Architectural firm honoured for its global achievements

Architectural firm honoured for its global achievements article image

Brisbane based architectural company Populous has been named 2019 Australian Exporter of the Year – the first design firm to win the award. 

“Populous is a business with a world-renowned ability for designing iconic venues across the globe such as Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London and the Yankee Stadium in New York,” said Trade Minister Simon Birmingham.

“Populous is now one of the largest architectural firms in the world, generating around 80 per cent of its income from exports and this year has created 58 new jobs in Australia.

"This is an outstanding story of a company that over two decades through expanding into overseas markets has transformed into a powerhouse within its industry and is a standout example of our growing services sector.”

The company was among a select group of Australia’s exporters honoured for their significant contribution to the Australian economy at the 57th Australian Export Awards in Canberra last week.

Senator Birmingham noted that the 94 Export Award finalists employ more than 34,000 Australians and generate more than $7.8 billion in export sales.

“This year’s award winners are from the city, outback and bush, and span a range of sectors from businesses exporting designer mattresses, essential oils, aerospace parts, animation services and underwear,” he said.

Business success stories

Senator Birmingham highlighted many business success stories including online retailer Koala, which is now exporting its designer mattresses to Japan.

And Animal Logic, now recognised as one of the world’s leading independent creative digital studios, was inducted into the export Hall of Fame.

Senator Birmingham also acknowledged Mulpha, the SPSG Jemena Northern Gas Pipeline and Sonnen Germany who received the Minister’s Investment Award.

Mulpha won the award demonstrating how foreign direct investment can boost the economy, create jobs and drive innovation.

NSW award winners

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, Industry and Trade John Barilaro congratulated all the NSW winners, including Koala, which won the Emerging Exporter Award.

NSW-based Essence Group, a leading manufacturer of infant nutrition products, dietary supplements and listed medicines, took out the Agribusiness, Food and Beverage Award.

“Essence Group, based in Nowra are a great regional NSW success story,” Mr Barilaro said.

“This highly regarded manufacturer has been expanding its footprint and exporting globally for over a decade and aims to further grow through international and local partnerships, collaborations and acquisitions.

“It’s an outstanding achievement by Koala to become Australia’s most successful online retailer and the highest-rated mattress brand – one that is now making headway in Asia by exporting their designs to Japan.”

“I hope these success stories can inspire other businesses in the State to embark on a new trade journey as exporters.”

"Exports create more Australian jobs and make a huge contribution to our economy,” said Senator Birmingham. “Businesses that export hire 23 per cent more staff, pay 11 per cent higher wages and have labour productivity that is 13 per cent higher than non-exporting firms.

“That's why we continue to back our 53 000 exporters by providing more opportunities through expanding our network of free trade agreements.”

New market opportunities

Assistant Trade and Investment Minister, Mark Coulton said recognising exporters was vital in building awareness around new market opportunities available to businesses across Australia, including those operating in regional areas.

“These businesses are generating new job opportunities, career growth and additional skills for people living outside of our capital cities, while also diversifying regional economies,” he said. 

Full information on Winners and Finalists can be found at:

2019 Australian Export Award Winners

Australian Exporter of the Year and Professional Services Award


Brisbane (QLD)

Agribusiness Food and Beverages Award

Essence Group

Greenwich Sydney
& Nowra (NSW)

Creative Industries Award

Rising Sun Pictures

Adelaide (SA)

E-commerce Award

Swisse Wellness

Melbourne (VIC)

Emerging Exporter Award


Alexandria Sydney (NSW)

International Education and Training Award

The University of Adelaide

Adelaide (SA)

International Health Award

Leica Biosystems

Mount Waverley Melbourne (VIC)

Manufacturing and Advanced Materials Award

Marand Precision Engineering

Moorabbin Melbourne (VIC)

Minerals Energy and Related Services Award


Lane Cove Sydney (NSW)

Regional Exporter Award

Care Essentials

Geelong North (VIC)

Small Business Award

Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils

Osborne Park Perth (WA)

Sustainability Award


Balmain Sydney (NSW)

Technology and Innovation Award

Seeing Machines

Fyshwick Canberra (ACT)


Minister’s Investment Awards

Regional Investment Award


Intercontinental Hayman Island Resort (QLD)

Significant Investment Award

SPSG Jemena Northern Gas Pipeline

Northern Gas Pipeline, Tennant Creek (NT) and Mount Isa (QLD)

Research and Investment Award

Sonnen Germany

Holden Plant, Elizabeth (SA)


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