Michael O’Brien – StartupSmart

Michael O'Brien

Michael O'BrienName: Michael O’Brien

Business name: Fresh Events and People

Age: 25

State: Queensland


Michael O’Brien was working in hospitality jobs while studying drama at university when he realised that he had plenty of ideas on how the industry could be improved.


After having his ideas for training manuals turned down, O’Brien decided to do it himself. Getting a loan from his mother-in-law, he started as a solo contractor, devising an online system that allowed staff to pick their shifts easily without being pressured by employers.


Similarly, clients liked the system as it gave them the chance to post jobs and have a third party help pick the best candidates for the role.


Following a merger with a friend’s events business last year, O’Brien now handles both the event management and staffing needs of a project, offering him a point of difference from rivals.


“This means that we can completely control events, rather than contracting staff that we don’t know,” he says. “I haven’t found another company in Queensland or Australia that does this.”


Turnover hit $1.3 million in the first year following the merger, with staff numbers swelling from 100 to 300.


After tying up contracts for major Brisbane venues such as the Gabba and Metricon Stadium, the business is now expanding to the Sunshine Coast, with plans for Sydney and Melbourne operations over the next two years.

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