Meet the Future Makers
By Oliver Milman
But this is only the case if youth also brings new, innovative thinking, as well as business know-how.
Fortunately, Australia appears to be blessed with a generation of fresh-faced visionaries, as our inaugural Future Makers list, the run-down of the top 25 entrepreneurs aged under 25, shows.
“The biggest advantage that young entrepreneurs have is that they look at everything through the eyes of technology,” says Amanda Gome, adjunct professor at RMIT, as well as publisher of StartupSmart.
“They know that every business now is a technology business that does something. So the young entrepreneurs can approach any industry, understand how new technology can improve a slice of it, enter it in a small way and then gradually build outwards.”
However, not every budding entrepreneur can emulate Mark Zuckerberg and become a billionaire while high school is still a recent memory.
Like every other kind of start-up, businesses created by young entrepreneurs require hard work, intelligent marketing and solid fundamentals such as funding, cashflow and sales.
“A big challenge for young entrepreneurs is funding,” says Gome.
“They don't have the networks and the management experience to convince investors that they are worth taking a punt on.”
“The way around this is they can team up with an older entrepreneur who provides a bit of grey hair, access to capital and introductions to the right people.”
Gome adds: “Another big challenge for young entrepreneurs is they think they know everything. I love seeing confident young people and their self-belief gives them the confidence to give it a go.”
“But to build a successful business, you have to know about business and actually study business. I have been researching, writing and studying business growth for decades but I still feel I have so much to learn.”
“What I would tell young people? Be humble and go and learn at the feet of those who have been successful several times.”
Only the top young entrepreneurs can negotiate all of these hurdles, and more, to build truly innovative, sustainable businesses.
StartupSmart has picked out 25 of these business builders for our first Future Makers list.
Unlike other “young entrepreneur” lists that portray anyone under the age of 40 as being an up-and-comer, we’ve gone for genuine youth. Only those aged 25 and under have made the cut.
There is no ranking as such for Future Makers, but the list is as varied as it is impressive. Some make the cut for stunning starts to their entrepreneurial careers, while others are recognised for the potential of their ventures.
The offerings of the businesses range from education to cloud computing, from construction to lingerie.
What they have in common, however, is that we feel they will among Australia’s premier entrepreneurs before the decade is out.
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