SEEK co-founder crowned Australia’s top entrepreneur for 2013

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Friday 22 November 2013 — Andrew Bassat, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of pioneering online job marketplace SEEK, is the 2013 Australian EY Entrepreneur Of The YearTM, taking out the top accolade ahead of 27 other national finalists at a gala awards ceremony in Sydney last night.

Mr Bassat will  travel to Monte Carlo next year to represent Australia at the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards, competing against national winners from over 60 countries.

Mr Bassat co-founded SEEK in 1997 and, under his leadership, SEEK has grown to become an ASX100 listed company. SEEK has transformed the way job seekers and employers find each other and is now the largest global online employment marketplace by revenue, earnings and market capitalisation.

Mr Bassat admits he was never a good employee and says he “always had an inkling that I wanted to build something for myself.” It was this drive that led him to co-found SEEK in 1997, despite having little knowledge of the internet.

At the time, his brother was looking for a house. They realised just how inefficient the existing classified system was and had a notion they could improve it. “We’d just started using the internet ourselves and recognised that, once it became more mainstream, it could provide a better way of doing anything that classifieds used to do, like looking for a house or, in SEEK’s case, finding a job.”

SEEK now has operations in Australia, New Zealand, China, Southeast Asia, Brazil and Mexico, with over one million job ads and about 275 million visits to its websites in any given month. SEEK also provides education to 20,000 students annually.

Mr Bassat credits much of his success to perseverance, having a strong team around him, and not being afraid to take risks. “To be an entrepreneur requires perseverance – recognising that there are no shortcuts. You need to have a good idea, but you also need to be able to push it forward, to believe in yourself and to keep going.”

“One of the keys to SEEK’s success has been having good people on board. We’ve also had a willingness to continue to back ourselves, to remain entrepreneurial and to keep taking risks which, as a listed company, can get harder in the public environment where anything that even smells like a mistake can cause a lot of trouble,” Mr Bassat said.

Chair of the judging panel Michael Smith, Principal at boutique strategy consultancy Black House, said the judges were very impressed with Mr Bassat’s persistence and determination which had seen him “turn SEEK into a clear sector winner, dominating its space.”

“Andrew has been extremely courageous in the powerful way he has driven the success of his business,” Mr Smith said.

“With great conviction and a clear-sighted view of the opportunity, Andrew has evolved his model along the way and achieved considerable scale. SEEK is a quality and transportable business which is already operating in other international markets and has the potential to have a significant global impact.”

Five other exceptional Australian entrepreneurs also took home trophies from the awards ceremony. The 2013 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year National winners, by category are:

  • Australian Entrepreneur Of The Year and Listed category – Andrew Bassat, SEEK
  • Emerging category – Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, BlueChill
  • Industry category –  Vanessa Garrard, E3 Style
  • Services category – Kim McNamara, KJM Contractors
  • Social entrepreneur – Professor Stephen MacMahon, The George Institute for Global Health
  • Technology category – Dale Carr, LeadBolt

Congratulating the winners, EY Oceania CEO and Area Managing Partner Rob McLeod said entrepreneurs played an essential role in Australia’s economy – creating jobs, fuelling innovation and transforming lives.

“This is our 13th year celebrating the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in Australia, and we are proud to continue to recognise and support the significant contribution these successful entrepreneurs make to our communities, both locally and globally,” Mr McLeod said.

“EY applauds all of our 2013 nominees and winners for their vision, determination and entrepreneurial spirit. We wish Andrew the best of luck as he heads towards the World awards, where he will represent Australia on the global stage.”

Grahame Petersen, Group Executive Business and Private Banking, Commonwealth Bank said: “Here in Australia, we have some of the world's most innovative and successful entrepreneurs — and at Commonwealth Bank, we're committed to nurturing their talent and promoting their success. We're delighted to have the opportunity to support the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year awards once again in 2013.”

“This year’s nominations showcase the calibre of entrepreneurial ability in Australia today, with so many nominees combining impressive business acumen with a passionate drive to succeed. We congratulate everyone who took part, especially this year's Entrepreneur Of The Year, Andrew Bassat.”

For more information on the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year program go to www.eoy.ey.com.au.


About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year TM
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential, and recognises the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognising them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in over 60 countries.

The Australian Entrepreneur Of The Year awards program, launched in 2001, is conducted in five regions, culminating in the national awards.  The program honours entrepreneurs whose ingenuity and perseverance have created and sustained successful, growing business ventures.  Entrepreneur Of The Year’s primary objective is to identify, acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding contribution entrepreneurs make to the Australian business community and economy.

The Australian Entrepreneur Of The Year program now has alumni of over 1,200 entrepreneurs who have participated in the program, including alumni judges, and 15,000 people who have attended Entrepreneur Of The Year events and award ceremonies.

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young Australia, a member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited.

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Contact details:
Rebecca Aley
Ernst & Young Australia
+61 2 9276 9305 or +61 418 835 849