Former architect, founder of impact startup, Julia Kay, has been named Young Victorian of the Year by the Victoria Day Council.

Kay is co-founder of Great Wrap, the compostable stretch film made from food scraps.

The Victoria Day Awards celebrate the founding of Victoria after the division of New South Wales on 1 July 1851 and are separate from the Australia Day awards.

AFL legend Kevin Sheedy, 74, was named Victorian of the Year.

Kay co-founded Great Wrap in 2020 with her husband Jody. The company is backed by Who Gives A Crap founder Simon Griffiths and received an early boost from the Amazon Launchpad scholarship 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. Produced from potato waste, they hope to convert 300,000 tons of food waste per year into resin for Great Wrap by 2023.

The company now has a second production facility on the Mornington Peninsula and the Tullamarine site.

Great Wrap produces compostable cling film for homes and businesses, including cling film, catering film, pallet film and pallet caps. Its mission to get rid of the 150,000 tons of plastic stretch wrap sent to landfills in Australia each year.

Julia Kay has been advocating for 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 honored to be recognized as Young Victorian of the Year. This is a testament to the importance of climate positive companies and the emergence of female founders stepping into advanced manufacturing,” she said.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share all the hard work we’ve put in at Great Wrap and the incredible growth we’ve seen over the past few years.”

Tony Cree, president of the Victoria Day Council, 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 day Victoria, a woman who works in manufacturing, who develops innovative products to address issues related to climate change and sustainability,” he said.

“In turn, have a positive social impact that benefits us all.”

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