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Brad Smith, 2010 Anthill 30under30 Winner

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What is 30under30?

30under30 is an Anthill initiative that was 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.

Brad Smith, TAS (b. 1987)

Name: Brad Smith
Age: 23 (Born: July 1987)
Gender: Male
State: TAS

Mini-motorcross has been a driving force for Brad Smith.

Over five years, starting with his own money and funds from his family, the 23-year-old Tasmanian has built an offroad motorcycle empire that includes four stores, his own bike design, four tracks, a race series, 40 employees and a United States distribution deal.

The name of Smith’s company says it all: Braaap!

Smith, who has won numerous business and entrepreneur awards (none bigger than this one, of course), says that as much as he lives and breathes motorbike racing, he loves the social responsibility of his career. He holds public events and goes to schools to get young Australians into organised racing and off the streets.

“My activities are driven by a desire to help others and to do my best, no matter how great or small it may appear at the time,” Smith says.

The Braaap brand grew from Smith’s desire to grow superlite motorcycling racing, a sport he said is “huge” in the U.S. but still gaining ground in Australia. At age 18, he traveled to China to find a manufacturer for his bike design. He didn’t speak a word of Chinese. He hired an interpreter. “It took me 12 days and about 200 knockbacks before I got a deal,” he says.

(Watch this recent interview with “Stateline” show for ABC News)

He has franchised the stores; there are three in Tasmania and one in the Melbourne suburb of Frankston. “At the Braaap stores we hold street parties. We block off the streets, bring out the ramps and do moto freestyle displays. We have school bands perform, graffiti artists, rap dancers. We attract 5,000 people. It’s a great night.”

Asked to share his best “lemon to lemonade moment,” Smith wheeled out a tale that captures his positive attitude and think-on-the-fly mind: “We were launching a new bike frame. I invited a lot of customers and friends to watch me test it. I had been riding all day, taking 60-foot jumps, etc. Toward the end of the day I took a large jump and broke the frame in half. The silence was deafening.

“I had to think quick. I put the video of it on our webpage and plastered across it: ‘This is why we test our bikes ourselves.’ We had a record month in sales!”

“When you have passion and persistence you can achieve anything”
— Brad Smith

Braaap promotional video

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To check out the full list of Anthill’s 30under30 winners, click here.

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