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. Anthill’s editorial team then trawls through hundreds of applications and identifies and profiles the top 30 Australian entrepreneurs under the age of 30. The process culminates in an event held in Melbourne where the 30 winners network and celebrate. We’ve been releasing profiles of this year’s Anthill 30under30 winners via our Twitter account – youngest to oldest.
Name: Mark Saba
Age: 26 (b. 1983)
Industry: Translation Services
Company: Connect Language Services
Mark Saba may not speak your language, but he sure has a lot of mates who do. His startup, Connect Language Services (CLS), works with 4,000 interpreters and translators globally to provide multicultural communication solutions to major Australian corporations and government organisations.
Starting out as a university student with only $5,000, Saba has built the company to the point where it has experienced 150 percent growth in the past six months. He has a client retention rate of 95 percent and in 2008 had two M&A offers.
“My dedication best qualifies me as an entrepreneur,” says Saba, “My family constantly remind me of a time where I went into work on a Monday, and that Monday was the day after my wedding.”
Leveraging innovative technology to provide integrated services to its clients at lower costs, CLS was recently named as one of the Top 10 National Finalist for the Dell/EXCOM Small Business Excellence Award.
Saba has opened four other successful businesses since the age of 18 – one after the other, with no break periods in between. “I have loved the independence that comes with working for yourself,” he says. “I’m passionate about the challenges and roles I have to experience as an entrepreneur. Building something from the ground up and seeing it take off is really the most satisfying feeling.”
Saba is currently growing his business at 120 percent each year. But money isn’t what drives him. “Seeing customers happy and returning is one of the biggest sources of motivation,” he says, “They are the life and blood of my business.”
ENTREPRENEURSHIP ACCORDING TO MARK
How do you deal with emotional distress?
[Last year I] was losing touch with my inner entrepreneurial spirit. Getting caught up in day-to-day operations really brought me down and in turn had an effect on the business. Support from my wife and hanging around positive people has helped me overcome this and I’m now more focused and feel like I did when I first started my business at age 22.
Here’s a recent video promo explaining Connect Language Services.