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NRL announce inaugural Entrepreneur of the Year Award winners

The National Rugby League (NRL) is pleased to announce Broncos forward Ryan James and Titans halfback Lauren Brown as its inaugural Entrepreneurs of the Year Award winners for 2022.

James and Brown were both recognised for the award which celebrates the commitment, creativity, motivation and passion of NRL and NRLW players who have started and established businesses alongside their playing careers,.

NRL Club Wellbeing and Education staff were invited to nominate one business (and the player/s who own and operate it) for the award based on criteria including:

  • The business has been in operation for a minimum of one year
  • The player/s play a significant role in the day to day operations of the business
  • Demonstrates behaviours that align with the Wellbeing and Education behavioural objectives: excellence, inclusion, courage and teamwork
  • Dedication to professional development and lifelong learning 
  • Wise and ethical decision makers
Ryan James successfully launched Minjungbal Medical Supplies in 2022.
Ryan James successfully launched Minjungbal Medical Supplies in 2022. ©Supplied

NRL Entrepreneur of the Year: Ryan James 

James has successfully established the Ryan James Group, whose goal is to increase numbers of Indigenous business within the Australian market while also employing and retaining Indigenous employees. There are several successfully businesses that have been established under the Ryan James Group including:

  • Minjungbal Hygiene Systems, who strive to create Indigenous empowerment through hygiene solutions for all.
  • Ryan James Foundation, who aim to be one of the leading, multi-functional Indigenous led and operated community outreach organisations in the country with a focus on Indigenous business investment funds, elders' health and wellbeing projects, youth and social justice outcomes as well as early education and school-based initiatives within rural and remote communities.
  • BSKT Wholefoods, focussing on helping Indigenous communities with a core focus on providing health and working opportunities for local communities.
There are several businesses that have been established under the Ryan James Group.
There are several businesses that have been established under the Ryan James Group. ©Supplied

James is also an active member of the Adeco Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group and RLPA Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group in addition to studying his Masters of Business Administration at Bond University.

Lauren Brown runs the successful Wags Dog Walking service.
Lauren Brown runs the successful Wags Dog Walking service. ©Supplied

NRLW Entrepreneur of the Year: Lauren Brown

Brown has successfully launched Wags Dog Walking, a dog walking and dog day-care service on the Gold Coast. As the sole trader of the business, Brown started Wags with the idea to combine her passion of exercise with her love for dogs!

Brown started Wags Dog Walking with the intention of dog walking to be the primary service, and day-care the secondary. However, as the business developed, dog day-care was more popular, so Brown made that the primary service and dog walking the secondary. Brown has around 35 clients on the books and is currently at full capacity as she is the sole worker of the business.

In the future, Brown's hopes for the business are to purchase an industrial space that can be customised and fitted out specifically for a dog day-care centre — allowing her to increase her capacity, bring on employees and operate longer and more flexible working hours.

 
 
 
 
 
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Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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