The award was presented by Small Business Minister and NSW Nationals Riverina MP Michael McCormack who praised the agricultural software company for its achievement.
AGDATA originated on a family beef cattle and broad acre grain farm in July 1984 near Wandoan in Queensland, by owners Lance and Jenny Skerman.
Tired of trying to make mainstream accounting products meet their farm business management needs, they hired programmer Mark Leahy who initially did the coding on a Commodore 64 computer.
Mr McCormack said it was an honour to announce AGDATA as the Regional Online Hero for 2016 who has grown from a local family farming business, to provide an innovative digital platform designed to boost agricultural production.
“The platform delivers farmers the tools, data and information resources to help make informed decisions about their crops and markets,” he said.
“With 20 employees and more than 22,000 customers, AGDATA truly is a great example of how businesses can succeed in regional Australia and I congratulate AGDATA on its win.”
AGDATA was one of 10 finalists selected from large competitive field of entrants judged on how the business had grown using the internet, its aspirations and entrepreneurship, and its contribution to the local community.
Mr McCormack said all of the finalists had proven their success using technology to build their businesses and also shown they have a plan to continue to grow and create jobs.
“As a regional MP, I understand that small businesses make a vital contribution to regional economies, especially when it comes to employing locals, and these Regional Online Heroes finalists are engaging and empowering their local communities,” he said.
“This year’s Regional Online Heroes finalists hail from Penola to Pambula, from Lismore to Longreach and from Swan Hill to Moree, with each delivering a unique product or service to market.
“I congratulate each of the finalists for their successes and wish them well in their future endeavours.”
Mr McCormack said regional Australia was a fantastic place to live, work and invest, and the businesses featured at this year’s awards had proved that it was also a great place to start a small business.
“I want to thank the RAI and Google for again hosting this event to showcase these innovative regional businesses that are using technology to reach out to new markets both here in Australia and around the world,” he said.
““The Coalition government is committed to delivering for small business through lowering the company tax rate, instant asset write offs and unincorporated tax discount.
“The government is also supporting small businesses through the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman and the Australian Small Business Advisory Service.
“Only the Coalition understands and back Australia’s small businesses.”
Mr McCormack was joined on the judging panel by digital entrepreneur and Birdsnest founder Jane Cay; founder of Bridestowe Lavender Estate, Robert Ravens; RAI CEO Jack Archer; and Head of Small Business at Google Australia John Ball, who also announced the Regional Online Hero for 2016.
Regional Online Heroes 2016 Finalists:
- AGDATA Australia, Toowoomba, QLD
- Blackbooks Tea, Cairns, QLD
- Corporeal Health, Northam, WA
- Crowd Carnivore, Pambula, NSW
- George The Farmer, Penola, SA
- Local Farm Produce, Bundaberg, QLD
- Off The Track Training, Longreach, QLD
- Penny Evans Art, Lismore NSW
- Rabbit Hop Films, Moree, NSW
- Simply Rose Petals, Swan Hill, VIC