Today, at 33 years old, her business has more than 3,000 clients nationally, including more than 60 accountancy firms, making it the second largest auditor in the Australian superannuation industry.
Due to continued expansion the business was recently rebranded to become Engage Super Audits (formerly SMSF Outsource Solutions) to reflect Ms Heighway’s independent and innovative approach to auditing funds.
Ms Heighway's passion for professional development saw her establish the Central Coast Young Chartered Accountants to mentor young people to find their niche within the industry.
Kate McKenzie, Telstra Group Managing Director for Innovation, Products and Marketing and Telstra Business Women's Awards Ambassador, said Telstra established the Awards in 1995 to connect extraordinary business women to each other and the broader community.
"All the 2011 winners are amazing business women who inspire others and deserve recognition for their achievements," Ms McKenzie said.
"Awards judges described Ms Heighway as an astute business woman who created a business opportunity to address auditing shortages in the Australian superannuation industry.
"Her business was underpinned by a desire to help baby boomers to manage their superannuation more efficiently for a better quality of retirement life.
"Jo was truly a standout young business woman juggling the demands of motherhood, business and professional development with mentoring young accountants and staying true to her business vision of assisting retirees."
Jackie Frank, Editor and Publisher of marie claire said: "Young women who display true entrepreneurial spirit deserve encouragement, recognition and reward. marie claire is proud to sponsor the 2011 Young Business Woman of the Year which continues to recognise and support the next generation of business leader. We believe in the importance of role models in helping other women believe that they too, can succeed in their chosen field.
"We congratulate Jo Heighway in winning this year's award as the calibre of entries was outstanding. Jo's entrepreneurial drive and ability to manage the competing demands of work and family life helped us to select her as a winner," she said.
Winners of the 2011 Telstra Australian Business Women’s Awards, announced in Melbourne, are:Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year
Catherine Burn, NSW Police Force
Having served in the NSW Police Force for 27 years, Catherine Burn now runs the business side of policing as Deputy Commissioner for Corporate Services. As one of three Deputy Commissioners, Ms Burn ensures the state's 15,806 police and 4000 civilians have the capability, resources and capacity to do their jobs, while leading human resources, finance, education and training, ICT and other services. Ms Burn is passionate about community service and engagement, and has spent the last three years introducing cultural changes to improve customer relations, victim follow-up and community confidence.Commonwealth Bank Business Owner Award
Cathie Reid, APHS – Your Pharmacy Partner, Queensland
A former Victorian Pharmacy Manager of the Year, Cathie Reid owns and operates APHS with her husband, providing pharmaceutical and clinical services for the hospital, oncology and aged care sectors. As Managing Partner of APHS's Aged Care and Packaging division, she has converted the company’s aged care IP into a solution that packages medication into doses for pharmacies to dispense to customers. The solution saves pharmacies time and costs and improves safety and independence for self-medicating customers. The product range includes web-based technology that alerts customers when medication is due and informs carers of a missed dose.Hudson Private and Corporate Sector Award
Jodie Fox, Shoes of Prey, NSW
A former lawyer and advertising manager, Ms Fox decided to combine her flair for fashion and marketing two years ago with a web site where women can design their own footwear. Shoppers choose their size, heel, toe, material and other design elements to create bespoke shoes, which are hand-crafted and shipped within four to six weeks. The mass-customisation concept has captured the imagination of women all over the world, who have so far spent more than 15 million minutes on the site creating shoes.White Pages Community & Government Award
Catherine Burn, NSW Police ForceNokia Business Innovation Award
Professor Veena Sahajwalla, The University of NSW
As Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology at the University of NSW, Professor Veena Sahajwalla, has developed world-first technology to produce 'green steel'. Best known as a judge on ABC television's New Inventors, she has collaborated with manufacturing giant OneSteel to hone the technology, which mixes plastic and rubber waste into the scrap reprocessing phase of steel production. The process not only produces fewer emissions, but also reduces reliance on fossil fuel (coke) and requires less electricity. In addition, plastic and rubber waste are spared from landfill.marie claire Young Business Women's Award
Jo Heighway, Engage Super Audits, NSWWinners of the Awards receive a share of more than $200,000 in cash and prizes including a luxury Hamilton island getaway, and become part of an exclusive national business alumni.