Founders: Simon van Wyk, Patrick Cusack, Greg Brown
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OurPatch is a network of more than 180 websites aimed at delivering information and services to rural and regional Australia, with the business claiming there is a “Patch” in some 200 Australian towns.
The NSW-based business was founded in 2008 by Simon van Wyk, Patrick Cusack and Greg Brown, based on the belief that regional and rural towns were being neglected by major online publishers.
“[These towns] have a need to migrate their business online, and access to internet services is critical,” van Wyk says.
OurPatch helps business and community groups by providing them with tools to promote their activities on the internet, including events, local news and general discussion.
So whether you’re looking for a place to live, eat or work, or you wish to buy and sell items, OurPatch enables remote communities to promote or source whatever they so choose.
With six staff on board, the business attracted revenue of $695,000 in the previous financial year, but it’s been a long road and a huge learning curve for the founders.
“The business was founded with a fourth partner who convinced us a local sales model was the way to go because he had a successful model in his region,” van Wyk says.
“We copied this model and discovered he had fabricated his success. We had to restructure the shareholding, reconsider the model, refocus the site and get started again.”
“The second time, we had to build the model from scratch and bootstrap our growth and development.”
Van Wyk says he and his business partners have learned that going to the source is the key to resolving problems and achieving success.
“You can’t make decisions without getting to the heart of the issue. We also learned that when all seems to go wrong, there is often another path,” he says.
“We started with a well resourced model, failed at that and had to start again without resources, but we’ve survived and grown dramatically.”
According to van Wyk, the best part about starting a business is watching something grow from nothing, and outdoing larger competitors.