SOWERBY THE ENTREPRENEUR BECOMES A PROFESSOR
Written on the 20 September 2016 by Nick Nichols
AFTER spending a decade building Blue Sky Alternative Investments (ASX:BLA) into one of Brisbane's biggest listed companies, founder Mark Sowerby is now poised to share his secrets to success with budding entrepreneurs.
Sowerby, who announced last month that he was resigning as CEO of the Brisbane-based investment group to spend more time with his family, has been named an honorary adjunct professor at Bond Business School.
Sowerby is no stranger to the role as has long-term ties with Bond University, particularly working with academic staff and students to encourage entrepreneurship.
His appointment formalises that role and comes on the heels of Sowerby being named last month by Queensland Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk as the state's first chief entrepreneur.
"Mark has already made a valuable contribution to Bond on many fronts, and we look forward to formalising our relationship with him," says Bond Business School's executive dean Professor Terry O'Neill.
"He is currently personally mentoring one of our students, has been a generous supporter of our indigenous scholarships program for many years, and regularly welcomes Bond students in internship and work placement roles in his Blue Sky offices in Australia and New York.
"Mark is an outstanding role model for our students and his reputation as a pioneer and innovator is an excellent fit with the Bond Business Commercialisation Centre and our entrepreneurship program."
Sowerby has built Blue Sky into a $500 million company and last month surprised the market with his decision to stand down as CEO effective from September 30.
Following his departure, when he hands over the reins to chief operating officer Robert Shand, Sowerby plans to remain an adviser to the company as well as a significant shareholder.
The entrepreneur established Blue Sky in 2006 as a private equity group investing in a range of small to medium enterprises before listing the company in 2012.
He has since grown the company into a major Australian player in the alternative investment market.
Most recently the company has taken a plunge into big-ticket property investments in New York and last financial year its funds under management breached $2 billion for the first time.
Sowerby hopes to engender a new breed of entrepreneurs through his role at Bond University.
"I look forward to working with the university to help build more and stronger pathways for young entrepreneurs from university to industry," he says.
"I am a firm believer that investing and mentoring in young start-ups is crucial to successful growth, especially here in Queensland, and as honorary adjunct professor at Bond I will have an even greater opportunity to do this in the future."
The adventure-seeking entrepreneur, who achieved a long-held ambition last year to swim the English Channel, had a notable 2015 after being named Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Queensland and receiving the University of Queensland's Alumni Excellence Award.
Image: Mark Sowerby and Professor Terry O'Neill.
Author: Nick Nichols