Meet Australia's top 30 entrepreneurs under 30
* The following profiles are not ranked.
Location: Northern Territory
Company/Role: Shamrock Homes
A true entrepreneur, Darwin’s Damien Moriarty keeps his business card generic so he can be impulsive and pursue new ideas without being categorised. With previous gigs in finance and as an art gallery proprietor, Moriarty currently calls himself “Productivity, Marketing and Repeat Business Co-ordinator” for Shamrock Homes, the largest residential builder in the Northern Territory.
Moriarty started Shamrock Homes in September 2004, entering an established construction market dominated by what he calls pre-historic ideas on tropical construction. He differentiated Shamrock by offering lighter-weight, energy-efficient, greener housing alternatives. The company turned over $12 million in the past two years, employing 100 contractors and winning industry awards. The numbers and accolades are impressive by anyone’s standard, but Moriarty says his greatest achievements are Shamrock’s high indigenous employment rates and offering opportunities for workers to own their own homes. That’s how we like them: young and smart, with a well-developed social conscience.
Location: New South Wales
Company/Role: Green Pages
According to Katie Patrick, she’s “completely unemployable, unmanageable and un-directable”, so there is no option but for her to forge on with her Green Pages venture, the world’s first eco-directory.
Starting with no money, Patrick undertook to sell $100k worth of advertising for a business that didn’t really exist. Her ‘motivational tape’ approach to selling seemed to work, and a year later she took on a $1.3 million VC investment. Green Pages has now been trading for two years, with 20 employees, five publications a year and an eye-catching website. And it’s all dedicated to saving the planet. Patrick is currently working on plans to take Green Pages global, because “Green is really hot right now.”
Location: Australian Capital Territory
Company/Role: Richardson:O’Rourke and BGA Group
We asked our applicants to describe their greatest entrepreneurial achievements, according to ‘the numbers’. Stuart Richardson sums himself up nicely:
10: years since I started my first venture.
9: the number of direct reports I manage.
8: high-growth potential companies working with BGA Group to realise their potential.
7: months until I can apply for the Stanford Executive Program – okay, it’s not an achievement yet but it will be.
6: the age of Richardson:O’Rourke in June 2008 – putting us in the top five percent of businesses, or ahead of the 95 percent tipped to fail in the first five years.
5: consecutive years Richardson:O’Rourke has achieved triple digit revenue growth.
4: the number of ventures I have started.
3: national awards received by Richardson:O’Rourke .
2: the number of times Richardson:O’Rourke was a finalist in the Telstra Business Awards .
1: there’s only one Katie – my fantastic partner.
0: the number of times I’ve fallen and couldn’t get up again!
Company/Role: DETEKT Design
A country boy, Daniel Roney’s first entrepreneurial experience saw him counting his chickens before they hatched... Literally! At age nine he bought a $90, 100-egg incubator, filled it with eggs and turned them every day, all the while calculating how much money he would make when they hatched. They didn’t. Twice.
Roney now works full-time on his product development consultancy, spending three months in Australia and three months in China. DETEKT is experiencing impressive growth, going from three to 13 staff in the past 18 months and achieving monthly sales of US$40,000. But it wasn’t all plain sailing. Roney initially established a joint venture with a mainland Chinese company that he discovered was syphoning off projects and eventually took everything Roney had built (even tossing in a death threat against him for good measure!). You can’t help but admire Roney’s plucky entrepreneurial resilience.
Location: New South Wales
We all know someone addicted to eBay, buyers and sellers alike. Michael Rosenbaum, however, is probably the only person you’ve heard of actually outgrowing eBay. Originally operating as Auctionbrokers Australia, eBay Australia’s largest seller, Rosenbaum set up the online department store DealsDirect.com.au in October 2004. Consistently rated Australia’s number one online shopping site by Hitwise, DealsDirect has 500,000 customers and has delivered its one millionth parcel.
A self-described techie, Rosenbaum started a web design business at age 14 and continued to operate throughout his high school years and first year university. After phenomenal success with Auctionbrokers Australia, Rosenbaum quit uni to run with DealsDirect and hasn’t looked back. When your job involves travelling the world sourcing exciting new products to sell in your own online store, that commerce degree just doesn’t seem so necessary after all.