Founders: Steve Durkin
Revenue: $2.87 million
Started: 2010
Head Office: Victoria
Employees: 16
Industry: Mining
Winner: Best Start-up Product

Safescape is a business based around the manufacture, supply and installation of a product called Safescape Laddertube.


The Laddertube is a fully enclosed, durable polyethylene system fitted in place of out-dated traditional timber or galvanised steel ladder ways which are susceptible to water and salt degradation and expose users to water and falling rocks.


The business says the product significantly enhances the safety of underground personnel.


Founder Steve Durkin spent $15,000 of his own money to get his idea up and running and the investment paid off handsomely – $1 million revenue was reached in just six months.


By providing an upgrade to a product that many in the mining industry required, Durkin appeared to be onto a winner.


But he says one of the greatest challenges was to agree terms that required a part of the sale price be paid in advance.


“This is highly unusual in the mining industry and my concern was that companies wouldn't be prepared to meet this requirement,” he says.


“As it turned out most of them have been able to do it and it's meant that our price can be lower and we are able to grow at an advanced rate without the need for an overdraft or external loans.”


“For me, this decision at the time was a toss-up between thinking long term and believing in the product and service we were offering or thinking short term and just trying to get business through the door.”


“We chose long term and while it was a scary decision it was definitely the right decision.”


Cosmetics entrepreneur Marcia Griffin, a StartupSmart Awards judge, chose Safescape as the Best Start-up Product.


“I have chosen Safescape because a lot has been achieved quite quickly and I assume there is a global market opportunity and opportunity for other similar safety oriented products,” she says.


“I like the fact that the commercial terms were smart and facilitated the growth of the company.”


“This is the idea of one person who has backed it himself.”