Former architect turned impact startup founder Julia Kay has been chosen as Young Victorian of the Year by the Victoria Day Council.
Kay is the co-founder of Great Wrap, the compostable stretch wrap made from food waste.
The Victoria Day Awards celebrate Victoria’s foundation following its split from New South Wales on July 1, 1851, and are seperate from the Australia Day awards.
AFL legend Kevin Sheedy, 74, was named Victorian of the Year.
Kay co-founded Great Wrap with her husband Jody in 2020. The business is backed by Who Gives A Crap founder Simon Griffiths, and had an early boost from the Amazon Launchpad grants program.
The Kays opened a solar-powered factory in Melbourne to produce Great Wrap, which breaks down into carbon and water in compost in less than 180 days. It’s produced from potato waste and they’re hoping to convert 300,000 tonnes of food waste annually into resin for Great Wrap by 2023.
The business now has a second manufacturing facility on the Mornington Peninsula as well as the Tullamarine site.
Great Wrap manufactures compostable cling wrap for homes and businesses, including home cling wrap, catering wrap, pallet wrap, and pallet caps. Its mission to remove the 150,000 tonnes of plastic stretch wrap sent to Australia’s landfills each year.
Julia Kay has been championing women in business, advanced manufacturing and the circular economy since 2019 and said the recognition was a win for all women in business.
“I couldn’t be more honoured to be recognised as Young Victorian of the Year. This is a testament to the importance of climate positive businesses and the rise of female founders stepping into advanced manufacturing,” she said.
“I’m thrilled at the opportunity to share all of the hard work we’ve been doing at Great Wrap and the incredible growth we’ve seen over the past few years.”
Victoria Day Council chairman Tony Cree said Kay embodies a new wave of business talent in the state.
“It’s people like Julia who represent the changing pace of a modern Victoria, a female working in manufacturing, who develops innovative products to address issues related to climate change and sustainability,” he said.
“In turn, having a positive social impact which benefits us all.”