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Robert Castaneda, 2009 Anthill 30under30 Winner

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What is 30under30?

30under30 is an Anthill initiative that was 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. Anthill’s editorial team then trawls through hundreds of applications and identifies and profiles the top 30 Australian entrepreneurs under the age of 30. The process culminates in an event held in Melbourne where the 30 winners network and celebrate. We’ve been releasing profiles of this year’s Anthill 30under30 winners via our Twitter account – youngest to oldest. Read 30under30 winners, 2009 (The Full List)

robert-castaneda_200wName: Robert Castaneda
Age: 29 (at time of award – b. 1979)
State: NSW
Industry: IT
Company: CustomWare

When the global recession hit, Robert Castaneda packed his bags and moved his family to California. To him, the financial crisis was a perfect opportunity to launch a USA office for his company, CustomWare, a business integration and collaboration services firm.

“The financial crisis meant that we had to think quickly,” says Castaneda. “We send back work to the Sydney team to keep working on, doubling the markets from which we are actively bringing in work.”

Castaneda started CustomWare in 2001, just before he left university. The firm specialises in connecting business systems and people through integrating legacy systems, process improvement and Enterprise 2.0.

Castaneda took back the role as CEO of CustomWare last year. Since then, the company has grow by 50 percent, had a 30 percent revenue increase and a 10 percent reduction in overheads.

“I never stop thinking, creating and coming up with ideas to match problems that I see in front of me,” says Castaneda, “No obstacles are too big and I never give up.”

Today, CustomWare is a global services firm that has over 250 clients in more than 20 countries, with offices in Australia, United States, Malaysia, and New Zealand.

Outside of work, Castaneda is actively involved in the entrepreneurship community. He’s a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and ran the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards for NSW and ACT this year. He was also named 2009 Eastern Region Services Entrepreneur of the Year for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.


What motivates you as an entrepreneur?

“My grandfather moved to Australia after WWII from Malta, and my father moved to Australia from El Salvador in his 20s — these guys were brave and true risk takers. I wake up each day and think to myself: ‘Am I making the best of what I have been given?'”