Young entrepreneur of the year awards

Written on the 11 August 2009

Do you zig when others zag?
Have you trailblazed you way into business with a formidable drive and manic worth ethic? If you consider yourself as having maverick-styled entrepreneurial ethos and you’re under 40, the 2009 Brisbane Business News Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards is calling your name.

Launching off the success of the Gold Coast Business News award in 2008, this year’s launch is set to attract a myriad of entrants from a diverse landscape of industries.

Brisbane’s entrepreneurial pool is voluminous. Take for example the multi-million dollar Pipe Network’s CEO Bevan Slattery, who has grown his company into Australia’s third largest fibre network company. He nailed the concept of a $200 million undersea cable that has the potential to cut international connectivity costs in half.

Brisbane is also home to coffee king Phillip Di Bella whose successful brew allowed him to become one of Brisbane’s largest coffee companies when he was aged just 33.

The landscape of entrepreneurs has delivered many examples from Wayne Denning who says his ‘can do’ attitude allowed him to succeed; to Don Meij, CEO of Domino’s Pizza who, like many entrepreneurs started small – as a pizza delivery boy.

On the Gold Coast last year, the awards attracted a vast range of nominations from hospitality software to beer brewing and entertainment to construction. The awards were attended by the Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan.

Zarraffa’s founder Kenton Campbell was the 2008 Gold Coast winner. The 38-year-old American-born Gold Coast coffee franchisor says the awards were the highlight of his career thus far.

“The award was one of the best accolades I have ever received,” he says.

“The most beneficial thing was to be recognised after 18 years of being an entrepreneur. It was amazing and to be the inaugural winner meant a lot. It re-ignited something in me.

“The Gold Coast is very dynamic, there’s so much opportunity here and the awards tap into that entrepreneurial spirit.”

Given Brisbane’s fast evolving entrepreneurial landscape, the awards are set to attract an influx of nominations from small business owners to corporation creators.

Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Business at Bond University Justin Craig, says entrepreneurs are important to every economy.

“Young entrepreneurs are the oxygen that all economies need to sustain. They are the ones who challenge dominant logic and ensure the incumbents are innovative and responsive to changes in the environment. They are comfortable to zig when others zag,” he says.

“Entrepreneurship thrives during times like we are now experiencing. Existing businesses are forced to be entrepreneurial and develop innovative solutions to ‘new’ problems. As well, individuals who find themselves retrenched are forced to seriously consider not working for a boss but ‘being a boss’.”

He says entrepreneurs differ from business people in their ability to take these measured risks in following through with an idea. For some this equals immediate success while for others it means practising patience.

“There is arguably no better place to be an entrepreneur than in South East Queensland. The Gold Coast and Brisbane have networks (including consultants, government programs, and financiers who are sympathetic to growing businesses) in place to support entrepreneurs at all stages of their life cycles,” says Craig.

If you are under 40 and have started up a company in Brisbane, nominate today. Winners will be announced at the gala Brisbane Business News Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards luncheon in November.
CLICK HERE to nominate.


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