Business honour for Redbank mum with a passion for education
THE founder of a growing network of early education centres in Ipswich has been named as one of the top businesswomen in Queensland.
With a passion for play-based learning, Sharon Kneen started up her first early education centre in Karana Downs.
Under the brand name Eskay Kids, within several years her business has grown to three centres across Ipswich and Redland City.
Her Karana Downs centre has also been recognised by the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority as a centre of Excellence.
The prestigious honour has only been given to a handful of early education centres across Australia.
As a result of her success, the Redbank mum of two was recently a finalist in the Telstra Queensland Business Woman of the Year.
The awards, now in their 20th year, celebrate women's contribution to business across a wide variety of industries.
"When I looked at the impressive group of women I was up against in the finals, I wondered how I fit in," Mrs Kneen said.
"Then I realised that my work was helping to create the future recipients of these awards.
"Through play based learning I am helping kids develop important skills such as creativity, self-confidence and problem-solving."
Though she didn't win the top prize, she said being a finalist was a "mind-blowing" experience.
"I particularly enjoyed listening to the inspiring speeches delivered by keynote speakers and the women who won on the night," she said.
"Even today, a lot of people still see women as homemakers or working in supportive roles.
"Awards like this are important because they put a spotlight on how women can succeed in business."