Since its very beginning, back in 2007, the Smart50 Awards have recognised and celebrated the fastest growing SMEs in Australia and we’re excited to bring the awards back this year.
Each year, the Smart50 finalists represent the very best of Australian business. They are the innovators and the job creators, the hard-working community heroes.
These businesses have never been more important to our country as we all face the enormous challenge of surviving and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
How it started
Researchers at the University of Queensland developed a way to protect probiotics from the acidity of the digestive system, allowing them to reach the gut where they become most effective.
Commercialised as ProGel, the breakthrough was used by founder Cameron Turner to create PERKii, a probiotic drink that is now available in Australia and New Zealand.
Since bringing the probiotic breakthrough to a consumer-relevant product, PERKii has expanded its market footprint dramatically. The drink can now be purchased at 10,000 locations, including a range of both Coles and Woolworths stores.
Over the past three financial years, the business has seen stellar growth, increasing revenue from $1.1 million for the 2018-19 financial year to $3.2 million in 2020-21.
Where to next?
Now PERKii has achieved commercial proof of concept in the local market, Turner’s goal is to replicate that success globally in the next two to three years.
That will likely come through either a sale or a significant distribution arrangement, turning the lab breakthrough into an international commercial success.