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What is 30under30?
30under30 is an Anthill initiative launched in early 2008 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among young Australians. Each year, we invite our readers to nominate young Australian entrepreneurs deserving of recognition for their outstanding entrepreneurial endeavours. More.
Andrew Branson, VIC (b. 1984)
Name: Andrew Branson
Age: 26 (Born: October 1984)
In the cutthroat business of telecommunications, Melbourne-based IF Telecom has carved out a solid chunk of the Australian market, catering to the needs of small- and medium-sized businesses.
Andrew Branson and older brother Richard founded the company in 2005 (that’s right; Andrew was only 20). They aimed at small businesses they believed were being underserved by the big telcos. They attracted them with low prices and aggressively personal customer service.
Today, IF Telecom has a stable staff of 14 (“We still have the original staff from Day 1 working for us,” Andrew Branson says.) and in 2010-11 pumped out $5 million in turnover. The goal for 2011-12 is to hit $7.5 million.
“We feel that the small business owner prefers to have a face-to-face relationship with someone that they can see and contact directly on their mobile rather than dealing with an overseas call centre,” Branson says. That approach has allowed IF Telecom to push ahead in a market dominated by big telcos such as Telestra, iiNet and Optus.
Branson believes that keeping and nurturing a strong staff is crucial to the level of customer service IF Telecom pushes. He says he loves to see happy staff and offers a working environment that includes table tennis, work-free birthdays and “as much fun as possible.”
Branson has overcome a personal obstacle — brain tumors at age 21 and 23. “This was a huge test for the business at such an early stage, but if anything it helped the staff pull together and work even harder,” Branson says. “I recovered well and the business has gone on leaps and bounds since.”
IF Telecom this year leaped into acquisitions, buying four telcos. The purchases helped double IF Telecom’s customer base. “These acquisitions have been challenging but very successful,” Branson says. “Plus, it’s a lot of fun!”
Anthill asks: Andrew Branson, what’s your superpower?
“Positivity and always being able to see a solution to a problem. I always believe that we can find a solution to any problem and always see the light at the end of the tunnel even in times of crisis.”
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To check out the full list of Anthill’s 30under30 winners, click here.