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Nicole Kersh, 2011 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.

Nicole Kersh, NSW (b. 1984)

Name: Nicole Kersh
Age: 27 (Born: September 1984)
Gender: Female
State: NSW

In 2006, Nicole Kersh found herself frustrated that Australia didn’t have an online wholesaler for electronic cables and their associated products. So Kersh, still in her early 20s, did what any right-thinking entrepreneur would do — she started her own.

Suffice to say, Kersh plugged herself into a live wire. The company, 4Cabling, today has 11 employees working out of a 1,600-square-metre warehouse in Sydney. Its distribution network reaches out to Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and the Solomon Islands. What started out of a garage with $485,000 in turnover its first year has grown to $5.2 million in the latest year.

4Cabling runs the gamut of wire stuff — server racks and network cabinets; cables for voice, data and electricity; fibre optics; switches; jacks; and uninterruptible power supplies. There’s probably a time flux capacitor tucked in the warehouse somewhere.

“In my mind there is no second or third,” Kersh says. “It’s about being the best that I can be. It’s that constant push to provide the best product and service that keeps me moving, keeps my business dynamic and keeps us a few steps ahead of the rest.”

4Cabling built buzz for itself early by pouring everything possible into an industry tradeshow appearance. Kersh says the company spent its entire advertising budget into building a big, classy display. In addition to showing competitors 4Cabling was here to stay, it injected confidence and pride into the staff, she says. “It cemented our place in the industry.”

Nicole Kersh acknowledges that it’s unusual to find a young woman at the head of a large electronics firm and, of course, she see it as an advantage.

“Our industry is dominated by older men who are always very surprised to meet me. There’s a lot of tyre kickers around who pride themselves on intimidation,” she says. “Not caving in to the resistance and pushing through to make headway into the industry has given us major entrepreneurial cred.”

She says one case of industry intimidation turned to 4Cabling’s advantage. Its largest supplier was threatened by a big customer — stop working with 4Cabling or lose an account. The supplier bailed on Kersh, which forced 4Cabling to become more self-reliant. The company now handles its own production and distribution. “Our profit and market share have rised 300% since that say — so thank you!” she says.

Anthill asks: Nicole Kersh, what’s your superpower?

“Persistence — pushing on til you get what you want and, when you get there, keep propelling yourself forward until you reach your next win. If you can’t do it alone, then find other superheroes to help another mortal out — you have to keep pushing on.”

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

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