The future looks bright for Solar Bollard Lighting based in Brendale, nearly one year on from earning regional recognition for export success.
Mike Arieni, the company's managing director, now has his sights on markets in northern America, Asia and Europe, among others, as he prepares for a serious push next year.
The business won the Regional Development Australia (RDA) Moreton Bay Exporting Excellence Award at last year’s Moreton Bay Region Business Excellence and Innovation Awards.
Mike says his team will head to the LIGHTFAIR International trade fair in Las Vegas in May for a serious push in to the United States.
He’s also hoping to gain international exposure should his offer will be accepted to provide free external lighting for the Australian pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai.
It follows 16 years of hard work, which started when Mike and five mates were looking for “something different to do”.
The journey to international trade began in 2003 with a fact-finding trip to Japan and subsequent research and development work in Taiwan, before the first-generation solar bollard was ready for market at the end of 2005.
“Solar didn’t have a good reputation. It was a hard market to crack,” Mike explains.
When he was at a rugby game with his son on the Sunshine Coast, the idea for bollard lighting came up and noticed damaged bollards at ground. He contacted local council and asked if a vandal-resistant alternative would interest them.
The product was introduced in 2006, and in 2007, Mike exported his first lights.
These days the solar bollards are used at US Navy and Air Force bases, the US Embassy in Baghdad, Kobe Port in Japan, by mining companies in Africa and local authorities in the US, to name a few. They can also be found in local council areas across Australia, tourist parks and are used by mining companies and government departments.
The bollards are resistant to impact and vandals, and they are also submersible, which means they are perfect for flood-prone areas or regions which are affected by cyclones or hurricanes.
Components are manufactured across South East Queensland, and tested and assembled at Brendale. “Winning the export award created more awareness of who we are domestically. We’ve always been the silent achiever, we just go about our business every day and keep to ourselves,” he says.
This year's awards nominations are open to companies, entrepreneurs and organisations in the Moreton Bay Region. The 2019 Moreton Bay Region Business Excellence and Innovation Awards are presented by Moreton Bay Regional Council and Moreton Bay Region Industry & Tourism.
Visit businessawardsmoretonbayregion.com.au for details. Nominations close September 2, finalists are announced October 21 and awards presented on November 29.
MEET THE JUDGES
Deborah Morandin: Entrepreneurs Paradise Chief Executive Officer
Sharon Armstrong: Business owner and active business community member
Professor Karen Becker: USC Business School Deputy Head and Professor of Management
Nette Griggs: Regional Development Australia Moreton Bay Director
Mat Davis: Australian Coastal and Marine Ecology Coastal Protection Core founder
Peter Kellett: Grace Lutheran College Innovation, Enterprise, Technology manager
Mike Smith: Founder and start-up mentor and business technology specialist
Deborah Wilson: OnTalent Careers, Leadership Development and Consulting Services Head
Paul Russell: Executive Director Innovation Programs and Engagement, State Department of Innovation, Tourism Industry Development
Tracy Constable: AusIndustry Queensland Stakeholder Engagement Manager
Shaun Reeves: SRJ Walker Wayland Director and chartered accountant
Margaret Goody: Managing director, human resources and employee relations strategist
Bob Crudgington: Redcliffe Environmental Forum President
Dominque Clymo: News Corp Australia Commercial Strategy Manager
Cathie Johnston: Brisbane Marketing Experience Development Manager, Leisure Tourism & Major Events
Dominic Lis: Sales Director
Hilton Misso: Lawyer and businessman
Justin Grace: Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications
Ngaire Stirling: Brisbane Kids Managing Director
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