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Elyse Daniels, 29, started Exodus Wear in 2009 at the age of 21 with the premise of creating completely customisable jackets—inside and out—for Year 12 students and community groups. Daniels dove right into the making of her first order with no planning or experience, of course, she ‘completely stuffed up the order’ but corrected the problem and learned a lot in the process.
Emma Blomfield, 30, understood from an early age that she doesn’t like being told what to do. This was evident to her when she first started working as an employee, her entrepreneurial spirit kept shining through, until she decided to take the leap into the business world by starting up two businesses of her own: her online decorating business and The Decorating School. Blomfield has built buzz by taking her decorating skills on the road via hosting workshops in retail stores in rural areas. The regional market is starved of interior design advice, so by physically showing up in a local store has helped her create buzz both online and offline.
Gina Lednyak, 30, started L&A Social in 2012 out of the hallway in her home. With a dream to help brands grow through technology and social media, Lednyak built a successful company with a culture that would change employee’s lives for the better. Five years since then, L&A Social works with over 40 innovative global and national clients and consists of engaged, talented and passionate team of 12 people, with offices in Sydney and Los Angeles. As L&A continues to grow rapidly, so does the scope of services they offer.
Holly Kershaw, 29, pursued her dream of “being paid to blow stuff up for a living” and she achieved just that when she got hired as the Education Director for Fizzics Education. Fizzics is a company that delivers engaging science programs to over 250,000 kids a year. Kershaw is passionate about delivering quality science education to kids across Australia and internationally. Recognized for her efforts, in 2016, Holly won the Young Business Executive section of the Western Sydney Awards for Business Excellence.
Jacqui Pretty, 30, started Grammar Factory in 2013, by chance. At the time she was doing a business-coaching program for another business idea and part of the program involved writing a book. She got up in front of the group of 50 people and pitched them on her editing skills. “That led to my first couple of clients and the rest, as they, is history!” Grammar Factory helps entrepreneurs write awesome books by working with 100+ authors across the fields of business, finance, health, property, personal development and more.
Jessica Nazarali, 29, is a Business Strategist and Certified Master Coach for women. Her brand is her namesake, but under that, she created an online training academy around the term ‘It Girl’ and added her own definition to the concept. “An It Girl is someone who is confident, successful and fun. She is willing to do what it takes and commands excellence from herself.”
Lauren Davenport, 27, started LACD (pronounced ‘laced’) in 2013. An Australian active apparel brand that delivers technical features for performance, style through flattering silhouettes and colour, and comfort through fit and fabric. LACD provides new, innovative collections twice yearly. Each seasonal range is technical, complete and designed for all weather elements. LACD can be found in more than 75 stores Australia-wide and is the clothing of choice at Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz’s luxury Fijian resort – Laucala Island along with several of the world’s top 100 golf courses (Cape Wickham, Victoria Golf Club, Royal Melbourne Golf Club).
Bradley Clair is a man of many passions, one of which is combining this great number of passions to create a unique social enterprise — AMPLFY. “The business aims to provide an alternative to mass manufactured portable speakers, which typically look the same, sound the same, offer no benefit to society and ultimately end up as landfill,” says Clair about his company.
Sheng Yeo and Alex Sharp have taken cloud technology to new heights. Orion VM is a revolutionary cloud infrastructure, “enabling the delivery of high-performing, highly reliable cloud solutions at market-leading price-to-performance ratios,” Sheng and Alex say. This platform, which consists of virtual storage, compute, orchestration and virtual networking, is built for either internal consumption or resale, Sheng and Alex say.
Jay Wright’s team knows more about promoting small businesses than many small business owners and they’re ready to pass on their knowledge. Search Insights helps businesses generate more leads and sales through strategic digital marketing. “I entered this space because there was so much noise and gimmick in the market place, and not enough firm strategy available to small to mid-sized businesses looking to scale online,” Jay says.
Being an entrepreneur is more than starting a company, it’s more than being a go-getter, it’s more than never giving up — being an entrepreneur takes an innovative mind and a dedicated heart, which is exactly what Henry Innis has. At the age of 23, he achieved partnership at a major marketing firm, which he believes is leading the way in the world of digital strategy. This firm, as well as Henry himself, has a history in investing in startups, he says.
Imagine being a social media professional, meaning all hours spent managing followers and uploading photos deemed a paycheck. This is what Harley Mitaros does for a living. Pryzm began when Harley realised businesses weren't taking advantage of all social media has to offer. He had always hoped to embark on an entrepreneurial journey, but didn't force the idea. When Harley came to this realisation, a lightbulb went off and it “just felt right,” he says. He ran with the opportunity and turned down three post graduate studies offers to start the business.
Everyone knows how it feels to be short on time and money, especially small business owners. Darren Brown’s app Expense Check is an expense managing tool for business owners who want to save money. The app analyses business expenses by integrating with the company’s accounting software. It then compares current suppliers against the market and makes it easy to switch to more efficient suppliers.
A first of its kind in the Australian market, Coder Factory has taught over 500 students through a U.S. style accredited coding bootcamp. Dan Siepen gave life to this idea as well as arranged a network of professional partners who support the company’s growth in order to “supply more qualified, work-ready developers into the market,” he says.
Noticing a lack of service being provided by other companies during the mining boom, Cory Byers founded KBSS Engineering, a specialist mechanical company. KBSS Engineering provides a range of onsite services, such as laser aligning of turbines and conveyor drives and building specific machines for required jobs. Cory’s company also provides other mechanical and electrical services to varying companies.
Working as an Uber driver may be a great gig, but what about those who don’t own a car? Chris King has the solution — Splend offers vehicles to rent for those who want to be drivers but thought they couldn’t. Splend has provided nearly 700 Australians with employment opportunities, but it offers more than just the vehicle itself. Those working with Splend can participate in professional development courses as well as earn rewards.
High school dropout turned successful businessman — this is just one way to describe Jeremy Hansen and his entrepreneurial success. In 2011, at the age of 16, Jeremy founded GlowBored, a forward thinking public relations firm, which now manages a wide variety of clients across Australia.
With the goal of making online learning globally accessible, Chris Eigeland created GO1 — the “TripAdvisor” for online education. In the early stages of development, Eigeland and his co-founder Andrew Barnes failed to raise their first round of venture capital funding for their original business idea, a CRM solution. When they went back to the drawing board a lightbulb went off. Education — this was the field in which their technology could make a true lasting impact.
For many years companies have easily been able to find employees online. Only recently, and with the help of Jordan O’Reilly, have people with disabilities been able to hire support workers online just as easily. “Hireup is innovating in the peer-to-peer economy, paying its workers industry-leading wages while saving people with disability thousands of dollars in fees,” Jordan says.
Jordan Grives has alleviated companies of the chore many employees can’t stand — answering the phone — and Fonebox’s abilities don't end there. Jordan has created a company that handles all sides of inbound telecommunications, including reporting of inbound numbers. Jordan says he noticed the market was discontent with existing providers. Products being created weren't comprehensive, reporting data was being provided in an ineffective manner and customer service was at an all-time low.