Indian-origin dentist bags top Ethnic Business Award

By Our Reporter
Dr Ved Berani (R) with his wife Priyanka Sethi Berani along with Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Ethnic Business Awards function

Healthy Smiles, a local Whitehorse dental practice owned by an Australian of Indian origin, has won the prestigious National Small Business Award instituted by the Ethnic Business Awards (EBA) Foundation.

It is the first award going to an Australian of Indian origin in the 32 years’ history of the EBA Foundation that recognises the outstanding accomplishments of migrant and indigenous entrepreneurs. The Foundation highlights the contribution made to Australia by these people. As Australia’s longest running business awards, these awards are the most prestigious of their kind.

Dr Ved Berani, founder and principal dentist, Healthy Smiles Dental Group, received the award from Alex Hawke, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs at a glittering affair in Sydney on 11 February, attended among others by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, ministers and other dignitaries.

“While the Quad talks are on and the Indian Foreign Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar is visiting Australia, it gives me great pleasure in announcing that the winner is an Indian migrant business in Australia—Healthy Smiles,” said Hawke.

“Humbled and full of gratitude. I still can’t believe it… this just got real,” said Dr Ved Berani, whose achievement is indeed a proud moment for the enterprising Indian community in Australia.

Showing absolute generosity and kindness, Dr Verani announced he will donate the award money of 10,000 AUD to the Sikh Volunteers Australia that provides free meals to the needy seven days a week. He also thanked his customers for their trust and loyalty over the last 18 years.

Dr Verani was lauded for finding a way to take the edge off dentistry, by specialising in not just high quality dentistry but also sleep dentistry, a unique dental practice.

Born in Mumbai, Dr Verani migrated to Australia in 2001 after completing his Bachelor’s degree in Dentistry from Mumbai where, incidentally, he was the topper too. Urged by the desire to do something more challenging, he came to study his Master’s in Dentistry at Monash University.

Dr Verani said he found the true meaning of life arriving in Melbourne on his own, studying and doing odd jobs at the same time to fend for himself. On completion of his degree, he sat for his dental licence exams at the same time, a prerequisite to practicing in Australia. And together with his wife Priyanka Sethi Berani, he founded Healthy Smiles Dental Group in 2004 in Melbourne.

In 2008, Dr Verani saw a gap in the market. “It was not just the money but the fear and trust about facing the dentist that people had. I thought if I solve these two problems, I would be right.” That’s when he took off the innovative path towards sleep dentistry. The rest, as they say, is history.

“Australia is an amazing country, if you give 100 per cent, it gives you 300 per cent back,” said Dr Verani.

As echoed at the event, such migrant stories indeed lend a heroic dimension to Australia’s national life.

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