Refugees shine at ethnic business awards

The 28th Ethnic Business Awards have taken place in Melbourne, celebrating the achievements of Indigenous Australians and migrants in business.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop at the awards.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop at the awards. Source: SBS

A refugee from Vietnam and another from Iran, were among the night's big winners.

Sam Bashiry left Iran at the age of 10, with his mother and sister. The family spent two years inside a detention centre before resuming their life. 

The company provides services across business, health services, education and retail.

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Sam Bashiry left behind in Iran when he fled to Australia with his mother and sister. Safe on Australian soil, they spent two years inside a detention centre before resuming their life.

Sam was determined to study and was eventually awarded a degree in Computer Science. He started his working career as an employee at an IT Help Desk before venturing into his own business.

He turned a $1000 ambition into a multi-million dollar business in just 10 years

Accepting his award, he paid tribute to the opportunities living in Australia had offered him.



"Moving to a new country, for numerous reasons, can be a daunting experience. But it is our outlook on life that determines our level of success. Where we are presented with the privilege to be in a life in a country of boundless opportunity, it is within ourselves that we must find a power and a determination to succeed. Ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they are given the opportunity." 

Diem Fuggersberger and her company Berger Ingredients Pty Ltd, took out the award in the Small Business Category.

Diem was seven-years-old when she and her family fled Vietnam.

The family then spent 15 months in a refugee camp.

Losing just about everything in 2009 due to the Global Financial crisis, Diem and her husband started again and formed Berger Ingredients producing spice blends, sauces and marinades.

Diem and her team of 30 staff now supply to major supermarket chains across Australia.

Accepting her award, Diem credited those who believed in her, for her success.

"I have actually gone through a lot of difficulties in my life. I had lots of knock-backs. And I think it really shaped who I am. And I'm not here because I'm amazing or anything like that. It's all (because of) my tribe, the people that believe in me."

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was among a number of high profile guests to attend the awards night in Melbourne.

Ms Bishop says those who had succeeded in small business were a credit to Australia.

"Small business and business generally in Australia, the backbone of our economy, is synonymous with multicultural Australia. So many of our successful businesses are owned and operated by migrants, children of migrants, the grand children of migrants."

Mr Mick Davis from NSW and his company Warialda Engineering & Welding Pty Ltd were the Indigenous in Business Category Winner.

His “Davis Star Lifter” came to the rescue of many sore backs & OH&S issues around farming, woodcutting, fencing but also road works, bushfire recovery & clean-ups.

The Ethnic Business Awards are televised nationally on SBS.


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3 min read
Published 6 November 2016 at 7:26pm
Source: SBS