Originally written by MARNIE REID
AT just 26, Amelia Wilson, has been short-listed for the prestigious Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year Awards.
Amelia runs Hamilton’s Comfort Inn Botanical motel. In 2003 Ms Wilson and her partner, Tom Richter, started their management company, Atom Plus Pty Ltd, with their first business venture together in The Haymarket Boutique Hotel in Geelong. Less than a year ago they expanded to Hamilton and re-launched the Botanical restaurant and bar. Ms Wilson is the youngest hotelier in Hamilton and Geelong and is believed to be the youngest ever franchisee in the Choice Hotels Australia program. She said she was still trying to get her head around the Young Business Award nomination. After reading a book, You Go Girl, written by Maureen Frank, who was the Queensland winner of the Young Business Women of the year, Ms Wilson wrote and thanked her for the inspiration. “In the email I also wrote information about myself,” she said. “After reading it, Maureen said ‘you’ve done a lot for someone you age I’ve nominated you for a business award’.” Ms Wilson said she hadn’t even considered the awards, but filled out the entry form. She said it took her about a day to get through the entry form, but it all paid off, because a couple of weeks ago, Ms Wilson found out she was one of five that had been short listed for the award in Victoria. Ms Wilson said the networking and the confidence the nomination had brought her employees, made her already feel like a winner. Ms Wilson and Mr Richter picked Hamilton as their newest business venture because they saw it as a combination of opportunities. “Hamilton is a business hub,” Ms Wilson said. “We saw the motel was right next to the Botanical Gardens. “The staff had been there some time and we saw there was a loyal patronage.” She said as well as all that, they had received a lot of support from the community. “At the same time we don’t want to step on anyone’s toes,” Ms Wilson said. “We cross promote with The Strand and Gilly’s. What we do isn’t a secret, it’s beneficial for all of us to have good occupancy, you help them they help you.” Ms Wilson and Mr Richter must be doing something right, because in just eight months, the new-look Botanical is running well. This 26 year old isn’t stopping there; her newest business venture is a pocket publication, titled ‘IN’, featuring a map of Geelong with places to go and see. It’s another way the pair has found a way to cross-promote their business in Geelong. Ms Wilson began her career in fashion and public relations. She and Mr Richter spent two years in England where she organised fashion parades and publicity for UK fashion labels in her role as a publicist. Although fashion may not play as big a role in Ms Wilson’s career her ‘hobby’ is being stylist for actor and singer Sophie Monk (recently seen in The Date Movie). She said that Sophie Monk hadn’t stayed in Hamilton, but had stayed in her Geelong hotel. Ms Wilson and Mr Richter eventually plan to start a hotel in Melbourne, but until then their vision for the Botanical is maintaining high levels of occupancy, guest loyalty and having the staff really happy. “I’m where I am because of the team that work for me,” she said. “Without them the business wouldn’t be successful.” Ms Wilson and Mr Richter are also developing an interest in mentoring and public speaking. Ms Wilson’s achievements in this field were recognised by the Shell Petroleum Leadership and Mentoring scholarship by the Geelong Business Professional Association. Judging for finalists in the Young Business Awards will take place in October.