These People Are In The Running To Be Australia's Next Entrepreneur Of The Year

Last year’s winner Seek CEO Andrew Bassat video / Vimeo

Australians who’ve found unique ways to crowdsource designers from round the world, build world-classing recording tools, improve sports performance and constructing data centres are in the running to be Australia’s Entrepreneur of the Year.

Four outstanding entrepreneurs from New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory took out top honours at the 2014 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Eastern Region awards ceremony in Sydney last night.

The winners, by category:

Also recognised in the non-competitive regional award category was the 2014 Eastern Region Social entrepreneur award recipient, Margo Ward from KidsXpress.

The Eastern Region winners and the Social entrepreneur will go on to represent the two states at the national awards in November to compete for the title of 2014 Australian EY Entrepreneur Of The Year.

The overall 2014 Australian winner will be named at a gala ceremony on 20 November. The national winner will then go on to represent the country and compete in the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in Monte Carlo next June, following in the footsteps of last year’s Australian winner c of SEEK.

More detail on each winner:

Alec Lynch – In 2007, Alec Lynch quit his job as a strategy consultant to launch online marketplace (DesignCrowd). Originally started out of the garage, DesignCrowd has since raised more than $6 million in venture capital and is today one of the world’s largest and fastest growing design crowdsourcing sites with 30 staff, more than 100,000 designers across the globe and customers in more than 50 countries. With a mission to “discover the most creative designs, ideas and designers in the world”, DesignCrowd aims to disrupt the $46 billion global design industry and will be opening new offices in San Francisco and the Philippines in 2014. What the judges said: Alec Lynch is a talented young entrepreneur who has created a global digital business with enormous potential. With, Alec has a strong market position, a very scalable business, and a very large market opportunity.

Peter Freedman – RØDE Microphones In 1989, recording solutions were either restrictively expensive or poor quality. To address this, Peter Freedman launched RØDE Microphones, making world-class recording tools that were accessible to all. A vertically-integrated business, RØDE Microphones manufactures an extensive range of microphones and accessories in Australia. Approximately 95% of revenue comes from export, and the business employs over 150 people in offices across Sydney, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and China. RØDE Microphones has introduced a number of innovative products into the global marketplace, and is one of the worlds most recognised microphone brands. Peter sees future growth in the broadcast sector, and further expansion into Asia. What the judges said: Peter Freedman has displayed incredible energy and drive to turn RØDE Microphones into a world leading audio products manufacturer with dominant market share. Peter is an entrepreneur with an exceptional understanding of his market and strong focus on innovation. His passion for his customers and leading the market is impressive.

Philip Jackson – Sportstec Limited Philip Jackson launched Sportstec Limited in 1999 to provide innovative software solutions that help teams, organisations and individuals review and improve performance through video analysis. Sportstec is now a global leader in the sports analysis industry, servicing some of the world’s most elite teams across major sporting codes and events. Philip has also expanded Sportstec’s software into other sectors, establishing the Studiocode arm of the business in 2003 to focus on applications of their analysis software in new markets such as health, education and training. Philip aims to build Sportstec into a $100 million company within the next five years. What the judges said: Philip Jackson has achieved global recognition with Sportsec Limited, with its innovative software now being used by some of the world’s biggest sports franchises. Philip has fostered an environment of innovation and collaboration with his clients to continue improving Sporstec’s products. Philip is an entrepreneur who has successfully seized opportunities for diversification and further market expansion.

Scott Carr – Datapod An engineer by trade, Scott Carr knew there had to be a better way of addressing the high costs and risks associated with traditional data centre construction projects. Mortgaging the family home in 2008, Scott launched Datapod – a modular data centre system. Datapod provides physical infrastructure to support advanced cloud computing environments. Datapod’s system allows for rapid deployment as it is shipped to site fully completed and ready for operation. Today, Datapod holds 65% of the Australian market with offices in the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and Western Australia. Scott began exporting the Datapod product in 2013, securing relationships with international manufacturer representatives. What the judges said: Scott Carr has developed an innovative approach to rethink the costs and risks involved in data centre construction projects, offering customers a new way of working. Datapod is an easily deployed modular replacement for traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ infrastructure to support cloud computing. Scott has demonstrated true grit in overcoming challenges and adversity along the way.

Social entrepreneur
Margo Ward – KidsXpress After spending the majority of the first five years of her life in an oxygen tent away from her family due to chronic illness, Margo Ward has dedicated her life to supporting people who are isolated, vulnerable and in pain. After studying as a nurse and teacher, Margo was introduced to the concept of Play Therapy, which accesses the creativity of art, music, drama and play therapy with phenomenal therapeutic effect. In 2005, she launched KidsXpress, an expressive therapy program. Today, Margo is leading the expansion of KidsXpress and is looking for new opportunities to broaden the organisation’s scope.

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