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He has a track record of show-stopping entrepreneurial feats. He is a relentless supporter and cheerleader for the business-venture spirit in Australians young and old. And every time Anthill rolls out its 30under30 list, there he is again. This time, Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin wowed us with Blue Chilli, a support company for budding online ventures.
The challenge three years ago was enormous: Two guys whose time on this planet totaled less than a half-century would take on one of the toughest markets in Australia -- home entertainment retail. And they would do it online. Talk about an uphill climb. But Jonathon Green and Elliot Green have proven to be the most gritty of entrepreneurial mountaineers.
If 2011 proves to be the year in which cloud computing transformed from a growing techie trend into an integral component of our wired lifestyles, Sheng Yeo and Alex Sharp will have had much to do with it. The two UTS mates co-founded Orion Virtualisation Solutions (aka OrionVM) in 2010 with a straightforward goal in mind: build the fastest cloud storage platform in Australia. Today, OrionVM competes among the fastest in the world.
"People ask me how I manage to work over 100 hours a week," Ruslan Kogan says. "I tell them: I don't work; I live this stuff." For the 28-year-old creator of the wildly successful online consumer electronics company that bears his name, "stuff" is a potent mix of competition, innovation and bravado.
Laurence Escalante, who suffered a crushing financial and personal blow with an earlier business, has a phoenix by the tailfeathers with his latest venture. Virtual Gaming Worlds might still be an early stage startup, but its concept of combining online games with online gambling has attracted some serious venture capital.
Want to work in construction or serve some cold ones from behind a bar? Well, you need certification for that. And Sergei Sergienko is here to help. His company, Edway Training, offers the courses necessary for people get work in the construction and hospitality industries.
Armed with a corporate background, Jan Vydra leaped into the herb industry with determination to build a better basil. By any measurement, he has been wildly successful with his 3-year-old company, Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs. Recently, the national government named him Young Farmer of the Year.
Dean Ramler probably can't wait for the end of the 2012 London Olympics. Because when the flame is snuffed out, things will really start to heat up for his company, Milan Direct, which is contracted to sell 800,000 pieces of furniture used during the Games.
Onur Kece left a cushy job in advertising to co-create Found Organic Juices, which boasts selling the world's first carbon-neutral juice. That's just one facet of a relentless, imaginative marketing push to make Found stand out in a crowded market.
There's something liberating about being a self-described nerd. Chris Baxter is comfortable with the label, especially since it falls easily alongside his bigger, more powerful moniker -- international patent law attorney. Baxter says he started his patent-law firm, Baxter IP, because he wanted SMEs and entrepreneurs to have the same access to protection of intellectual property that big R&D companies do.
Brisbane's street food scene just got a lot more picante. Jordan Birchall found the idea for Tuckeria Fresh Mexican while living in California. Although the Financial Crisis slammed the lid on his real estate venture, he found the Mexican cuisine culture there to be a whole new opportunity to take home with him. "I started Tuckeria to prove that not all fast food is bad for you," he says.
Melissa Loughnan doesn't just make publicity out of art; she makes an art of publicity. Owner and curator of Utopian Slumps gallery in Melbourne, Loughnan has become an undeniable player on the stage of contemporary art in Australia. She's given artists a reason to believe and reinvigourated an enterprise steered largely by collectors and philanthropists twice her age. And she has developed a durable model to handle the business behind the artwork.
In 2009, Marcela Christy was planning her own wedding. At the same time, she needed an outlet for her desire to write. The two things came together, forming a wedding blog that today is a full-blown, nuptial-laden website called One Stylish Bride.
After a spate of natural disasters, Queensland residents are no strangers to the insurance claims process. "I saw how much time and labour was wasted and thought, 'There's got to be a better way to do this,'" says Don McKenzie, 28, who started up the Stream Group in 2006 after a series of storms in Southeast Queensland.
"I believe in creating business models that are buzz-worthy in their own right," says Ben Johnston, the big man behind Josephmark.com.au, a brand management and design company. After we singled him out as an Emerging Digital Doyen last year, Johnston has roared to the surface, proving that one doesn't need to sacrifice cool or conscience for profitability. (Warning: contains highly addictive video content.)
The burgeoning world of online retail is steadily finding support companies that speak the same language. One of the most hard-charging examples is eStore Logistics, a warehousing and shipping company founded in 2009 by Leigh Williams.
In 2009, Michael Mironowicz brought a background in retail sales into a partnership with longtime friend Andrew Yang, who was running an online consumer-goods seller called The Storehouse. Mironowicz's sales savvy was just the tonic The Storehouse needed -- and The Storehouse gave him the vehicle to reach out to charitable causes.
For Chad Yesilova, it's been one heck of a journey -- from being a stockbroker wiped out by the global financial downturn to becoming the co-founder of Innovative Beverage, which sells an "anti-energy drink" called Esc. Not bad for a guy with no previous experience in the beverage game.
McCulloch began Social innovation in Western Australia (SiiWA) with the intent to bridge the gap between the plenitude of resources that supported the dominant industry (i.e. mining) and the lack of resources for innovative social enterprise. The idea is to "support entrepreneurs, communities and businesses to deliver social good through innovative means," he explains.
Getting people to eat bugs can make for some infectious PR. At least it has for Skye Blackburn, who has made a business out of her lifelong insect obsession. "In Australia were are part of the minority of the world's population that don't eat bugs," says the founder of Butterfly Skye's Bug Shop. In 2010, Blackburn used a buggy cooking demonstration at the Sydney International Food Festival to extol the virtues of insect gourmet. Her bug shop then introduced critter-filled lollipops at an animal expo, and she now estimates she sells a thousand of the treats every week.