An Armidale dentist who worked to expand his services and open a new branch in Walcha, but who still finds time for charity work in Australia and overseas, won the New England North West Regional Business Awards young entrepreneur gong.
Dr Scott Williams from White Leaf Dental said the business awards had "taken us completely by surprise".
"We were not expecting this and are humbled by the experience," he said. "At the same time, they are a strong motivator. It is also a nice reward for all of our staff who work tirelessly to help look after our patients."
He moved from Sydney to Armidale in 2015 after purchasing Colin Pateman’s Dental Surgery, and giving the Armidale location a complete overhaul and was joined by Dr Sara Stockham as a half owner in July 2016.
"We went to university together and we had been planning on working together since 2009," he said. "Working together for the last 20 months has been wonderful." But it has also been a lot of work.
"Since purchasing the practice we have increased our opening hours and are open on Saturdays," Dr Williams said.
"We have increased the range of treatments available so our patients don’t have to travel for specialist appointments."
Staff are important too.
"We have designed our business to offer staff a rewarding, inspiring, enjoyable, stable job, but also a career. Watching everyone learn and grow is a highlight of my role," he said.
"We also want the community to get the most out of us. This is mainly about getting out to schools and other groups to raise awareness about oral health.
"Sara and I are both actively engaged in teaching dental students and practicing dentists.
“We regularly travel within Australia and overseas to complete charity work, most recently in an orphanage and disadvantaged school in Vietnam."
All this has come with an investment of more than $1.5 dollars in the past 12 months.
"We have not raised prices. In fact, our prices are the same as from before I purchased the practice two years ago," Dr Williams said.
"We have no plans on increasing our prices despite our significantly increased operating costs because we want to help people get to the dentist regularly."