40 UNDER 40: TOP YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS GOLD COAST 21-30
27 October 2016, Written by Paris Faint, Nick Nichols, James Perkins & Karen Rickert
THE team at Business News Australia has compiled a list of the Gold Coast's brightest young business minds, highlighting the achievements of the city's most bold and innovative business founders.
The next generation of leaders have demonstrated tenacity, contributed to economic prosperity and proudly call the Gold Coast home.
The entrepreneurs from 21 to 30 have shown they are ready for action, with a number of health and fitness businesses flexing for success. While founders from the services sector also make an appearance.
21. Mat Ralston, 38
GC Suspension, Steering & Brakes, 2008
WHEN it comes to servicing the Gold Coast's wholesale and retail automotive needs, Mat Ralston is firmly behind the wheel.
GC Suspension, Steering & Brakes was born out of a national franchise, with mechanic Ralston shifting gears and rebranding to become an independent company.
"We offer our customers a complete range of automotive solutions, where our local competitors target a much narrower market," Ralston says.
"Within the old system, we could lose work because it wasn't diverse enough to cope with all of the customer's needs."
The specialist Southport-based business caters to a broad customer base from family motorists to performance enthusiasts.
22. Scott Hunt, 37
Fitness Enhancement Personal Training, 1999
A big moment came five years ago when Hunt decided that being the best on the Gold Coast was not enough, turning his focus to the rest of Australia by becoming a national franchisor.
Hunt says the transition was an easy one due to the solid systems that were already in place throughout his existing outlets.
"In the past year it's been quite smooth, even though everyone warned me that franchising was going to be a difficult process," says Hunt.
"We already had all the right systems in place, and we were at least 80-90 per cent of the way to a franchise point in the first place - all that was left was to get more people on board with the same attitude."
Fitness Enhancement Personal Training currently has 11 franchises, and Hunt dreams of growing that to 100 in coming years.
23. Scott Freeman, 40, & Leigh Wetton, 33
EMF Fitness Centre, 2011
EMF Fitness Centre offers the capability of a high-calibre gym combined with the personal service of a health club 24-7.
Freeman says the business model is simple - find out what clients want and deliver it to them.
"We've opened a gym every six months for the last two years," Freeman says.
"We try to please 90 per cent of people that come through the door, whether that's on price, equipment or service.
"We don't have to do much marketing, as our members do the marketing for us."
Freeman and Wetton are set to open one of the largest facilities in Queensland at Robina Town Centre early next year. The performance centre will feature an altitude training pool, allied health services, crèche, pre- and post-natal workouts and expert coaches.
24. Jack Corbett, 25, & Ryan Tuckwood, 34
ISR Training & Recruitment, 2014
However, the risk has paid off as their training, management and customer service enterprise has already become a well-established contender in the industry on the Gold Coast.
ISR Recruitment places more than 20-30 people in work every week, offering diplomas in business, online courses in sales and investment and real estate licensing opportunities.
While Corbett and Tuckwood admit they are chalk and cheese at times, the duo has always shared a passion for business, with Corbett starting his first company when he was 14 and Tuckwood also scoring senior management roles at a young age.
"We're like yin and yang, but I think that's definitely why we work so well together in business," says Tuckwood.
"Jack is very much the kind of person that says 'let's make things happen', which is why I think the business has taken off so quickly, and then on the other hand I have a very analytical mindset."
The ISR momentum is showing no signs of slowing any time soon, as the company forecasts a further 115 per cent growth in the year ahead.
25. Kirra Longmuir, 30
Trendz Studio, 2007
Longmuir founded her own hairdressing salon Trendz studio in 2007 and hasn't had a bad hair day since, with 12 staff in total across two locations and a plan to open to open salon number three in the near future.
Many of her signature 'balayage' styles often go viral on social media, sometimes reaching as many as 220,000 people on Facebook alone.
With this in mind, it's little wonder that the Varsity Lakes local is also the colour representative for leading Australian hair product brand Affinage.
"They have chosen me to be their ambassador, and I have started working on a number of trade and fashion shows with them," says Longmuir.
"This month I'm going to Perth, and I'm also working on another show at the upcoming fashion weekend in Brisbane."
In addition to doubling her company growth margin in FY16, this year Kirra was also named the best hairdresser in the city by Gold Coast Bulletin readers.
26. Rob Bright, 40
Cloud Assess, 2013
The system frees registered training organisations (RTO) from having to print, process and store assessment evidence and paperwork for 10 to even 100 years under legislation.
Cloud Assess secured a game-changing contract with Queensland Police in its first year, Origin Energy and retail chain Glassons the year after and dozens of RTO following suit since then.
Bright developed the concept while managing his own consulting business and RTO, implementing tailored branding, compliance options, due date controls and evidence uploads for cameras on mobile devices to cover all bases.
"We are now in a new age for acceptance of technology," Bright says.
"Whereas 10 years ago people in vocational education would have not been receptive to completing work on a computer, they now walk around with a touchscreen computer in their pocket."
Bright continues to innovate and invest in Cloud Assess, with the launch of an app and extra functions.
27. Naomi Spies, 36
Ruby Communications, 2010
The Gold Coast's public relations darling, Ruby Communications, is the first port of call for a host of tourism, property and hospitality clients.
Spies is eyeing a bigger slice of the pie with a new office in Brisbane, which has already delivered results for some big names.
"Brisbane is a more competitive marketplace than the Gold Coast, which means you need to be creating solutions for clients that will win larger pitches for bigger brands," Spies says.
"While our reputation in Brisbane isn't as strong as the Gold Coast, we are focused on providing a competitive approach with a fresh new approach, but without the CBD price tag."
Ruby Communications plans to launch another office in Sydney next year.
28. Jarrod Wade, 31
Jackaroo Caravans, 2014 & The Caravan Repair Shop, 2013
Led by Wade and business partner Craig Walters, The Caravan Repair Shop (CRS) gives old or damaged motor homes a facelift, while Jackaroo Caravans delivers custom-built luxury caravans to the market.
Jackaroo and CRS have managed to pull off a significant year of development, despite a string of circumstances in FY16 which forced both directors away from the businesses for six months collectively.
"We came through the other side of a tough year unscathed, and the plan in the short term is to duplicate the Caravan Repair Shop over again, starting from scratch and also acquiring other repair shops."
Wade is proud to announce that Jackaroo and CRS have also recently become avid supporters of the Rural Aid campaign, connecting his own staff and clients alike with farmers in need.
29. Asha Burnley, 27
Asha Burnley Health & Fitness, 2011
Asha Burnley Health & Fitness is dedicated to helping women become healthier and happier, with group personal training, online workouts, nutrition plans, coaching and recipe book.
Burnley is backed by an enviable social media following, which has allowed her to connect with clients and build an international network of Asha's Angels.
"I've been constantly building on my vision to allow women to step into their true, authentic and beautiful self," Burnley says.
"It's not just about eating right and moving your body. It's how well connected you are to your heart, mindset, living your life and interacting with others."
Burnley has also recently launched Asha's Angel Academy, an online academy for women that extends beyond exercise and nutrition to cover business development, personal development, meditation and podcasts.
30. Michael McGovern, 32, Dan Norris, 36, & Eddie Oldfield, 32
Black Hops Brewing, 2014
Michael McGovern, Dan Norris and Eddie Oldfield combined a diverse skillset and a deep knowledge of beer to make a success of their new brand from its inception.
In only its first year, Black Hops is already a fixture in many of the Coast's bars and its warm reception is recognition of the exhaustive documentation of their business' journey through blogs, podcasts, films and now a book.
They have tapped into Australia's newfound love of craft beer and are already brewing expansion plans.
"We have now, after just four months since we opened the brewery, reached capacity production and we are expanding into the factory next to us and that will double our floor space," says McGovern.
Currently, the business focuses its sales efforts from Byron Bay north to the Sunshine Coast and west to Toowoomba. With the extra capacity, the team will be able to have reps on the road in Sydney and Melbourne.
Author: Paris Faint, Nick Nichols, James Perkins & Karen Rickert