MICHELLE BUBKE: YE 2009

Written on the 18 January 2011

NOV 2009

NRG GLOBAL SOLUTIONS
DEBT COLLECTION

Age: 39
Business Est: 2001
Number of staff: 45
Growth: 263 per cent
Turnover: $2.3 million

THE ‘diamond-studded bat’ of debt collection may have a tough reputation, but as the world economy took a spin the need for banks to reduce bad debt and customer attrition reached critical levels.

This is where NRG Global Solutions comes in, managing and collecting debt for international and local banks and telecommunications organisations, as well providing business process outsourcing (BPO) to large Australian enterprises.

CEO Michelle Bubke says her company grew by 263 per cent last financial year and has continued to grow by 10 to 15 per cent every month since, as it continues to benefit from its Philippines call centre established last year.

“The Philippines over India was a very easy decision – the most relevant factor is the time zone difference, at two hours difference to AEST it is easy to foster a ‘oneness’ in the organisation – no one needs to get up at 1am to have a conference call,” says Bubke.

“NRG GS expects the same growth this year, with a mixture of corporate debt collection, and BPO services increasing – we will maintain and continue to grow our Australian call centre too.”

After leaving school Bubke worked in various ‘odd jobs’ before stumbling into debt collection when she was 23, making it her mission to learn all she could about the industry before she eventually started NRG in 2001.

She says debt collection is historically a male-dominated industry but that is changing rapidly, as performance is more important than gender. While she admits it is perceived as a ‘tough’ industry, those who owe money are just ordinary people, not credit criminals.

“They are people like you and I, though circumstances, be it job loss, illness, or simply bad money management have found themselves in debt – our job is to work with every one of those people to find a solution that works for them, and of course, our client.”

With a belief that NRG’s growth is sustainable, Bubke sees entrepreneurship as a mix of taking and mitigating risk, as well as hiring the right team.

“Never hire ‘yes’ people in your critical positions. Know your strengths, know theirs and steer the ship in the direction you want,” she says.

“I don’t think there is one factor that makes the best entrepreneur however the absolute must is a ‘never give up’ approach to business and continually thinking with an innovative approach.”

NRG has grown without investor funding but has received several investment offers over the last six months. However Bubke is still waiting for the ‘right fit’ for the company’s investor profile.


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