JASON Ganis has edged out strong competition from innovative business minds in digital, hospitality and manufacturing to take out the eighth annual Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.
Ganis, the founder of SmartPrint Fleet Management, iFish Finance and Print Security, accepted his award which is hosted by Business News Australia in front of 200 young entrepreneurs and their supporters at Jupiters Hotel and Casino.
Ganis says he was both humbled and shocked to have taken out the top gong, and credits his business success to an unquenchable drive for success, coupled with a few sleepless nights.
SmartPrint, a business that has turned over more than $100 million to date, has grown to manage full printing services and maintenance for some of the biggest names in Australian business including Bartercard, Fitness First and Cardno.
It is also beating the big printer players at their own game, sometimes with their own products, through innovative finance and insurance packages.
But it was a shaky start for Ganis after he decided to leave a comfortable job in the printer industry in 2001.
"I'd already been in the industry just shy of 10 years, on a good income with a good wicket, but I chose to be the defiant one, drop everything and go into business for myself," says Ganis.
"After that I spent a good couple of years scraping the bottom of the barrel."
With no capital, investors or portfolio to speak of, Ganis ran the first company operations from a back room in his Helensvale home.
The months spent building a brand name, tightening services and nailing down a niche offering paid off when SmartPrint scored its first opportunity with the Sydney Cricket Ground.
"We started our first contract with the SCG which was quite sizeable for us, and at the time we thought, now we're in for it, we've started this and now we've got to run with it," says Ganis.
After more than a decade building on that first contract, the company has since become a holistic fleet manager, making service and product transactions ranging from $10,000 to $3 million.
"We don't just sell product or one piece of equipment, we now offer so much more than that," says Ganis.
"We look at what each of our clients are doing, what they're printing, how a piece of paper goes through their business and ultimately what they want to achieve in the long term."
Since its inception, SmartPrint has supplied just under 10,000 devices to market with 600 million prints under management.
According to Ganis, a flourishing partnership with Dell and an influx of major new clients is forecast to grow the business by 60 per cent in the year ahead.
SmartPrint is also setting its sights toward offshore expansion.
"We've been working with a company based in New York who are looking at potential acquisitions for us, so we can build our business even further," says Ganis.
Behind this young entrepreneur's stellar success is a mantra of detail, patience and equality in business, something that Ganis says has served him well over the years.
"In business I always like to sleep on things without rushing into anything, I also constantly put myself in other people's shoes," says Ganis.
"We treat everyone as an equal and we always want to give our clients the right machines, not giving away sub-standard equipment just for the sake of meeting targets."
For the record in this rags-to-riches success story, the SCG remains a satisfied customer of SmartPrint to this day.
2015 Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur Award Winners:
Trailblazer of the Year: Jeff Anning - Evolve Skateboards
Hospitality, Tourism & Events: Adam Haralampou - Justin Lane
Retail & Services:Lukeuce Kleinschmidt - Egofun
Digital & Technology: Bradley Illich - NewBook and Xtreme
Professional Services: Mark Deacon and Jake Robinson - Superdraft
Health & Fitness:Selasi Berdie - BSKT and Cocowhip
Social Entrepreneur: Amanda Vella - Save a Horse Australia
Young Professional of the Year:Maggie Zhang - JLF Group of Companies
Help us deliver quality journalism to you.
As a free and independent news site providing daily updates
during a period of unprecedented challenges for businesses everywhere
we call on your support