Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram SA businessman Nicholas Begakis told the press last week, that the ongoing economic uncertainty in Europe underlines the value of a vibrant business sector to strong and prosperous communities. On being appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia, Mr Begakis told the Adelaide Advertiser that South Australians should never lose sight of the importance of business to the state’s future. “The way I was brought up, the values instilled in me were to get involved not only in a community sense, but also in a business sense,”he said. “I believe a strong community needs a strong commercial sector. Without a strong business sector, the fabric of the community starts to fray.” Mr Begakis, 65, chairman of Bellis Fruit Bars and Fru Foods International, said the continuing economic problems affecting the eurozone underlined this philosophy. With many years experience at the heart of South Australia’s business community, Mr Begakis was recognised in the 2013 Australia Day Honours List for his contribution to the food industry and the growth of international trade. He said the continuing strength of the Australian dollar was a crucial challenge for Australian producers to meet, and that ingenuity, strength – and the quality of their products – rather than price alone, was critical for producers in Australia to succeed and sustain their businesses. Mr Begakis described such an approach as being doubly important for a small state such as South Australia. Pireaus-born Begakis is director of Business SA and the former director of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a post he held between 2003 and 2011. He has been Deputy President of the Australia Day Council, served two terms on the Environment Protection Authority (SA) and three terms on Flinders University Council. He is also Chairman of CITCSA, the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation and represents South Australia’s interests as a Director of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI). The recently appointed AO emphasised the need for people to participate broadly in the community. “As a community, if people aren’t prepared to raise money for additional things that government can’t provide for, then we are much poorer as a community,” he told the Adelaide Advertiser.