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Job Capital takes out top prize at 2011 StartupSmart Awards

Wednesday, 30 March 2011 | By Oliver Milman

Job Capital, a $9 million revenue company that manages the financial affairs of contractors, has landed the Officeworks Fastest Growing Start-up award at the 2011 StartupSmart Awards.

 

Founder Jo Burston received the coveted top prize, along with a $10,000 advertising package, at a glittering awards ceremony at Crown Metropol in Melbourne tonight.

 

The NSW business came in at number one in a countdown of the top 50 fastest-growing start-ups thanks to its astonishingly rapid progress since being founded in 2006.

 

The inaugural StartupSmart Awards, sponsored by Officeworks, rank Australia's top start-ups by revenue. To be eligible, companies must have started within the past four years and have more than $250,000 in revenue. Judges included leading entrepreneurs Philip Weinman, Gillian Franklin and Fred Schebesta. To see the full list awards and winning companies, click here.

 

SCO Recruitment was in second position on the Start-up 50, with $8.47 million revenue.

 

Job Capital was created by Burston following a chance meeting with serial entrepreneur and investor Philip Weinman.

 

Rather than pitch her then employer’s service to Weinman, Burston decided to explain her start-up idea to him. Weinman subsequently became a financial backer and mentor to the company.

 

Burston says that Weinman helped focus the company on cash, aiding its battle against large, established industry players.

 

“I knew the thing that would differentiate me was the service delivery,” she says. “I knew the large businesses had high attrition rates. We could be nimble.”

 

“I had a few touchy moments, but I worked out that cash was critical to success, so I focus on sales, cashflow and debt, rather than just the bottom line. Having a mentor who stressed this was a great help. I realised that cash in my business is the difference between success and failure.”

 

Burston also credits a flat management structure and high employee engagement as critical to the rise of Job Capital, which had revenue of $9.14 million in 2009-10 and has recently expanded to Perth.

 

“My last company was so structured that individual flair and ability to grow ideas into revenue was stifled,” she says. “It was suffocating. I feel the most liberated I have ever felt in business and so does my amazing team.”

 

Amanda Gome, founder and publisher of StartupSmart says: “Jo could see that that the growing skills shortage in 2006 was changing the work landscape.”

 

“Companies were dividing work into projects and taking on consultants for short bursts. These global consultants needed someone to handle their complex financial and tax affairs and Jo spotted this opportunity.”

 

“Job Capital is a rapidly growing business, driven by Jo’s passion, entrepreneurialism and leadership. Congratulations to her and her staff.”

 

In other awards handed out on the night, SCO Recruitment completed an impressive night by taking out the Best Service Award, with AquaGen Technologies winning Best Start-up Product.

 

Shoes of Prey scooped Best Online Strategy, Students4Hire.com.au won Best Start-up Idea, Direct Energy won Best Green Start-up and Wai Hong Fong, founder of OzHut, was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

 

The Start-up Hero Award, given to a particularly inspiring entrepreneurial story, went to Woodaged Holdings.

 

Gome says: “The class of 2011 is one of the most innovative I have ever seen. I have been running and judging awards for over 20 years, picking the future winners and large companies of tomorrow ­– I am never wrong and nor is our fine cast of judges – and I was struck this year more than ever at the number of trendsetters in this group.”

 

Mark Ward, managing director of awards sponsor Officeworks, says that Officeworks is thrilled to partner with StartupSmart to foster the growth of new-to-market Australian businesses.

 

“It is with great pleasure that we support the Fastest-Growing Start-Up Award and extend our congratulations to Job Capital,” he says.

 

“Officeworks is committed to supporting all Australian businesses. The StartupSmart Awards allow us to acknowledge the success and achievements of young businesses such as Job Capital and encourage other start-ups to follow their lead.”

 

For full details on the award winners, along with profiles on each of the Start-up 50, click here.