Meet the finalist for the Startup Hero award at the 2014 StartupSmart awards

If you dig deep enough, most startups have an inspiring story. For the startup hero award, we selected five founders whose stories stood out from the crowd.


Story Mama


Debbie Hatswell suffered through a truly terrible 2012 before she decided to take hold of her life and start her own business.


After being made redundant after 11 years, suffering a miscarriage and her father being diagnosed with terminal cancer, she says realised there are two choices when faced with such serious issues.


She chose not be a victim but instead launched Story Mama, a online store selling kids books.


Blue Chilli


Founded by Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, the Blue Chilli venture technology startup accelerator was born of a dance parties company and a stint in the Navy.


After serving as a weapons electronics engineering officer in the Navy for ten years, Eckersley-Maslin created a series of startups before he combined his love for startups and processes to launch one of Sydney’s leading startup accelerator.


Blue Chilli has gone on to back over 30 startups by building their tech platforms, mentoring and office space.


BENT OVER Silicone Nozzles


The idea for this nifty flexible plumbing tool was born after founder Alex John landed badly on his back while using a self-constructed home waterslide, dislodging a fragment of his spinal cord that could have turned him into a quadriplegic.


While watching a demonstration of what happened to his spine his hospital, John had lightbulb moment about a problem he kept facing in his plumbing business with silicone and sealant application.


He patented the BENT OVER Silicone Nozzles technology and has been busy selling it ever since to the building and construction ever since.

Invincible Worldwide


Growing up in the western suburbs of Sydney, Alan La says he realised the young people in his community lacked the self-confidence and drive to succeed.


He built and launched Invincible Worldwide, a martial arts and motivational platform for young people, motivated by his own experiences scrambling to find support.


The program empowers young people through training and community.


First Aid YUCAN2


After Tammy Richie almost lost her son to a drowning accident, she realised how lucky she was to know resuscitation techniques or she would have lost her son.


She went on to form First Aid YUCAN2, a nationally recognised CPR and first aid course which has taught lifesaving tactics to thousands of Australians, and probably saved many lives.


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