Meet Australia's top 30 entrepreneurs under 30
* The following profiles are not ranked.
Location: New South Wales
According to Robert Castaneda, “Entrepreneurs don’t fail, we just learn lessons.” Since founding IT services firm CustomWare in 2001, the company has grow to 80 staff in three countries (Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia) and gained 150 customers in over 20 countries. He is also the founding member of smartcharity.org, which performs IT services for charities. He even chose to include a picture not of himself but of his son at his sixth birthday party, to emphasise the importance of family – sadly, not something every entrepreneur has enough time for. We think it’s fair to say that Castaneda has learned all of his lessons well.
Company/Role: Mailman (China)
Andrew Collins realised that he was entrepreneurial at the age of six when trading unwanted Christmas gifts with friends and selling marbles in the school yard. He earned his stripes as a door-to-door salesman and by 21 he was importing and selling perfume. Within a few years he had established an M&A consultancy, working with large private fund managers. Last year Collins decided to get into the Chinese market and bought a foreign advertising company, Mailman, which is now one of the largest alternative media companies in China, with a presence in 20 cities and an audience that conservatively reaches 10 million consumers a month. He is currently launching a new mobile channel in 250 internet cafes in Shanghai. After seizing his own lucrative slice of the emerging Chinese market, we’re tipping Collins still has a few tricks up his sleeve.
Company/Role: M&M Real Estate, reallysold.com, motivational speaker and author
Many people start businesses with a vision of being able to retire young. When Launceston’s Kirsty Dunphey sold her real estate agency at age 27, that’s exactly what she could do – but didn’t.
Dunphey’s is one of those genuine rags-to-riches entrepreneurial stories. Her parents went bankrupt when she was a teenager, yet by the age of 21 she had established her own real estate agency, M&M Real Estate (later Harcourts Launceston). When she sold it six years later, the business had six offices and 50 employees. During that that time she was named Telstra’s youngest ever Australian Business Woman of the Year (2002) and Tasmania’s Young Australian of the Year (2004).
Since selling her real estate business, Dunphey has founded reallysold.com, an online real estate copywriting business, and become a motivational speaker and author. With so much entrepreneurial activity packed into her first 30 years, we could very well all looking back on her career to date as being merely the warm-up act.
Company/Role: MD of Portable Content
In 2005 the video iPod was released. Simon Goodrich saw it as a sign; an inspiration to start a new business venture around the concept of the Portable Film Festival (PFF). Like other film festivals, film makers produce and submit their work, but they submit it online, it’s distributed through iPods, mobile phones and laptops and judged by the viewers/users. So, no cinema, queues, tickets or timetables. Cool concept, no?
Goodrich co-founded Portable Content with business partner Andrew Apostola after a short-lived career as a surveyor and a successful stint launching the Student Youth Network community radio station in Melbourne. Portable Content runs the PFF and specialises in web applications, social networking, video sharing and, according to Goodrich, awesome ideas. With film entries from 50 different countries and Oscar nominations among them, the PFF certainly turned out to be an awesome idea. Keep them coming, guys.
Location: New South Wales
Company/Role: founder Go Fundraise
What to do when you’re young, beautiful, high-profile and seemingly have the world at your feet? If you were Paris Hilton, you might strive to make that profile even higher, at high cost. Alexandra Keating, however, is striving to change the world – the world of fundraising. With the establishment of her business GoFundraise, Keating (daughter of the former prime minister, Paul) offers charities, individual fundraisers and their supporters a simple online method of fundraising, a veritable one-stop-shop to give and receive. The aim, a noble one at that, is to cut down the admin costs of running and collecting money for charity, while promoting action within the community.
In a recent Vogue interview with older sister and GoFundraise investor Katherine, Keating says there are many issues in the world demanding action. “What I intend to do is jump-start generation Y, make younger people realise this is their problem,” she says, later adding, “But my generation, we get things done: we see a problem and we fix it.”
High-profile, ex-PM’s daughter or not, Keating sees the problem and, with GoFundraise, is on track to fix it.