Australia’s 6 Most Disruptive Entrepreneurs

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There are entrepreneurs – and then there are disruptive entrepreneurs.

There is a BIG difference.

The word ‘disruptive’ gets bandied around a lot – but in entrepreneurship, it’s an individual or company that arrives on the scene and drastically changes an entire industry; they turn the status quo on its head, shake things up and forever change the way business is done. The traditional dominant competitors in this space, which have become extremely comfortable, cushy and complacent, are usually caught off guard and handed a hard lesson as they are reminded that disruption can occur at any time and by virtually anyone.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at Australia’s six most disruptive entrepreneurs:

Sarina Russo – Sarina Russo Job Access

Sarina Russo

Self-described “Job Queen” Sarina Russo has been a disruptive force in the job access space and her $100 million fortune is the proof. In 2014, she was twelfth on the BRW Rich Women list.

Sarina struck out on her own 35 year ago, when she started the Sarina Russo Group after being fired from a series of secretarial positions. She was good at typing so she opened her own school, however she realised training was not much use without a job at the end of it, so she promised to help her students find jobs. She admits that she has always been great at winning jobs – just not keeping them! So she applied her experience in winning jobs to helping others win them too. She really shook things up in the job access industry, winning lucrative government contracts ahead of other well established, national job agencies; and this propelled her forward from strength to strength.

Her companies now employ more than 1000 people in 40 locations in Australia and the UK. About 60 per cent of her business is related to recruitment and 40 per cent to training. You can read her book HERE.

Lisa Messenger – The Collective Hub

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Lisa is an international speaker, best-selling author, and an authority on disruption in both the corporate sector and the start-up scene. Founder of the Collective Hub, a print magazine that she launched into what was a highly unstable, fractious market where magazines were “dropping like flies”, she is the ultimate disruptor and risk-taker who based some of her most life-changing decisions on gut and intuition.

She says that it’s the way she loves to do life – to disrupt, challenge, inspire and flip just about anything flippable on its head. She enjoys being “purposely counterintuitive” on almost every level. Even though there were the doubters and naysayers who said she couldn’t launch a magazine, she was the disruptor who said it could be done and who went out there and proved it. You can read her book HERE.

Melanie Perkins Canva

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Melanie Perkins’ company Canva is home to more than 10 million users across 179 countries, and has enabled people of any skillset to create compelling designs online. She and her company are major disruptors across all industries as the need for workplaces to communicate visually increases.

Melanie became a disruptive entrepreneur after growing frustrated with the lengthy time it took to do simple graphic design while studying for her communications degree. She found herself writing long instruction manuals to do the simplest things and at times, it took over 20 clicks to export a high quality document. Foreseeing that the design tools that were developed before the internet would eventually no longer satisfy the needs of a global online workforce, she became the pioneer of an accessible online platform for graphic design; disrupting and forever changing, the way things were done. The company is now worth an incredible $458 million.

Alana Huxtable – Holiday House Deals

Alana Huxtable - Holiday House Deals

Alana Huxtable is founder of Australia’s most exciting holiday accommodation and travel platform, Holiday House Deals. Having initially exploded onto the scene, going from a community of 6,000 to over 100,000 in under six months, her wholly Australian owned company is shaking up the holiday accommodation industry by helping holiday-makers and holiday rental owners alike. Her company’s facebook page is one of Australia’s most popular and interactive travel-related social media pages, far exceeding Australia’s other well known holiday accommodation platforms with the highest engagement. Holiday House Deals runs regular competitions and shares exciting travel stories, deals and travel-related experiences all over Australia. Alana is also an author and blogger on entrepreneurship and is the founder of this website. You can read her book HERE.

Jack Delosa – The Entourage

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Jack Delosa is changing education for entrepreneurs. He is the Founder and CEO of Australia’s largest and most disruptive education institution for entrepreneurs, The Entourage. With over 120,000 members, The Entourage is a Registered Training Organization with the view to becoming a Higher Education Provider in 2018. This is one entrepreneur shaking things up in entrepreneurship education. Jack’s vision is to improve traditional education globally, by introducing a style of education that puts learning first.  He is a regular contributor for BRW and has been featured on Today Tonight, Sunrise, The Morning Show, Peter Switzer, Sky Business, as well as Channel 7, 9 and 10 News. He was also named one of Australia’s Top 10 Entrepreneurs Under 30 twice by Dynamic Business Magazine & SmartCompany. You can read his book HERE.

Mike O’Hagan – MiniMovers

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Mike O’Hagan, founder of MiniMovers, turned the residential removalist industry on its head when he niched down on the small moves market. Knowing there was a void in the market for specialised smaller moves, he made his move and MiniMovers was born.

Mike is the ultimate bootstrapper, and has very unique views on entrepreneurship. Having built MiniMovers from a simple idea into an award-winning company with a $27 million turnover and 380 staff, his ideas are certainly worth listening to.

His style is honest and unapologetic. While other successful entrepreneurs gush about passion for their businesses, Mike says his passion is “big cars, big houses and a big lifestyle”. He has no great passion for short-distance furniture removal, even though MiniMovers pioneered the market. Mike describes himself as a “systemiser” and “duplicator”. He says it’s important to retain ownership in your company and not plan an exit strategy. To this day, after 25 years in business, he stills owns 100 per cent of MiniMovers. You can read his book HERE.