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Hot 30 under 30

hot30x250They're smart, they're young, they're tech savvy - and they're not afraid of the downturn. Meet SmartCompany's Hot 30 under 30 - a group of 30 entrepreneurs aged 30 years and under who are on their way to becoming Australia's next generation of business leaders.


Nearly every business on the list has revenue of $1 million or more, and while technology focused sectors such as online (seven members), information technology (six members) and digital marketing (six members) dominate, there are entrepreneurs from the retail, telecommunications, hospitality and health sectors.


So why has this bunch of entrepreneurs risen so far, so fast? Here are five secrets of the Hot 30 under 30:


They are immersed in technology


Ben Keighran, a San Francisco-based internet entrepreneur who was listed on last year's BRW Rich 200 with a fortune of $28 million, taught himself programming at the age of 10 and started his first website (an electronic bulletin board service called The Zone) at the age of 13.


This group of entrepreneurs represents the first generation that really grew up with a keyboard in their hand and they are using this to their advantage, particularly with businesses built around social networking and collaborative technologies.


They understand how Australia's economy is changing


The great trend that is changing Australia's economy is outsourcing, by households, business and government. A number of entrepreneurs on the Hot 30 have seized on this, building businesses in areas such as on-site IT support (David Hancock from Geek2U), personal services (Erica French from Fit2Date), health (Tristan White from Physio Co), education (Marcus Sellen from Selmar Institute of Education) and even something as simple as picking a utilities supplier (Leon Hayes from Switch Select).


They understand global markets


Good friends Ruslan Kogan and Dean Ramler have built online retailing businesses around the ability to source cheap goods from around the world in the areas of electronics and furniture. Their businesses rely on strategies that underpin globalisation, such as low-cost sourcing, short supply chains and clever use of technology.


They start small and dream big


A number of entrepreneurs on the Hot 30 have built strong businesses from very humble beginnings. Take Andrew Northcott from Labour Solutions Australia, who started by hiring himself out as a labourer and now runs a business with $3.8 million in revenue.  Or Saxon Mitchell, who runs events company Venue Management Services. He started out as a waiter-for-hire, working out of a spare bedroom that he grandly called "Suite 2".


They are young


Yes, it's obvious, but in some industries being young is a big advantage. Around 20% of the members of the list work in advertising and marketing, where young and creative executives are prized for their fresh and original ideas.


SmartCompany would like to thank everyone who nominated for the Hot 30. We had information on many fantastic entrepreneurs who we are sure have big things ahead of them. If you didn't make the list this year, we hope you'll be back bigger and better in 2010.



Meet the Hot 30 under 30:


Nathan Aherne

In 2005 he co-founded Reddog Technologies with Jason Rudolph, another non-IT geek who had previously worked as an electrical engineer. Read more on Nathan Aherne.


Nick Armstrong

In 2005 he established the green power retailer Greentricity with a business partner, and from there developed the idea of COzero, a business he launched in late 2006 with another partner. Read more on Nick Armstrong.


Owen Batt

Smartpath co-founder Owen Batt and business partner David Hodges built a business by finding something that its clients hated doing. Read more on Owen Batt.


Luke Berry

Innovative Solutions Oceania operates four divisions ranging from toys to sports marketing and property investment. Read more on Luke Berry.


Robert Castaneda

CustomWare has over 70 staff, offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Wellington and revenue of around $8 million. Read more on Robert Castaneda.


Alana Chang and Lauren Chang Sommer

The sisters have turned their four-year-old company Moi Moi Fine Jewellery into a multimillion dollar business. Read more on Alana Chang and Lauren Chang Sommer.

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