Inspiration

Four of the best Aussie businesses – nominated by you

Kogan, Warialda Beef, Jack Delosa and Carman’s Fine Foods were among the Australian entrepreneurs and businesses named in the winning entries of SecurePay’s recent Small Business Festival Victoria competition. We take a closer look at what sets these businesses apart from the rest.

Innovation and resilience were key characteristics of Australian businesses put forward as entries in SecurePay’s recent Small Business Festival Victoria Competition.

Here are the businesses that were nominated by our lucky competition winners, who went on to enjoy a morning at Small Business Festival Victoria’s Small Business BIG Marketing event, followed by an exclusive lunch at Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar & Grill at Crown.

Kogan

The online electronics retailer Kogan was nominated by two of our competition winners – Dan Burr from Dominion Group, an auctioneer and valuation company, and Joshua Lobo from online clothing start-up The Online Chic.

Kogan is one of Australia’s most successful e-commerce businesses and was started by Melbourne entrepreneur Ruslan Kogan.

Today Kogan is worth more than $300 million, but his career had simple beginnings. Kogan started his first business at the age of 10 by scouring his local Elsternwick golf course for lost golf balls. He then cleaned the balls and sold them to Saturday morning golfers at the course.

Kogan went on to found and run multiple companies, but he is best known for Kogan Technologies, an electronics manufacturer and distributor.

In his winning entry, Dan Burr noted: “He [Kogan] went from selling used golf balls as a kid to being on Australia’s Rich List with a $320 million net worth.” Josh Lobo added in his entry: “Kogan represents value and ambition, and it has disrupted the retail industry with its e-marketing and low-cost delivery channels.”

Warialda Beef

Victorian-based beef farmer and small goods producer Warialda Beef was nominated by Alina Tooley from the Victorian Farmers Federation.

Warialda Beef, the brainchild of Allen and Lizette Snaith, produces top-class beef from its belted Galloway herds. What started as a hobby developed into a business over the years, but it was the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 that really propelled Warialda Beef in a new direction. The on-farm textile business and the shed that had been used for preparing cattle for showing were destroyed in the devastating fires. It was then that the Snaiths turned their focus to producing and selling their own paddock-to-plate beef products.

Now Warialda Beef continues to breed belted Galloways, and it butchers the beef to its own specifications. In addition, it sells more than 110 cuts and products at markets in Victoria and to cafes and restaurants in and around Melbourne.

“The crew at Warialda Beef rebuilt their business following Black Saturday and now have lots of niche markets,” noted Tooley.

Jack Delosa

Jack Delosa, founder and Managing Director of business education institution The Entourage, was nominated by Ashleigh Atkinson, of the EJ Whitten Foundation.

The Entourage’s stated aim is  “educating and developing a new breed of entrepreneur” in people aged under 40. The Entourage has more than 35,000 members around the world and Delosa also runs another business, MBE Education, which helps business owners prepare their business for a sale. He has also written and published a book, UnProfessional, and helped to create the curriculum for Sir Richard Branson’s the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, in South Africa.

Atkinson said: “[Jack] is an inspiration for young people in small business, proving that age is no obstacle.”

Carolyn Creswell, Carman’s Fine Foods

Carman’s Fine Foods was nominated by Mark Edwards of outdoor furniture company Aura by Edwards .

While in her first year at university in Melbourne, Carolyn Creswell started working part-time at a small business that made homemade muesli, which it supplied to cafes and delis. When the business came up for sale, Creswell made an offer of $1,000, which was accepted. She went on to finish her degree while running the business at the same time.

Carman’s Fine Foods now produces a range of muesli products, nut bars, gourmet porridges and snacks to Australia’s biggest supermarkets. It also continues to supply to delis and cafes and exports to 32 countries.

Edwards noted that Creswell had “taken on the world’s largest food businesses and was winning with innovation, tenacity and a hands-on approach while still balancing family life.”

SMALL BUSINESS FESTIVAL VICTORIA

SecurePay ran an online competition during August 2014 in support of the Small Business Festival Victoria. The lucky winners received tickets to the Small Business BIG Marketing event, as well as an exclusive lunch at Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar & Grill at Crown. Thank you to everyone who entered and well done to our winners who attended:

1. Ashleigh Atkinson – EJ Whitten Foundation

2. Mark Boote – EJ Whitten Foundation

3. Alina Tooley – Victorian Farmers Federation

4. Anna Mortimer – Victorian Farmers Federation

5. Joshua Lobo – The Online Chic

6. Nan Yu – The Online Chic

7. Mark Edwards – Aura by Edwards

8. Kerry Hulston – Hulston Thomas Project Services

9. John Wood – Dominion Group (representing Dan Burr)

10. Peter McCluskie – Dominion Group

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