From navigating the seas to collaborating with world class restaurants to create bespoke miso pastes, Chris de Bono has had an eclectic career.
His success in small business after leaving his role in the navy has been recognised after he won the Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2021 Prime Minister's Veterans' Employment Awards.
The awards were developed to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions made by veterans after entering civilian life.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said this year's award recipients highlighted the exceptional contribution of veteran employees, employers and entrepreneurs to the business world, after they transition out of the Australian Defence Force.
"Veterans have so much to offer the businesses of our country," the Prime Minister said.
Alongside his wife Meagan, Mr de Bono took the leap into small business with their company Meru Miso.
"I was bouncing around the corporate defense sector, but looking for something different" he said.
In 2016, the couple relocated to Launceston from Melbourne to ensconce themselves in the premium food culture of Launceston.
"When we moved here we could see the abundant produce," Mr de Bono said.
"We looked around and could see the food scene was really starting to kick off."
Since moving to Tasmania, Meru Miso has gone from strength to strength and has just recently worked with prestigious restaurant Vue de monde to develop their own miso paste. Veterans' Affairs and Defence Personnel Minister Andrew Gee said Mr de Bono was a natural fit for Veterans' Entrepreneur of the Year.
"Mr de Bono has successfully transitioned skills he gained during his 14 years in the navy and the reserves to start an innovative food company that is now servicing domestic and international restaurant markets," Mr Gee said.
"He is an outstanding example of an entrepreneurial and dedicated individual who is leading the way in private business."
For Mr de Bono, the award is a welcome recognition of his work in carving out a unique offering in the premium food space.
But more importantly, he said it was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of veterans, who often struggle to translate their diverse skill set into a corporate setting.
"It's nice recognition for a lot of hard work," he said.
"It's difficult to translate our skills to a corporate CV.
"It's really hard to say 'I'm a navigator and I can navigate really well', what does that mean for an office job?
"But, we do bring a really diverse range of skills to the workforce and it's good to get the word out about that."
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