Earlier this year Forbes predicted 2014 to be the year for entrepreneurial women. As traditional barriers to accessing start-up resources fall across the board, the process of starting your own business has become simpler, yet competition has never been tougher.
Today we look at five start-ups headed by Australian women who are successfully growing their businesses.
1. Genevieve George – OneShift
Founder of online job network OneShift, Genevieve George has created stiff competition for job search juggernauts at just 23 years of age! The now multimillion-dollar business, that launched on WordPress in June 2012, matches jobseekers with employers for casual, short-term or permanent working arrangements has been embraced by the hospitality industry, travellers and students alike.
Just last year, OneShift won the top honour in three categories at the Australian Business Awards for Innovation, Enterprise and E-Business showing this business is getting noticed. Genevievehas also won the Anthill 30Under30 award for her outstanding entrepreneurial endeavours.
In 2014 Genevieve formed a strategic partnership with Victorian recruitment company Programmed (after a $5 million investment) and now has her sights firmly set on the New Zealand market.
2. Bridget Loudon and Emily Yue – Expert 360
The masterminds behind Expert 360 may hold the record for fastest acquisition of $1 million in seed funding for a start up at an incredible 5 weeks! So what prompted investors to part so generously with their cash?
The Expert 360 service offers SMEs industry experts on demand for adhoc or short-term consulting. The idea came to founder Bridget during her time as a consultant with Bain & Company. She witnessed the knowledge gap that exists in many start-up and small businesses that simply cannot afford a permanent executive on staff. Coupled with the plethora of experienced executives looking for work after the GFC she saw an opportunity to create a hub for businesses to find freelance experts.
In the first few months she convinced co-founder Emily (also from Bain & Company) to join her and within 6 months the start-up had attracted more investors than the pair could support. Now well established entrepreneurs Bridget and Emily have both expressed plans to pay their good fortune forward and invest in other start-ups and expand into the US.
3. Tan Le – Emotiv Lifesciences
Tech entrepreneur Tan Le set the bar high at an early age, entering university at only 16, and winning the Young Australian of the Year award in 1998 by 18. Tan wasted no time in following the honour up consistently over the ensuing years and set the basis for the co-founding of Emotiv Lifesciences in 2008.
The objective behind the venture was to democratise brain research by providing access to affordable, user-friendly, high-resolution brain measurement systems. The result has caused a stir across a number of industries, most notably the gaming, interactive tv, accessibility design and education markets.
Emotiv Systems isn’t Tan’s first start-up however; the tech prodigy was also behind the co-founding of wireless technology business SASme that provided short message peer-to-peer platforms to telecommunication carriers and content aggregators. When Tan isn’t co-founding start-ups we could only dream of, she’s a barrister and solicitor.
4. Dr Linda Glassop – ComWriter
Accountant and celebrated academic Dr Linda Glassop took her time before entering the start-up arena. For 20 years the CEO of Composeright worked for international companies in a number of managing, strategy and quality management roles.
It was her time lecturing undergraduate and postgraduate students at several notable Australian universities that lead to the creation of Comwriter. The cloud writing platform gives students the tools they need to write an academic essay with ease, complete with inbuilt referencing templates and style guides. Prior to release it won a$50,000 IT Innovation test award from ICT Geelong and within its first year on the market has already been selected as a finalist for the 2014 AIMIA Award for Best Website and Online: education and learning category.
5. Vanessa Picker – FitUsIn
Vanessa Picker is the answer to every casual gym-goers commitment woes. For many the thought of 12-month lock-in contracts causes a shudder, but with the FitUsIn app and website travellers, students and short-term gym bunnies can find competitive gym deals in their vicinity and book their visit all in one session.
FitUsIn isn’t the ambitious 23 year olds only achievement, in 2012 at 21 she won first place at Startup Weekend Sydney, was named the 2013 Young South Australian of the Year and earlier this year served as an Australia Day Ambassador.
The start-up superstars mentioned above are great examples of industry innovators. Do you know any entrepreneurs you think deserve a nod? Let us know in the comments.