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Northern Territory hairdresser, innovator and small business owner named 2024 COSBOA Small Business Champion

Announced at the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) National Small Business Summit – the 2024 COSBOA National Small Business Champion accolade was awarded to Gary Strachan, the Director behind the Deadly Hair Dude.

This prestigious award recognises and acknowledges small business influencers who are making a genuine difference to their industry or the sector. This year’s winner was chosen for the passion and initiative shown in addressing the lack of hairdressing services and skills in remote parts of the Northern Territory.

Darwin-based barber, Gary has over 30 years’ experience in business and financial management; his not-for-profit arm of the Deadly Hair Dude, sees young Indigenous people learning the art of hair and receiving a Certificate II in Hairdressing. The intention of the program is to build self-esteem, develop opportunities, skills and a capable workforce for remote Indigenous communities.


Gary has created local employment, as well as addressing broader social issues and sustainable enterprise development.


Gary commented on the being named the 2024 COSBOA National Small Business Champion saying: “Being a part of the National Small Business Summit and now being named the Small Business Champion is a great honour and testament to everything we’ve been working to achieve for our local communities.


“It’s a privilege to work with such an amazing organisation like COSBOA. I’d like to thank my team, family and everyone who has supported Deadly over the last four years. I’m excited to continue to grow, innovate, and bring new skills and opportunities to remote communities in the Northern Territory.”


Ben Kearney, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA) and Director of COSBOA, presented the award on Wednesday 3 April 2024, saying: “Gary’s work is a reminder that business is not just about profit but about people; making a difference in the lives of those who need it most.”


Deadly Hair Dude's impact is now reaching over 40 remote communities and is expanding from hairdressing into horticulture and aquaculture training.


For more information about Deadly Hair Dude, visit:  

For more information about COSBOA, visit:

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact COSBOA on or call (+61) 433 644 097.

Luke Achterstraat


Chief Executive Officer



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