Meet Australia’s top 30 entrepreneurs under 30
* The following profiles are not ranked.
Location: New South Wales
Company/Role: Crust Pizza
At 22, Costa Anastasiadis had a promising career as a professional footballer, based in the UK playing for Scarborough FC in the English Football League. He threw it all in, however, when his family’s Sydney hotel business failed to the extent his parents had to sell the family home.
Returning to Sydney in 2001, Anastasiadis was charged with the responsibility of creating a new business opportunity to rebuild the family’s finances. Starting with a budget of $70,000 he created a new gourmet pizza store, Crust, and transformed it into a fast-growing pizza franchise with turnover at almost $20 million. There are 17 Crust stores across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with plans for 28 by the end of the year and 35 by the end of next. We’re tipping his family is pretty happy with that.
Company/Role: Simply Rose Petals
Roses are red, or so the poem goes. However, for Sarah Benjamin and her company Simply Rose Petals, roses have a tinge of green. She co-founded Simply Rose Petals with her mum in 2004, becoming the first Australian rose growers to produce specifically for premium dried rose petals used at weddings. Simply Rose Petals now exports to 11 countries, has supplied over 1,300 brides through their online shop and sells a retailer range in four states. What’s more, the company has had revenue growth of 900 percent and 325 percent in the last two financial years respectively and is on track to record 155 percent growth this year.
All this success saw Benjamin named as a finalist in the 2006 Telstra Business Women’s Awards, along with many other accolades.
That’s sweet pickings in anyone’s book.
Location: Queensland (Dubai)
Company/Role: Auscor Cranes
We particularly like Kane Black. Not just because he is a serially successful entrepreneur but because he is doing Australia proud in a market full of big players with mega bucks. Black had a successful I.T. career earning a good living in Europe when he decided to throw it in back in 2006 and come home. Once back, though, he caught the entrepreneurial bug and felt that Dubai was the place to be. He initially founded a constructing company but it fell apart due to complications with its first two high-rise apartment contracts. With investors looking over his shoulder and equipment and staff sitting around unused, Black went on to found Auscor Cranes, which hires and services cranes throughout Dubai and the UAE. Auscor has quickly grown to become the fourth largest crane hire company in Dubai, generating $70,000 per month. He expects it to finish 2008 servicing 30 cranes (generating $1.5m per month), and hopes to have 70 cranes and 160 staff by the end of 2009.
That’s a nice taste of Dubai’s construction boom, indeed.
Mike Cannon-Brookes & Scott Farquhar
Location: New South Wales
It’s a measure of success for a ‘young’ entrepreneur when achievement outshines age; when your business is so successful your youth becomes unremarkable.
This is the case for Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar. The duo took out the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award back in 2006 (note: not the youth section but the proper grown-ups award) and a lot of media coverage focused on the fact they were only 26. A couple of years on, their business, Atlassian, services 10,500 customers, many of them global giants, across 101 countries. Nobody really mentions their age anymore.
Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar started Atlassian after meeting at university and deciding that working for a large company just wasn’t for them. They spotted a niche in the market for issue-tracking software, filled it, and went on to offer other project-management and enterprise collaboration tools. Ironically, they have ended up working for a large company, but it’s not so bad when you own it.