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Campbelltown Businesswoman wins Local Heroes Award at National Ceremony

Tricia Brunt, a former NEIS Program Participant who now runs the successful international freight forwarding business United Pacific Freight (UPF), has been given a ‘CoAct Local Heroes’ award by CoAct Ambassador, Olympic and World Champion, Matthew Cowdrey alongside her Federal MP, Russell Matheson and nominator MTC Australia (a member of CoAct) at a ceremony at Parliament House, Canberra.

The awards ceremony, held at Mural Hall in Parliament House Canberra, recognised recipients from across the country that have shown great personal achievements, provided inspiration or created innovations MP’s, CoAct Members, Government Ministers, leaders in the NFP sector and VIP’s from the United Nations and OECD attended the ceremony.

Tricia said she wouldn’t be where she is today if it wasn’t for MTC Australia and the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS).

“I was motivated to begin my own business, however investing all my savings into the business would mean next to no money for normal living expenses.

“When I came across NEIS, it was the only positive option that gave some hope of financial relief.”

NEIS is a self-employment program funded by the Department of Employment. The program helps eligible individuals become self-supporting and independent of Centrelink by establishing and running their own business.

Despite the many challenges that came with the territory, Tricia was determined to make the business work in order to support her parents and her late sister’s four children.

“There were times when I was stressed about the business and would remind myself of all the NEIS mentors that believed in my business idea.

“I didn’t want to disappoint them or my family, so I made it work,” she said.

She now runs the successful international freight forwarding business United Pacific Freight (UPF).

The Minto based company has experienced significant growth since it’s establishment in 2009, relocating three times due to the increasing need for warehouse space.

Tricia said she is very blessed to have been given the opportunity to provide a better life for her family, and is overwhelmed to be receiving an award for her efforts.

“It was a great privilege to have been invited to the NEIS anniversary celebrations in 2012, and now, being nominated as a Local Hero, is very humbling,” she said.

“I am very grateful for NEIS. It gives people a little bit of rope to grab on to while they reach for the sky and work to make a dream come true!”

MTC Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Colin Lloyd said that Tricia’s achievement is a testament to her dedication to creating a better future for her loved ones and herself.

“Tricia is an outstanding example of the power of NEIS.

“By utilizing the NEIS program and it’s extensive resources, she was able to build a successful and sustainable business.

“Our organization endeavours to empower people and it is very encouraging to see individuals such as Tricia thrive.

“We are very inspired by Tricia and her story. I congratulate Tricia on her award and her fantastic accomplishment.”

CoAct’s Chief Executive Officer Matt Little said Tricia’s achievements are a prime example of what can be achieved when organisations collaborate for the greater good and benefiting the whole the community.

“At CoAct, we deliver opportunities for everyday Australians regardless of disadvantage. Our mission is to create social and economic opportunities for all Australians. All of the Local Heroes recognised today are perfect examples of people and organisations who, despite some difficulties, worked hard to achieve their goals and provide a role model for others.”

Mr Little says that the collaboration with Matthew Cowdrey and local CoAct members is part of CoAct’s new direction to help improve equity in society through opportunity.

“With the increasingly complex nature of social problems, we know that the way forward is to help people overcome a wide range of barriers by collaborating with partner organisations, building new connections and expanding our member network beyond our traditional boundaries. Our clients will be better served by a broader platform supported by complete collaboration and, in turn, so will communities across Australia.”

Matthew Cowdrey says that the winners are an inspiration to people facing challenges but they also provide an example for other communities to learn from, replicate and collaborate for local solutions.  “Whether you’re activating a community or an individual, you can’t do it alone. You need a diverse network around you who live in your world, support you and help you make change real.  Just as I have had an amazing network of people and organisations behind me, CoAct is there for all Australians to provide services and help activate communities.”

The awards ceremony is part of the CoAct conference in Canberra (23-24 June) where Matthew is a keynote speaker, alongside other international guests including the United Nations’ Dr Marco Roncarati, economist and social policy expert for Asia Pacific ESCAP.