Written on the 21 October 2015 by Jenna Rathbone


HE took out the top gong in the Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in 2014, and now Robert Rowe (pictured) shares his secrets of success with Business News Australia.

The founder of Tú Projects and the Unita Group - a project services group that has doubled turnover this past year to $80 million, says like most start-up journeys it hasn't been dull.

"Throughout our 11 year timeline we have revelled in the prosperous times and persevered through the tough," says Rowe.

Rowe entered Business News Australia's annual Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards last year, and with the event set to hit Brisbane this Friday, the businessman is highlighting the importance of the evening.

"Last year was the first time I had entered into any type of entrepreneur competition," he says.

"To win the award was surreal and incredibly rewarding as it wasn't just a testament to what I have done but what my team has done.

"There are so many innovative minds out there and not a lot of opportunity to showcase that.

"The event allowed me to meet with some really talented people who have achieved a great deal and most before they were 30."

What are three key leadership strengths you bring to your role at Tú Projects and how do they assist in the successful running of the business?

  1. Honesty and transparency with my clients and team.
  2. Challenging those around me to think big and not settle for the norm.
  3. Striving to be continually innovative - disrupting the market, offering a unique point of difference.

What has the growth of Tú Projects been like and what do you attribute this growth to?

Like most start-up businesses the journey to success has never been dull. Throughout our eleven year timeline we have revelled in the prosperous times and persevered through the tough. Throughout all market states we have strived to continually be different; to offer services that no one in our market was offering. It has always been my priority for us to continue moving forward, always having new goals.

Do you have a leadership mantra?

Fill people with purpose and give them a reason why.

What have been some of the highlights of your career?

Creating a seamless end to end solution in an industry where no such thing existed. I had the privilege of partnering with people who shared the same vision and wanted to work towards a group that offered every piece of the puzzle to our clients. We believed the project process could be less stressful and more supportive. With a team of people who took a stand next to me we were able to create a group of nine businesses that offer it all.

What have been some of the biggest challenges and how did you overcome these?

With the GFC in 2009 we had to put a hold on our tech development. For us that was a major move. However, once the market started picking up again we were able to begin developing again.

During low periods we identified ways to stay afloat. When one sector was perhaps experiencing a general hold we would target other sectors. At all times we are transparent with our clients and I believe that has given us a competitive edge, especially when it comes to costs.

Are there any challenges or opportunities you see arising in your industry over the next five years and how do you think they will impact business?

I believe the hospitality sector, especially in Brisbane is going through a major growth stage. The city is evolving into a food and beverage hub. We love seeing enthusiastic business owners opening their doors proudly to the masses. However, it's not just the hospitality industry on the rise. We are seeing a lot of growth in our commercial division as well.

Our goal is to continue working with clients across various industries as they work towards opening their new venues. We find success in our clients experiencing success.

What is your ultimate vision for the business and how do you aim to achieve this?

We'll be expanding further throughout Australia and overseas. With our skillset across the group of nine companies the sky is the limit. We want to continue growing with our clients.

The Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards will be held on October 23.

Author: Jenna Rathbone
About: Jenna Rathbone is a Queensland-based journalist who writes on a range of issues including business and property affairs and social issues.
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