Joe Davenport and Owen Kerr, the founders of online foreign exchange broker Pepperstone, are the 2014 Australian EY Entrepreneurs Of The Year.
They took out the top award from 26 other national finalists and will represent Australia at the 2015 EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards.
Pepperstone started in 2010 and today services more 20,000 retail investors in more than 150 countries with an average daily trading volume of more than US $3.3 billion.
The company is among the top 15 retail foreign exchange brokers globally and currently has offices in Australia, China and the United States, offering trading in 68 currency pairs and metals.
Mr Kerr always knew he didn’t want to work for a big organisation.
“I wanted to create something – to have the challenge of building something from the ground up,” he says.
It was after meeting Mr Davenport through a mutual friend that the idea for Pepperstone was born.
“At the time, Joe was a foreign exchange broker and I was a trader,” he says.
“We looked at the foreign exchange landscape and had some ideas on how we could create a better broker experience through automation and technology.”
Mr Davenport credits much of their success to hard work, drive, focus and not being afraid to make mistakes.
“We looked at the market of online foreign exchange and realised that there was a lot of cost involved and it wasn’t really accessible to the average person,” he says.
“We saw that as an opportunity, so we developed a product, bought it to market and it’s been very successful.”
Joycelyn Morton, head of the independent judging panel and Chair of Thorn Group Limited and Noni B Limited, said:
“Pepperstone is an innovative business that has revolutionised the forex industry. Joe and Owen saw an opportunity to transact international exchanges faster and more efficiently than traditional providers. The speed and the volume at which they can transact and the global reach the business now has is impressive.”
Six other Australian entrepreneurs also took home national category trophies from the awards ceremony.
The 2014 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year National winners:
- Australian Entrepreneur Of The Year and Services category – Joe Davenport and Owen Kerr, Pepperstone
- Emerging category – Sam Chandler, Nitro
- Industry category – Peter Freedman, RØDE Microphones
- Listed category – Jon Stewart, Aurora Oil & Gas Limited
- Social entrepreneur – Jean Madden, Street Swags
- Technology category – Chris Dance and Matt Doran, PaperCut Software International