgemini to the forefront of the Digital agenda for clients, Universities, start-ups and the Govt with the launch of the SMAC (Social, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud) lab in Melbourne.

Tour Operator of the Year 

Total Holiday Options

Total Holiday Options is a Destination Management Company based in Australia and New Zealand, offering bespoke solutions for individuals and corporates across the board. Total Holiday Options has recently been awarded the National Tourism Award for Best Inbound Tour Operator and Destination Management Company 2014. This prestigious award was presented in Delhi by Shri Pranab Mukherjee, President of India.

Australian Exporter of the Year

Total Alliance Health Projects International (TAHPI)

TAHPI Provides a complete range of consultancy services for health facility planning, design and commissioning. Celebrating 20 years in the Health Planning and Design industry, Health Projects International (HPI) is a Sydney-based firm with core markets in Australia, Asia and the Middle East. TAHPI has just completed the Health Facility Guidelines for India, followed by the winning of the largest hospital project by a major healthcare provider. It is now in the shortlist of 2 to win India’s largest healthcare project.

Spirit of Sport Award

Shubhika Dubey, Student, Meriden School, Sydney

Shubhika was part of the Australian National Girls school sport Tennis Team which won ISF's World Schools Tennis Championships in March 2015. This achievement was a first for any Australian team till date. Also, she is the first Indian-Australian to achieve this feat. She is currently ranked 105 in Australia all ages, 16 in Australia for her age and top 10 in NSW. Shubhika migrated to Australia at age of five

Indian Restaurant of the Year


Saffrron is an environmentally-accredited restaurant in Darwin known for authentic yet innovative Indian cuisine created from top end produce fresh from the farm or market, including 100% NT seafood. Innovations include annual NT Seafood Festival, ongoing banana leaf master classes, and a new range of Saffrron pies (such as our beef vindaloo pie), introduced for the Australia Day weekend. 

Small Business of the Year 

REACH For Training 

REACH For Training is a RTO, providing nationally accredited training and assessment services across Australia for the past 14 years. Working with SydWest Multicultural Services for many years as a leading community based organisation helping people of all cultures to become empowered through relevant services, skills and representation. Again through SydWest, REACH for Training focus on people who are vulnerable and most in need. 

SME of the Year

Nanda\Hobbs Contemporary

Nanda\Hobbs Contemporary is a commer

-cial art gallery in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. Established in 2003 by Raj Nanda and Ralph Hobbs, the gallery traded under the name Art Equity until mid 2015. NandaHobbs Contemporary is passionate about art, supporting artists and building collections of the best contemporary art.

Micro Business of the Year

BDS Autocare

BDS Autocare was first established in Geelong, Victoria, Australia in 2012 and has quickly grown to become the leading brand in automotive service centre. BDS Autocare is a specialist destination for all car maintenance. BDS Autocare continues to develop and grow in Melbourne.

Finalists 2016  - Click Here


Indian Australian Ambassador of the Year 

DD Saxena, Managing Director, ROBE

He and his team have built from a start up greenfield site one of the largest and best canola oil seed plants in Asia that provides Australia with a sustainable and growing industry in providing non GMO food oil not just to Australia. Exports to Asia and US with markets opening in Europe with DD and his engineering team (talent also sourced from India) have taken a position of leadership to show the local industry what the export opportunity is. 

Community Association of the Year 

Sindhi Association of Victoria (SAV)

SAV is celebrating silver anniversary this year, and glad to say the founder members are still part of the organisation. They Celebrate five events in a year including festivals and significant cultural events such as Chetichand (Sindhi New Year), Sindhi Day (celebrations of being Sindhi, they produce a Sindhi Drama/Play for adults and children and some other Sindhi performing arts), 

Young Community Achiever of the Year 

Navdeep Parschisa

Nvadeep has been in Australia for 4 years. Navdeep takes it upon himself to step up and make an impact in the wider community , be it on a local or international level . Navdeep has been in youth work, counselling troubled youth who face issues ranging from self-harm , divorce and rape . This counselling is done both in a one to one and camp setting. 

Travel Agency/ Tour Operator of the Year  

Beacon Holidays

Started in 2005 by Himanshi M Luhar, Beacon offers its clients personalised and customised travel services with a special focus on culinary and cultural holidays. Their trips are designed with their clients in mind, their budget, flexibility and their interests. They also run a selection of escorted group tours including Enchanting India, Turkish Trails, Sri Lankan Trails and Flavours of Italy. 

Young Professional of the Year  

Navneesh Garg

CEO, AdactIn Group

AdactIn Group, is a fast growing, award winning professional services company with specialization in Software Testing Services to organizations that help them improve their Testing Processes and Quality.Adactin has been won numerous awards in past few years including winner of Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific 2014 and Anthill top 100 Coolest companies of Australia 2014.Technology geek himself, Navneesh has authored two books on Test Automation which are ranked amongst top 20 testing books on His second book was launched by Dr. Geoff Lee MP.

Small Business of the Year  

Hallmark Computers

Hallmark Computers is a Darwin based business that was established back in 1996 and throughout this time it has been a distribution warehouse to support IT related companies across the top end. With over 100 resellers on record; from mid range computer specialists to smaller IT providers and small business start-ups. A customer-centric organization and supplier to global brands including HP, Asus, Intel, Microsoft and Lenovo. 

Business Leader of the Year  

Vivek Bhatia

Chief Executive Officer, iCare

The organisation has over $21bn in assets and over $3bn in revenue, making Vivek CEO of one of the largest insurers in Australia. The organisation, which sits within the Treasury and Finance cluster, brings together four agencies that impact more than seven million people daily across NSW. Vivek leads 1,500 colleagues across Lifetime Care & Support Authority, Dust Diseases Board (DDB), The Motor Accidents Authority and WorkCover Authority of NSW. He is Chair of the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authority, DDB, and the NSW member for SafeWork Australia.

JFF is market leader in Australia manufacturing freshly prepared pre-packaged meals, finger foods, Naan breads, Pilaf rice and dips. Capitalising on Australia’s fascination with Indian and Asian cuisine, JFF produces handcrafted premium quality products using traditional recipes and techniques. JFF currently produces 10 million meals per annum and employs over 200 staff, with a forecasted demand of 14 million meals by Dec 2016. 

SME of the Year 

Jewel Fine Foods

Community Services Excellence Award

Deepak-Raj Gupta

Deepak-Raj is a passionate advocate for the subcontinental community in Canberra. He has lived in the Australian Capital Territory for more than 15 years and is a well known personality in the capital's business, political, government and cultural circles. Deepak is a recipient of the ACT Government Multicultural Advocate of the Year award in 2012 for his tireless efforts in promoting multicultural harmony, mutual respect, understanding and acceptance among Canberra's diverse communities.

Indian Restaurant of the Year 

Aki’s Indian

located on the stunning Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo, is one of Sydney’s few restaurants offering contemporary Indian dishes that are light, fragrant and authentic. The restaurant’s warm and welcoming ambience is complemented by its dockside backdrop, making it the ideal location for a romantic dinner, a catch up with friends or a corporate function. Owner and chef Kumar Mahadevan first came to Australia in 1985, working in a number of premium restaurants until he opened his own fine dining Indian restaurant, 

Professional of the Year 

Dr Pradnya Dugal,Founding Partner, Synergy Radiology

She is a specialist radiologist with exceptional academic, professional, and business achievements. She graduated top of NSW with 100 TER score in the HSC, graduated in medicine at University of Sydney with First Class Honours, undertook her specialist training through the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney. She is the only dual gold medallist graduate in the history of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists. She completed subspecialty fellowship and research publications in cardiac MRI at New York University, and another subspecialty fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University. 

Finalists 2015  - Click Here


Indian Australian Ambassador of the Year  

Manjit Gujral

Mr Gujral arrived in Australia in 1984, and over the last 3 decades has pioneered Indian cuisine in the Australian community. Over time, he spread his magic from restaurants, to catering, events and function Centres. Everyone today knows that Manjits is synonymous with flawlessly executed events and utmost professionalism in the industry.  Over the course of his career, Mr Gujral has worked with some of the biggest and most exclusive venues in Sydney.

Young Community Achiever of the Year 

Mohit Tolani

Mohit Tolani, in addition to undertaking full-time studies, his work within the volunteering sector has been appreciated due to the constructive difference it has made to the healthcare and indigenous students?. Commencing in 2013, Mohit led an international project of Oral Health Literacy aimed at reducing the inequities in healthcare between indigenous, migrant and the general population within Australia. 

Community Arts and Culture Award

Kumud Merani

Kumud Merani, Executive Producer of Hindi programs on SBS Radio, nominated for her documentary on SBS Hindi Radio Story Untold. Kumud is a gold medal holder with an MA in Ancient Indian Culture, Art and History. She is a passionate torch bearer of the Indian arts. She is a doyenne of Indian media in Australia and has served the Indo-Australian community for 30 years.

Community Association of the Year 

United Indian Associations Inc

United Indian Associations Inc is the oldest and strongest umbrella organisation representing people of Indian origin from various Indian states since 1994. This diaspora reflects variety of cuisines, cultures, heritage and variety of colours, dance and music. UIA was formed in 1994 with the main objective of integrating several New South Wales based Indian regional/linguistic community associations into a single umbrella organization. Click here to view their media release.

Indian Restaurant of the Year

Urban Tadka

Urban Tadka is the alliance of a traditional culinary menu and the contemporary tranquil setting comes alive at this authentic, award winning restaurant making it a landmark dining destination in Sydney. Urban Tadka has won innumerable accolades over the years, making it not only nationally recognised but acclaiming acknowledgement in neighbouring countries. 

Small Business of the Year

Indus Valley Designs

Indus Valley Designs defines its business as young, innovative and growing. Their love for interior design and search for a creative business idea brought the founders Abhishek Diya and Shaan together. The business imports recycled handmade furniture collections from India for distribution in the Australian market through its established client base of over 50 retail and online stores.

Educational Institution of the Year  

S P Jain School of Global Management

S P Jain School of Global Management is a business school with campuses in Singapore, Dubai and Sydney. S P Jain is a leading provider of global education, and offers a tri-city undergraduate and postgraduate programs whereby students study across all three campuses.In 2011 and 2012, S P Jain held a coveted spot in the Financial Times Top 100 Global MBA Rankings. Its business programs are also accredited by TEQSA (Australia), 

Technology Solutions Provider of the Year 


GovReports is a business that reflects broad multiculturalism of Australia. Our approach to technology innovation and commercialisation of that technology, reflects the power that comes from that broad multicultural based.GovReports was the brainchild of Nagaraj (Raj) Veerachettiar, who migrated to Australia from India in 1999 to explore business opportunities.

SME of the Year 

Time Out Australia

Time Out Australia Print & Digital Publishing is the publisher of the Time Out brand in Australia and New Zealand. Founded by CEO Michael Rodrigues in 2007, an NRI of Anglo and East Indian descent, Time Out has emerged as a leading entertainment guide for its core markets of Sydney and Melbourne. Brisbane and Perth are firmly in sight for future expansion.In addition to Time Out's national websites which see just shy of 1,000,000 every month

Travel Agency of the Year 

Gaura Travel

Gaura Travel offers the best flight price to any destination. They also offer Hotel Booking, Travel Protection and Insurance, Excess Baggage facility. Along with this, they have a 24*7 customer care number with the innovative concept of 1300 FLY INDIA (1300 359 463). This has been expanded to include Dhaka, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to address demands for these popular destination from the South Asian diaspora.

Young Professional of the Year 

Ajay Mukesh Khandhar

Ajay Mukesh Khandhar, Lawyer, Minter Ellison is 28-year-old employment lawyer at leading law firm Minter Ellison, Ajay Mukesh Khandhar was born and raised in Western Sydney. The son of working-class migrants from Mumbai, Ajay had a very modest upbringing. Since graduating in 2010 with a double degree in Law and Journalism. Ajay was named by Lawyers' Weekly as one of Australia's top young lawyers in Workplace Relations, Employment and Safety Law. 

Finalists 2014  - Click Here

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