In the eyes of The Entourage founder and chief executive Jack Delosa, Victoria is quickly becoming one of the most important regions for producing Australian entrepreneurs.
It’s why the Sydney-sider is bringing his education institute for entrepreneurs to Melbourne.
While many of The Entourage’s 300,000 members access the institute’s courses online, Delosa told SmartCompany at the launch of The Entourage’s Melbourne office on Friday that he is opening an office in Melbourne because “the time is really right for Melbourne at the moment and Victoria at large”.
Delosa says the Victorian government is leading this development.
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“The Victorian government is very serious about entrepreneurship and innovation … and that’s largely driven by the Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, Philip Dalidakis,” he says.
“The commitment is evidenced by the recent development of Launch Vic, which is an independent body, which the government have set up with an investment of $60 million to enable entrepreneurs to start and build successful businesses.
“It’s refreshing to see a government not only talking the talk, but walking the walk and putting the money where it matters,” he adds.
The Victorian entrepreneurs joining The Entourage come from right across the state but Delosa says he is encouraged from “seeing all the activity and the ecosystem become particularly fertile” in Melbourne’s central business district.
The Entourage’s Melbourne office is located The Cluster, a co-working space right in the heart of the Melbourne CBD on Queen Street that is also home to a variety of small businesses and startups.
For Delosa, The Cluster is one organisation that represents the development of Melbourne’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“With bodies like Launch Vic, with organisations like The Cluster and other co-working spaces, incubators, education intuitions, the Wade Institute – which is a higher education system here delivering MBAs – the ecosystem is becoming particularly fertile,” he says.
“Our vision at The Entourage is to push civilization forward by enabling people to live on purpose, and the vision we hold for Australia is to make it the number one destination in the Asia-Pacific region for entrepreneurs and innovative enterprise.
“Victoria is such a key driver and enabler of actualising that vision at the moment because of the government, because of what education is doing, because of the grassroots ecosystem that has largely fostered itself.”
Education the key to becoming an innovative nation
Delosa, who joined the BRW Rich List in 2014 with estimated wealth of $25 million, founded The Entourage in 2010, after previously co-founded MBE Education, an organisation that taught the owners of small businesses about raising capital and exiting their businesses.
It’s not surprising then that Delosa believes education is essential to the Australian business community becoming more innovative.
“The gap that still exists in the innovation agenda, driven obviously by the federal government, is how are we going to embed innovation and entrepreneurship structurally within the culture of Australia?” he says.
“You only do that through education.”
Delosa describes entrepreneurship and innovation as “a skill set with characteristics like anything else that individuals need to be taught and enabled and educated on how to execute”.
“The more federal government, state governments and education institutes like The Entourage can do to help ingrain and embed great education, the more an innovative nation we will be,” he says.