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They don't often feature in the 30under30 awards, but this young gun was impossible to ignore. Working within an existing organisation, he has exhibited the drive and vision required to expand the organisation's reach and put his personal stamp on the world. Meet Nick Byrne, Anthill's 30under30 Intrapreneur of the Year.
They narrowly missed out on a place in the Top 30 but are still hot in our books. Introducing Anthill’s 2010 30under30 Honourable Mentions.
Real-estate entrepreneurs have never featured strongly in the 30under30. In our opinions, entrepreneurship is not about personal wealth creation. It’s about the process of creation itself! This year, three real-estate entrepreneurs grabbed our attention, not because of the number of Torrens Titles stashed under their beds, but because each has built a business around the real-estate industry at a tender age.
Entrepreneurship and artistic endeavours have much in common. They involve imagination, following your dreams and creating something from scratch designed to make the world a richer place. These three "artistic" entrepreneurs may not have made it into the 30under30 Top 30, but we decided they deserve a place in this year’s broader gallery for their commercial creativity.
Ben Neumann prefers to measure his company's progress by the glass. When the business started in 2005, he was fortunate to book two functions a week and serve about 200 cocktails a month. Today, his bartenders are pouring up to 5,000 cocktails a week and more than 250,000 a year.
Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin launched a blog and announced on it that he would create a fully formed business in seven days with only $500. Then he did it. The result was AutoCarLog. Yet, Sebastien doesn't even consider the one-business-in-seven-days caper his best buzz builder. No, that would be when he traveled to six countries in 12 days to launch a global brand, in a bid to be listed in the Guinness record book as the "smallest multinational."
"I dare to be different," says Vanessa Cullen, owner of commercial interior design firm Forward Thinking Design. "I've been a new business owner, just like my clients, and so I service them from the standpoint of acute understanding, honesty and empathy."
Betty Boustani was only 26 when she started her law firm in 2007. Over time, Boustani realised her interests were leaning toward advising corporate clients. She reshaped the firm's mission, becoming Emprise Legal & Corporate Advisory.
Mark Ross-Smith describes SMSfun is the first Australia-based social network. The service, which offers a multitude of text-messaging plans while providing a home for chat rooms, user profiles and addictive contests, now has more than 1.2 million members linked by mobile and web.
Andrew McKnight's MIA is an evolution from two previous McKnight ventures -- Limeworks, a website content developer and manager, and Shazam, an app that recognises the song playing on a mobile device and tells the user how to share it and buy it. When MIA finally did "emerge," it was the continent's leader in the mobile tech niche, he says, generating more than $15 million in annual revenue.
Since starting Project Rockit in 2007, the Thomases have worked with more than 150,000 Melbourne-area students. The website quadrupled its daily hits over two years. Most importantly, in post-event evaluations, 96% of students saw a decline in bullying at their school.
Naturally, McKibbin has a keen and enthusiastic eye for fashion trends. But she wouldn't be where she is today without a fearless ability to take a leap. When she first started ddgdaily.com, she didn't know the first thing about building a website. She Googled and taught herself. When the time required to run the site reached critical mass, she quit her regular job and took out a loan.
Dean J. Ramler's Milan Direct has sold more than 370,000 pieces of furniture to more than 100,000 customers. It enjoyed a turnover of $3.6 million in 2008-09, landing the company on BRW magazine's Fast Starters list. Turnover for 2009-10 was close to $5 million. The company expanded into the UK a year ago, and is already a multimillion-pound business there.
Ruslan Kogan, who has run more than 20 businesses since age 12, employs a canny marketing approach that attracts news media attention and plays up the David / Goliath aura. in 2008, he tweaked the government's nose by putting out a "Kevin 37" television and selling it for $900 -- the amount offered to each Australian household under PM Kevin Rudd's stimulus plan. Earlier this year, he stoked the fires of a verbal spat with Gerry Harvey, head of traditional electronics retailer Harvey Norman.
Don McKenzie's Stream Group is one of the biggest employers on this year's 30under30 list, with a staff of about 110. McKenzie estimates the company will manage 25,000 home insurance claims this year, up from 2,000 in 2008, and total revenue is likely to exceed $80 million. Did we mention that he's only 27?
Andrew Craig's company, Computer Empire, was started in his mother's garage at age 18. Today, it runs out of a store in Brisbane's central business district. Craig says turnover has surpassed $2 million per year. The biggest customer for his computers is the Vodaphone network in Papua New Guinea.
Expanding the reach of sustainable energy is no easy task. Reducing poverty in developing nations while cutting back the world's carbon footprint is a job of herculean proportions. Meet Hugh Whalan, who has co-founded a nonprofit that is making those things happen.
The dedication of Halliday and his staff is well-illustrated by a tale he tells when asked about his biggest entrepreneurial setback. His says a recently hired technician managed to crash the server and destroy the backups of one of Mercury IT's biggest clients. Halliday and his business partner worked non-stop from 5 p.m. Friday to 12:30 p.m. Sunday rebuilding a network for 200 users. "It was all working Monday and the client knew no different," Halliday says. "Thank you, caffeine!"
A few years ago, a young investment banker named Stephen Dash was in JFK airport in New York. He needed to access his email to learn the name and address of his hotel. But -- horrors -- his iPhone was dead. Dash paid $45 for a charger at an airport convenience store. And out of that angst came an idea that hurled Dash out of banking and into the entrepreneurial multiverse.
In 2007, at age 23, Steve McLeod parlayed a background in emergency response into a company that became Fire and Safety Australia, which offers workplace training in every state and territory on the continent. Today, Fire and Safety Australia has 11 full-time employees and six casual staff, and McLeod serves as managing director. He also has 16 co-providers who run safety-training business as licensees of his company.
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