Not content to rest on their laurels as the world changes around them, entrepreneurs are a forward-thinking breed for whom determination is de rigueur and risk is a reality.
As the culmination of a decade hosting Young Entrepreneur Awards and following the journeys of its participants through reportage, Business News Australia will be taking the event national this week through a gala on the Gold Coast.
The excitement is palpable amongst finalists for the Australian Young Entrepreneur Awards 2018, which is due to take place on Thursday, 13 December.
Not only does the finalist pool draw from winners of various categories from the Young Entrepreneur Awards in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, but it also comprises candidates from regional Australia as well as Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Hobart.
Officially launched in 2008 in Queensland with a mission to find and recognise young business talent in Australia, the Young Entrepreneur Awards has since gained a strong foothold within the business community.
The award has 21 categories including Digital Disruptor, Influencer, Startup and the coveted Trailblazer and Young Entrepreneur of the Year titles.
Camilla Jansen, who founded this publication and the awards, anticipates the event will be history in the making.
“These are people who are never happy with the status quo. They are re-inventing business and lifting the bar, taking risks as they go and believing so wholeheartedly in what they are doing,” she says.
“To embrace change you need a lot of courage. This takes determination and is not for the faint-hearted.
“It is enriching for us to share the stories of Australia’s leading business founders aged under 40, and to celebrate their achievements while providing a platform for them to connect and grow together is perhaps the greatest reward.”
Jansen says many of the entrepreneurs involved founded their first businesses in their early 20s, and only now that they’re in their 30s are they seeing the fruits of their labour.
“Successful companies aren’t just built overnight, and this next generation of business leaders is helping develop the industries of the future as a lifeblood for the economy,” she says.
Bond University has been a sponsor of the awards since the beginning, and its Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship Baden U’Ren has been involved since the early days as well.
“We know that entrepreneurs by nature are networking individuals. They use the power of their networks to advance their businesses, and to advance the businesses of their network as well,” says U’Ren.
“It’s a real community approach to driving business; hyper-competitive no question, but also collaboratively competitive.”
He says longstanding Young Entrepreneur Awards on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane have been testament to the cross-pollination that can occur between entrepreneurs.
“Time and time again there are examples of Gold Coast entrepreneurial businesses that have been in those awards for multiple years starting to connect and network and grow together, and extending that to the entire nation can only benefit everybody,” he says.
“We’re really excited to see what comes out of the competition going national. People always say Melbourne and Sydney are the commercial centres of Australia, but I think what we will see with the entrepreneurial businesses from regional areas is a lot of similarities.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the calibre of the businesses that are being put forward by people under 40 who are having a go at driving the next version of whatever their industry may be. Now is an opportunity for that to be showcased to the entire nation.”
Steve Scanlan, founder of Recon Solutions and Recon Technology, won Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017, an accolade that has led to Shark Tank’s Dr Glen Richards becoming his mentor and buying 50 per cent of his business.
“I’ve had a very good experience. Everyone there’s been wonderful and funnily enough I sold 50 per cent of my business to Glen Richards who I won my mentorship with through the Young Entrepreneur process,” says Scanlan.
As a long-time supporter of the Young Entrepreneur Awards, and a judge of the awards itself, Dr Glen Richards knows firsthand the quality of the nominations that the initiative receives every year.
“This initiative gives nominees an exceptional chance to be seen by potential investors and potential customers,” says Richards.
“This year Steve Baxter, Andrew Banks and I came onboard as investors in ISR Training, when founders and Young Entrepreneur award winners Jack Corbett and Ryan Tuckwood pitched on Shark Tank.”
Social media megastar Tammy Hembrow of Saski Collection took out the Influencer award for the Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur Awards in 2018, and will be just one of a wide range of entrepreneurs competing in the national event this week.
“If you want to start a business, don’t wait for more money, don’t wait for the right time, just go for it because nothing’s going to happen until you start,” she says.
The following burgeoning finalists will be in the running on Thursday:
Holly Boal – Get Kids Cooking
Ben Wong – Academy Xi
Tara Jane – TJ Swim
Julia Maguire and Lelde Smits – The Capital Network
Layton Mills – CannPal Animal Therapeutics
Taryn Williams – theright.fit
Leigh Rust & Nathan Rust – Safetyline Jalousie, SMR Designs
William Edwards – Archie Rose Distilling Co.
Sharne Patient & Nigel Patient – Head Mark
Elanor Pendleton – Gritty Pretty
Paul Eastwood – Pollen Consulting Group
Rouad Elayoubi – Alliance Project Group
Madeleine Buchner – Little Dreamers Australia
Carlie Victor – Real Active
Sapli Baroudijian & Jacob Markarian – OWEST
Anthony Radaza – RMW Entertainment
Lee Hardham & Rajesh Yeluri – Brauz
Chris Christofi – Reventon & CHC Planning Solutions
Dr Reuben Sim & Dr May Chan – Dental Boutique
Genevieve Day – Day Management
Hamish Buckley – Coco Vodka, Bean Body, Mr. Bright Smile
Sabri Suby – King Kong
Ashleigh McInnes – Papermill Media
Travis Erridge – TM Insight
Jiaheng Chan & Adelene Teh – Beulah International
Mia Plecic – Bondi Smile, Downtown Pressed Juice Co., Mia Plecic Entrepreneurs Academy
Sam Mendelson – Ka-Pooch
Eugene Cheng & Hao Phu – The Sneaker Laundry
William Strange – Sports Performance Tracking
Simon te Hennepe & Lani te Hennepe – TRAVLR
Nikias Leigh – Real Property Photography
Ben Bradshaw – Disrupt Digital
Thuy Lam – Blackbook.ai
Alex Hainstock & Douglas Hainstock – DVNT
Daniel Wessels – Jacaranda Finance, Jacaranda Loans
Tim Butters & Jeremy Hassell – City Cave
Georgio Barsinilas & Aaron McAllister – FitazFK
Katie Richards – Virtual Legal
Sam Hardy & Hamish Hardy – Peak Marketing
Hugh Rees Expose Media – Inturo
Brett Boulton – Bold Living
Karl Brown – Instyle Solar, Rokkit Performance Marketing
Peter Matthews – Solar Service Guys
Peter Ward – WARDY IT Solutions
Trent Meade & Matt Blyth – Celissa
Michael Huxley – Huxley School of Makeup, Huxley Group
Brad Illich – NewBook
Megan Ziems – Grace Loves Lace
James Marshall – MWM Advisory
Tomas Steenackers – National Veterinary Care
Tammy Hembrow – Tammy Hembrow Fitness, Saski Collection
Shaun Rose – Rose Litigation Lawyers
Michael McGovern, Dan Norris & Eddie Oldfield – Black Hops Brewing
Fady Hanna – Flagship
Naomi Spies – Ruby Communication
Jürgen Himmelmann – The Global Work & Travel Co.
Mark Deacon & Jake Robinson – Superdraft, VIZ360
Lachlan Adams & Sean Connolly – My Generator
Jonathan Dwayre – Orbitz Elavators
Michael Kellett – Macro Mike
Kane Sadjak & Bernard Mangelsdorf – BITS Technology Group, BITS Wireless
Jon Tarrant & Rebecca Tarrant – LeisureCom Travel Group
Julian Pace & Peter De Lang – Happiness Co
Daniel Jukic – Pro9 Global
Rachael Ferguson – Synxsole
Heidi Cuthbert – Coincast Media, Multiplier
Harrison Lingard – Refresh Valet Mobile Car Detailing
Stephen Cornish – Pentanet
Siobhan Mullins – Separate Together
Harry Hoang – Tailored Accounts
Ryan Hartshorn – Hartshorn Distillery
Hien Nguyen & Benjamin Germein – Happy Way
Chloe Watts & David Watts – Blueberry Co (from Mittagong, NSW)
Joanne Giles – BROWSE (from Copacabana, NSW)
Kylie Camps & Matt Camps – The Kind Parenting Company, Sleep Mama (from Casuarina, NSW)
Andrew Copley – AJC Portables (from Queanbeyan, NSW)
Laura Prael – LEP Digital (from Gosford, NSW)
Tim Jack Adams – Watersports Guru, Teambuilding Guru, GreenX7 (from Kingscliff, NSW)
Trent Kirkwood & Rebecca Edmonds – Kandanga Kitchen (from Kandanga, QLD)