Entrepreneur Of The Year
2018 National finalists: Eastern Region
- Read more about Ben Thompson
Ben Thompson is on a mission to make humans as employable as possible. Combining business with technology, Ben has created a group of four companies: Employment Innovations (law, HR, payroll and hiring), Power2Motivate (loyalty and reward schemes), KeyPay (cloud payroll) and, most recently, Employment Hero (HR, payroll and employee benefits platform). Sydney-based Employment Hero was launched in 2014 and works as a community of people who can use their collective buying power to negotiate discounts and deals for everyone. It takes care of functions including payroll processing, employee on-boarding and performance management and provides services for 3,500 employers, representing 100,000 employees and $7 billion in wages.
- Read more about Jordan O’Reilly
Motivated by growing up alongside a brother with cerebral palsy, Jordan O'Reilly built an online platform to address challenges facing people with disability. Jordan had seen how the scheduling of support workers could be disempowering for people with disability and their families – having little control over who would arrive or when they would arrive. For-purpose venture Hireup launched in 2015 to provide tools to find and manage more effective support, directly connecting people with disability and support workers. Users join the peer-to-peer network to search for people in their local area. They can privately message and book each other online, while Hireup takes care of administrative functions such as comprehensive insurance cover, superannuation, tax, payroll and employer compliance. By removing the agency “middleman”, Hireup is 25 per cent cheaper than the traditional model. There are now more than 25,000 users on the platform.
- Read more about Troy Douglas & Drew Bilbe
Drew Bilbe was inspired to create a natural, low-calorie ice tea, while enjoying a home-made version on a Mexican beach. Returning to Sydney, Drew teamed up with brother-in-law, Troy Douglas, to create their range of healthier beverages, with a mission to tackle diabetes and obesity. Nexba was founded in 2010 and its beverages are now stocked in thousands of stores in Australia, with Naturally Sugar Free ranges including soft drinks, flavoured sparkling water and ice teas. Troy is Global CEO, overseeing the foreign expansion strategy and Drew is the Australian CEO, accelerating core market growth. Initially bootstrapped by Drew and Troy, Nexba has successfully raised over $3.5 million in capital since 2017 and is now securing its first distribution beyond Australia and into the UK market.
- Read more about John-Paul Syriatowicz & Stephen Barker
JP Syriatowicz was completing a degree in neuroscience in the late 1990s when he saw the internet for the first time. Intrigued by its potential to transform the way people communicate, he began building simple bespoke pieces of open source software. Squiz was born when JP teamed up with Stephen Barker in 1998, Stephen brought with him a considerable client base in need of an online presence. Most websites at the time needed to be hardcoded – a significant barrier to creating and managing timely content. JP set about building a content management technology that would democratise content creation. Squiz has evolved to become a creator of digital experience platforms, such as CMS (content management system), CRM (customer relationship management), Marketing Automation, Enterprise Search and Innovation technology. It now has more than 450 employees on three continents. The business has grown organically at around 20% per annum, has been profitable every year of operation and has no debt.
- Read more about Dr James Chin Moody
James Chin Moody and Craig Davis co-founded sharing marketplace, TuShare, in 2012, to prolong the life of household items and get used products into the hands of those who needed them most. The platform grew to 50,000 members, but they realised the biggest obstacle to their business was the cost of sending items around the country. Thus the idea for Sendle was born. The founders built Sendle in 2014 by knitting together a patchwork of existing courier networks, using the vacant space in the delivery, creating a cheaper, faster and more convenient delivery. A certified B-Corporation, they were also able to offset 100 per cent of their carbon emissions and customers can choose projects to offset the emissions of every Sendle delivery. Sendle’s customer base has grown yearly by 250 per cent and 180 per cent respectively and its international service, launched in 2017, covers 220 countries and territories.
2018 Fintech entrepreneur
In recognition of sustained, outstanding entrepreneurial the 2018 Eastern Region Fintech entrepreneur is:
- Read more about David Hyman
When the four founders of Lendi were trying to secure their own home loans, they discovered it was an unnecessarily stressful undertaking. They came up with the idea of offering an easy online home loan process, supported by advice from experts.
Since 2013, the company has settled more than $5.5 billion in home loans and grown to more than 250 team members.
Managing director of Lendi, David Hyman and Sebastian Watkins (sales director) were both part of the founding team of the LivingSocial online marketplace. They teamed up with Martin Lam (operations director) and Mark Kalajzich (executive director) to create the platform that allows borrowers to search, apply for and settle their loans online, comparing more than 2,500 loan products from more than 35 banks and lenders.
2018 Social entrepreneur
In recognition of sustained, outstanding entrepreneurial achievement the 2018 Eastern Region Social entrepreneur is:
- Read more about Dr Sam Prince
An humanitarian and medical doctor, Sam believes everyone deserves basic human rights such as healthcare to propel themselves forward in life.
He founded One Disease, a non-profit organisation in 2011. The first of its kind, its singular mission is to eliminate the devasting skin disease, Crusted Scabies, from Australia by 2022.
Remote Indigenous communities of Northern Australia have the world’s highest rate, and if left untreated result in a 50% mortality rate within 5 years.
With an entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirit, Sam founded a collection of other businesses dedicated to a greater cause. Zambrero is Australia’s largest Mexican franchise chain on a mission to donate 1 billion meals by 2025, whilst Next Practice - a revolutionary healthcare service, brings technology, advocacy and education together to transform a visit to the doctor. Shine is Australia’s first smart drink which also donates clean drinking water to developing countries with every bottle sold.
2018 Champion of Entrepreneurship
n recognition of sustained, outstanding entrepreneurial achievement the 2018 Champion of Entrepreneurship is:
- Read more about Marcus Blackmore
Marcus Blackmore was born in Queensland in 1945, received his high school education at Church of England Grammar School in Brisbane, and later gained a Naturopathic Diploma from the NSW College of Naturopathic Sciences. He served from 1969-1971 in the Australian Army with service in Vietnam. Marcus is a member of Harvard Business School Alumni. Marcus is an Executive Director of Blackmores Ltd, a public company employing over 1,000 people in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. The company markets the premium brands of vitamin and herbal products under the ‘Blackmores’, ‘BioCeuticals’ and ‘Fusion’ labels and is widely recognised for its ethical practices and its treatment of staff.