Home Startup & Entrepreneurship John Maher, 2010 Anthill 5over50 Winner

John Maher, 2010 Anthill 5over50 Winner


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What is 5over50?

5over50 is an Anthill initiative launched in mid-2010 as an offshoot of its popular 30under30 awards. It recognises Australian entrepreneurs over age 50 who have started a new business in the past five years. More.

John Maher, VIC (b. 1950)

Name: John Maher
Age: 60 (Born: May 1950)
Gender: Male
State: VIC

John Maher is a sporting man of the green. A longtime cricket player, in his later years he made the switch to the grassy expanses of lawn bowl.

As he took those curving rolls with the sport’s asymmetrical ball, the wheels in his head turned. As he and wife approached 60, was there something here that could help set them up for retirement?

Indeed there was. Maher determined that lawn bowls was missing an effective but easy-to-use system for practicing and perfecting a player’s game. A few years of brainstorming and tinkering spawned the Mahers’ retirement package: the Rebound Disc.

The product is simple enough — brightly colored, lightweight discs that can be stood up vertically on a green. Players can set up the discs in various patterns and practice bending the bowl through them. The package comes with a booklet of practice ideas and tips. Best of all, the whole thing is endorsed by Kelvin Kerkow, Australian lawn bowl gold medalist at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Rebound Discs, launched in 2009, was far from a side job for Maher. It was borne of necessity. He has been unable to work regularly since 1993, when he was severely injured in a fatal vehicle accident. He recovered to a point, but says he was left with back problems and short-term memory loss.

“Entrepreneurship,” Maher says, “was my only option.”

Maher was in the insurance field for many years, and was managing a large office in Bendigo when the accident occurred. He speaks proudly of a protege he recruited who, after three months of training, became the office’s top salesperson within a year. Maher convinced the man to bring his son into the business. Today, he says, they run one of Australia’s largest insurance operations.

As for Rebound Discs, Maher markets the product to clubs, coaches and individual players. He uses Kerkow’s endorsement clout in his advertising and sales pitches.

And how has Rebound Discs fared? Since its launch in November 2009, the business has sold 660 units and collected more than $80,000 in sales. Maher recently secured a worldwide distribution rights plan with Scotland-based Taylor Bowls. Maher says Taylor will distribute Rebound Discs to 36 countries in 2011.

“I often see a need and am able to quickly visualise a solution,” Maher says. “I totally believe in the product as an excellent sports training aid for lawn bowlers all around the world.”

Rebound Disc promotional video


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To check out the full list of Anthill’s 5over50 winners, click here.