Our judges bring diverse backgrounds to the comptetion, providing a well rounded assessment of pitches.
Jan Rooney has a passion for driving change by connecting people and ideas. She loves working with diverse communities in regional Australia to help them thrive. She has over ten years’ experience in the Local Government sector where she has facilitated positive outcomes for her community by creating programs that increased industry capacity and collaboration to ensure sustained success.
Jan was born on the North Coast of NSW and after a stint running hotels in Western Australia returned to Coffs Harbour in 2007 to raise her family – and be closer to the surf! She loves giving back to her community and has been a volunteer Surf Lifesaver for over ten years, whilst also being a on the local Triathlon Club committee and volunteering at a number of events though out the region.
Jan is passionate about the opportunities that digital connectivity can provide in regional Australia. Being a part of the role out of the nbn in Coffs Harbour in 2010 she has seen how connectivity can drive growth in entrepreneurial enterprises, creative industries and opportunities for youth. With the initial rollout complete she is excited to be working with nbn as Community Engagement Manager for the unique communities of the North Coast region to ensure they can capitalise on the possibilities that the nbn can bring to them.
Founder – Future Organics
Adam is the founder of Venture Organic and Regen Catalyst and a passionate advocate for the global regeneration of our food system.
With over two decades of experience as a serial entrepreneur in the fitness and wellness industry, Adam is highly regarded in the natural health and integrative medicine industry as a business mentor and seminar facilitator. Adam has consulted to over 1,100 individual business owners over the last 12 years, and has won a Fundraising Institute of Australia award for best new initiative through his work with Diabetes Australia.
Operating from a strong belief that fresh, nutrient dense, organic food should be “the new normal” for every consumer, Adam has now turned his attention to catalysing change in the food system through innovation and disruption. As a business mentor he offers a unique combination of skills in “contrarian marketing strategy”, startup strategy, business development, leadership training, personal growth and conscious development for business owners. Over the last 18 months, Venture Organic has facilitated the launch of over thirty independent startup businesses in the regenerative space, and created a professional network of investors, mentors, projects and capital focussed on innovation in regenerative food production.
Growth Facilitator | Northern NSW | Food & Agribusiness
Maria Collyer is a Growth Facilitator for the federal government’s flag ship business initiative, The Entrepreneurs Programme. She delivers strategic advisory services to established businesses in Northern NSW and works with most of the region’s well-known brands across food, agribusiness, premium spirits, fashion and advanced manufacturing.
Maria is a multi-awarded food entrepreneur and business expert as the founder of Sweden’s largest juice bar chain, Naked Juicebar. She has experience from many stages of brand building and operational development, with key skills in scalable models to support continuous growth. She also is experienced as a board member in an angel investment group, and as a jury member in pitch competitions both domestically and internationally.
At European Food Service Summit 2011, Maria featured as a guest speaker, sharing line-up with Starbucks’ Howard Schultz. Her own journey has fueled a passion for business that she is thrilled to share with fellow entrepreneurs.
Find Maria on LinkedIn