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Michael Cohen, 2012 Anthill 30under30 Winner

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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.

Michael Cohen, VIC (b. 1984)

Name: Michael Cohen
Age: 28 (Born: September 1984)
Gender: Male
State: VIC
Known for: Executive Security Solutions

Michael Cohen wants his clients to see the friendly side of security.

In six years of leadership at Executive Security Solutions (ESS), Cohen has grown his business to offer a variety of creative services, providing staff for personal escort, crowd control, protective surveillance and more. ESS┬ádesigns bespoke security packages for clients with high profiles, like celebrities and politicians, while stressing an approach that’s cool-headed and non-confrontational.

That doesn’t imply a lack of guts, though. From the day he left uni at 20 to take the first steps to build his company, Cohen has never been shy about taking risks.

“I believe my cred comes from not being afraid to take on the ‘perceived’ impossible,” he says. “Nothing is impossible; there are just some things that are harder to achieve than others.”

Now 28, Cohen presides over a staff of 140 employees, upon all of whom he imparts a positive attitude and an infectious smile. He says that ESS has grown to such a point of publicity — especially since his first 30under30 win last year — that he no longer needs to run ads.

“The number of people that are constantly applying for jobs through word of mouth and staff referrals shows me that we have created a company that values its most important asset, its people.”

Two years ago, his commitment was put to the test when an international corporation offered to buy him out. However, instead of taking “a nice long holiday to Mexico for 12 months,” as he puts it, Cohen elected to turn down the offer and remain in charge.

“Belief in myself, our company and its future earning potential shut down any short-sightedness,” he explains. Indeed, ESS revenues have shown substantial growth, and Cohen plans to add more staff — and more smiles — accordingly.

“My biggest motivation comes through training and pushing people to limits they never thought possible but which I knew they could achieve,” he says. “Taking something from the bottom to the top is what keeps me moving.”

Anthill asks: Michael Cohen, what’s your super power?

My ability to smile in the face of stress, danger and adversity has always been my greatest super power. Through this I am able to calm those around me, think clearly and logically and never let the stress get to me!

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

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