Coast’s brightest aiming for the top

They’re back. Following the unbridled success of the inaugural Gold Coast Business News Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2008 – this city’s brightest young minds are again rallying for their spot in the limelight.

From hospitality software to beer brewing and entertainment to construction, the entrants all had one thing in common: they are young, bright and are hell-bent on achieving their goals.

Zarraffas founder Kenton Campbell was the 2008 winner. For the 38-year-old American-born Gold Coast coffee franchisor, the awards are about being recognised as a leader. Campbell says the awards were the highlight of his career thus far.
“The award was one of the best accolades I have ever received,” he says.

“The most beneficial thing was to be recognised after 18 years of being an entrepreneur. It was amazing and to be the inaugural winner meant a lot. It re-ignited something in me. The Gold Coast is very dynamic, there’s so much opportunity here and the awards tap into that entrepreneurial spirit.”

Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Business at Bond University, Justin Craig, says entrepreneurs are important to every economy, particularly during tough times when volatility creates opportunity.

“Young entrepreneurs are the oxygen that all economies need to sustain. They are the ones who challenge dominant logic and ensure the incumbents are innovative and responsive to changes in the environment. They are comfortable to zig when others zag,” he says.

“Entrepreneurship thrives during times like we are now experiencing. Existing businesses are forced to be entrepreneurial and develop innovative solutions to ‘new’ problems. As well, individuals who find themselves retrenched are forced to seriously consider not working for a boss but ‘being a boss’.

“Entrepreneurship does not distinguish. Many of Australia’s prominent business families were originally migrants who faced adversity with nothing more than entrepreneurial zeal and a single mindedness to contribute to their community. This characteristic is evidenced in these applicants.”

Craig says successful entrepreneurs are supported by a strong team of like-minded individuals. This includes the consultant community who often back the ‘maverick-thinking’ entrepreneurs by providing more than just sound advice. They often assist fledgling businesses with cash flow challenges by being flexible with the payment of fees.

If you are under 40 and have started up a company on the Gold Coast, now is the time to be recognised alongside your fellow entrepreneurs. The winners will be announced at the gala Gold Coast Business News Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards luncheon to be held on October 30.

To complete the nomination form click here.

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