Meet the board: Christine McCure from BKM Print

In order to better get-to-know our members, we thought it was best we shared who we are are and how we came to Entrepreneurs Geelong.

Find out a little bit more about one of our board members Christine McCure below.

What was your first experience with Entrepreneurs Geelong?

I attended the Bennett Merriman breakfast in November and was instantly impressed with the quality of the event. I have been to so many networking events over the years all across the country and none of them have provided as much value as I found this event to.

And how did you hear about it?

The wonderful Stephanie Beitzel, CEO of Technology Geelong introduced me to Matthew Fletcher and the rest is history.

What’s been your favourite memory of an EG event?

So far I have enjoyed it all. Everyone is really friendly and supportive. Both Bennett Merriman and Shane Young have been really enjoyable and insightful guests to have.

Why did you decide to join the board?

I have been in business for 11 years now and I find myself often meeting people at the very beginning of their business journey. I joined the board because I wanted to be able to give support to those driven enough to take the jump from being an employee to an entrepreneur. It’s a wild ride but a very rewarding one.

Tell us a little bit about your business.

I founded BKM Print in 2006. BKM Print specialises in the highest quality printing and cutting edge graphic design at affordable prices. Over the years I have developed an online print ordering system that is ideal for multiple-outlet businesses. It includes the ability to edit artwork online and send to print within custom branded storefronts. Over the years I have worked with national franchised brands including Shingle Inn Cafés (55 stores), Salts of the Earth (25 stores), Stellarossa (30 stores), Blow Dry Bar (8 stores), Coffee Club, Jim’s Bookkeeping & Coles Myer’s chain of hospitality venues.

What’s your mantra as an entrepreneur?

Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise – Ted Turner (Founder of CNN).

I’ve lived by this mantra for years.

What’s your biggest piece of advice for new entrepreneurs?

Never say no!

Some of the best opportunities I have had over the years have been from saying yes to jobs that aren’t so straightforward. I think many entrepreneurs get offered work but decline it as it seems like it isn’t directly what they do day-to-day so it seems too hard. Often those opportunities expand your business offering and in turn increase your revenue.

When was the moment you felt most challenged as a small business and how did you overcome it?

I think the early days of business are often the most challenging because you don’t know what will happen next. Often there is a lack of solid confidence and it is easy to be rattled. I started my business and then the GFC hit and many businesses that were similar to mine could not remain solvent. I was nervous but determined not to have that same fate and sought large contracts to ensure my longevity. It worked!

Times of expansion or relocation are also hard. I moved from Brisbane to Melbourne four years ago and it was tricky as I had to ensure enough systems were in place in Brisbane so I could remotely manage staff and contractors from Melbourne. I had to take a big step back, look at the business as though it wasn’t mine and brutally make changes. Whilst this was one of the hardest things I have had to do whilst being in business it is one that I am grateful happened as my entire business model changed for the better.

Who are three fellow Geelong small businesses you’d like to shout out?

Elf Squad is a completely voluntary organisation that I am a part of this year. We are collecting donated toys, treats and tech to donate to 109 families in need this Christmas. Donating trees are located at Creative Geelong. Please please please donate 😊

Uncle Donut….. need I say more. These guys have brought the most delicious donuts to Geelong and I can’t get enough of them. The ultimate meeting snack. It is safe to say if I have a meeting with you – I’m bringing Uncle Donut with me.

Salts of the Earth at Newtown – thanks for keeping us well over the winter! If you haven’t tried salt therapy yet – make sure you do!

To find out more about Christine and BKM Print head here or follow the business on Facebook

Read about our other board members here.

Meet the board: Amanda Sherring from Fresh Take PR

In order to better get-to-know our members, we thought it was best we shared who we are are and how we came to Entrepreneurs Geelong.

Find out a little bit more about one of our board members Amanda Sherring below.

What was your first experience with Entrepreneurs Geelong?

Earlier this year I attended the Pete Forras event as the media after doing some coverage with the publication I was working at, Forte Magazine. From that first experience alone I met several new people who genuinly wanted to connect and felt really welcomed. I instantly wished I had a business card then and there to hand out to complete the networking experience. The breakfast was definitely one of the best I’d had at a networking event too.

And how did you hear about it?

I first heard about it through my previous job as mentioned above. I hadn’t yet entered the entrepreneurial world myself but was looking at starting my own business, so it served as the right time to attend such an event and networking opportunity.

What’s been your favourite memory of an EG event? 

I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation we had with James Campbell. I haven’t had much experience in the science business world, so I found it really interesting to gain an insight via the breakfast. It just showed too that you don’t have to be in the industry to benefit from the talks too – I’ve since been to each one and have learnt something each time.

Why did you decide to join the board? 

I loved the set up and the instant welcoming nature of the events, so didn’t hesitate in becoming a part of that. I could also see how I could offer my services to Entrepreneurs Geelong so was happy to put my hand up to be part of such an incredible network for Geelong.

Tell us a little bit about your business.

I started Fresh Take PR about six months ago after leaving my full time job as editor in chief for Forte magazine. I offer content creation, social media management and publicity specifically for musicians, creatives and small businesses. To sum it up I just love creating and working within the media realm and creative industries. It’s been such a joy and I’ve loved working with all the small businesses since founding Fresh Take PR.

What’s your mantra as an entrepreneur? 

‘Do what fuels your soul, not what fills your wallet’.

What’s your biggest piece of advice for new entrepreneurs? 

Always remember to look after yourself. Working for yourself can at times be quite a solitary experience, and it’s really important to keep yourself in check. Make sure you don’t overwork, you socialise and treat yo’ self every now and then!

When was the moment you felt most challenged as a small business and how did you overcome it? 

Over-working myself has always been a problem, but when you own your own business you’re the only person to hold yourself accountable. Early on I had to learn to be strict with myself on working within set times, otherwise I became overworked and the result was work that wasn’t my best.

Who are three fellow Geelong small businesses you’d like to shout out? 

Definitely Allira from She Takes Photos. Being another woman who’s set out on her own business venture, I really admire Allira for taking the step in re-branding and a new business risk. She’s also 100% out to help her customers. Courthouse Youth Arts are going from strength to strength every year and lastly, I can’t not give a nod to my music background. The Barwon Club have hands down hit the nail on the head when it comes to live music in Geelong, and it stands as one of my favourite venues in town.

To find out more about Amanda and Fresh Take PR head here or keep up to date on Facebook or Instagram.

Read about our other board members here.

Meet the board: Tammy Walters from Mirrors PR and Events

In order to better get-to-know our members, we thought it was best we shared who we are are and how we came to Entrepreneurs Geelong.

Find out a little bit more about one of our board members Tammy Walters below.

What was your first experience with Entrepreneurs Geelong?

I was involved in Entrepreneurs Geelong back when it was operating under its former name, Geelong Entrepreneurs, and in its infancy. My first experience after the rebrand was attending the breakfast with David Chaffey of KBB Digital, which made me realise that I didn’t know anything about the entrepreneurs in our backyard! It kickstarted my interest in homegrown entrepreneurial stories.

And how did you hear about it?

I was working with coworking space, StartupCloud, and exploring the entrepreneurial space when I was invited to attend a meeting with Aamir Qutub about his vision for the networking group. I immediately jumped on board to bring his vision to life. When Aamir decided to take a step aside, Matthew Fletcher contacted me to be involved in revitalising and growing the Entrepreneurs Geelong community.

What’s been your favourite memory of an EG event? 

Every breakfast that we have been host to has been an opportunity to learn, discover and grow, but my favourite memory is when I was the showcase local entrepreneur for the In Conversation Breakfast with Jake Munday. Not because I was able to talk about my business and myself, but because I felt valued as a member. I have never been asked as a business owner, “What can we help you with?” without the sales agenda attached. It was the moment that I realised I was part of a community that actually cared for the success of all of their members and they were there to help me, support me, and celebrate with me!

Why did you decide to join the board? 

The vision and mission for Entrepreneurs Geelong spoke to me as a business owner and event manager. I have attended way too many networking events where you are bombarded with elevator pitches as soon as you enter the room. Entrepreneurs Geelong aligned with my values of building relationships, giving as opposed to taking, and offering education through high quality speakers. I joined the board to contribute to building the success of the organisation and further highlight entrepreneurship in our fantastic city.

Tell us a little bit about your business.

I established Mirrors PR and Events at only 21 years of age with a vision to promote Geelong business and music to the world. Mirrors PR and Events specialises in public relations, marketing and event management for start-ups, established businesses, musicians, fashion labels and lifestyle brands. In operation for three years, we have gained local, national and international coverage for our clients in credible publications and media outlets, launched businesses, brands and musicians to award-winning, major success in their markets, and worked with big names, including Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, Apprenticeships Employment Network and the Australian Breastfeeding Project.

What’s your mantra as an entrepreneur? 

Passion produces the prize.

When you truly love something and believe in what you’re doing, that’s when you have the most success. When your effort doesn’t feel like work, that’s when you’re working in the right space. When you’re passionate about your work, you will never give up!

What’s your biggest piece of advice for new entrepreneurs? 

Surround yourself with people that believe in your purpose! They will lift you in spirit and in business growth.

When was the moment you felt most challenged as a small business and how did you overcome it? 

In the initial stages of my businesses, I felt like my age made business owners and potential clients question my knowledge, skills and ability. I had a moment of being overwhelmed and questioned why I went into business in the first place. I quickly learnt that I would let my work speak for itself and that I didn’t want to work with anyone that didn’t value me for my ability and discriminated against me because of my age.

Who are three fellow Geelong small businesses you’d like to shout out? 

A big one to watch for 2018 is Courthouse Youth Arts. They are doing some great things for arts, music and youth in Geelong so check them out! A & B Music have been around for 32 years and are doing incredible things for our local music scene. Owners, Bill and Anne van Parreren are so passionate about music and it shows through the services they offer, the staff they hire and the culture they create. Geelong Fashion Runway have big things coming in 2018. This is a socially conscious organisation that raises money and awareness for many different health foundations and social issues through runway shows.

Find out more about Tammy Walters’ business here, or follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Read about our other board members here.

Meet the board: Jac Bowie from Soar Collective and Darling Don’t Panic

In order to better get-to-know our members, we thought it was best we shared who we are are and how we came to Entrepreneurs Geelong.

Find out a little bit more about one of our board members Jac Bowie below.

What was your first experience with Entrepreneurs Geelong?

I went along to the Bennet Merriman event and was impressed how polished the event was. Also loved the interview style – it’s nice to delve further into the nitty gritty of the speakers business experience, highs and lows.

And how did you hear about it?

My good friend Stephanie Beitzel from Technology Geelong.

What’s been your favourite memory of an EG event?

Just being welcomed and meeting so many new faces at my first event. It’s nice to know you can turn up by yourself and feel comfortable!

Why did you decide to join the board?

I could recognise the opportunity to add value, from a tech/marketing and membership view.

Tell us a little bit about your business.

I own two businesses, Soar Collective (regional women in business network) and Darling Don’t Panic, wedding styling & planning business. Before this I founded Business in Heels.

What’s your mantra as an entrepreneur?

You can have it all, but never at the same time.

What’s your biggest piece of advice for new entrepreneurs?

Try. It might work, it might not, but the experience and lesson is worth the risk.

When was the moment you felt most challenged as a small business and how did you overcome it?

Leaving the comfort of a full time wage in radio recently to return to working for myself has been rewarding, but scary, and we’ve had to sacrifice a lot to do it. It’s been a few months of building, building, building. The return can take a while, the key is to keep at it and stay focussed!

Who are three fellow Geelong small businesses you’d like to shout out?

Technology Geelong and Elf Squad, I’m really proud of what Stephanie is working on.
ArroHQ – meeting Lulu has been lovely, I’m looking forward to re-igniting Soar Collective there.

Find out more about Jac Bowie here, or find out about Darling Don’t Panic here and Soar Collective here.

Read about our other board members here.

Five tips to writing a great press release for your business

Without a background in media and communications, tackling something like a press release can be one of the most challenging aspects of operating your small business.

The challenge is certainly worth overcoming, as a good press release can gain your business free publicity and take it to the next level in terms of exposure.

Thanks to one of our board members, Amanda Sherring of Fresh Take PR, she’s run down a few tips on what to do, and not do when writing a press release.

1.Keep it simple

One of the biggest mistakes in approaching the creation of a press release is overcomplicating what should be a simple process. As soon as a press release exceeds more than around one page (or 450 words) it can instantly lose its appeal to journalists and editors. These days they simply don’t have the time to read a “novel”. 

Instead, opt for a one-page press release, covering the need-to-know details of what you’re trying to promote. Think to yourself, have you answered the 5 Ws and H? Who, what, where, when, why and how? These elements are a journalists’ bread and butter for writing a well-formed article and all you really need to include in your press release.

Add in a great picture, a quote from someone noteworthy and contact information if the journalists should need any further details and you’re done.

2. Apply the seven newsworthy elements

One of the first things taught to journalists and that sticks with them for life, is the seven newsworthy elements of a story. Whether it’s a conscious thought process or not, any good journalist will be able to analyse a story pitch and either accept or deny it based on these seven principles.

Familiarise yourself with them as they will help you shape the content and angle of your press release. If you can incorporate multiple, even better!

Impact – People want to know whether this will affect them. Can it change the lives of Geelong locals?
Timeliness – It’s called news for a reason—because it’s new information.
Proximity – Is it happening in the town of the publication? Perhaps there’s someone involved in the project who came from where the magazine originates? Try to find a local link where possible to the publication.
Human Interest – Perhaps there’s a passionate or interesting story of how the business came to be. A complete career flip? Or maybe a sixth generation taking over the business?
Conflict – Hopefully this won’t apply to your business, but perhaps there has been conflict around its creation.
The Bizarre – Is your business a bit unusual, maybe you’re a luxury cat hotel or you make coffee mugs out of terracotta pots. Work to your strengths and know what will pique a journalists’ interest.
Celebrity – Do you have a celebrity edorsement? Or perhaps a business partner with a public profile?

3. Make it easy to action

With less and less journalists helping to shape newspapers and magazines than ever before, their time is precious. Occasionally, great stories are missed because publications don’t have the man-power or budget to chase up professional photography, an interview or finer details to a story.

Increasing your likelihood of getting picked up by journalist can be done by wrapping it all up into one neat little package. More often than not, the easiest way to do that is to set up a Dropbox folder with all the press assets a journalist may need to complete the story. Set up a document with a Q&A on someone relevant to the business, include any hi-res images, a logo and any other media content relevant to what you do. In the press release itself, include any links, dates and contacts that may be needed. A handy tip is not to include these as attachments, as some email accounts have thorough junk mail filters and emails with large attachments simply won’t make it through.

A little extra time on your end can make all the difference when it comes to success after sending out the release.

4. Google is your best friend

With the ease of everything online, if you get stuck at this point there’s easily room for help. A great piece of advice on actually writing the press release, is to approach it like writing a news story. Pick up your local paper and have a look at the structure of a general story, and try to replicate it with your press release.

Google can be of equal help simply by looking up press release examples – but be wary as there are good and bad examples out there.

A simple tip at the writing stage is try to keep paragraphs to no more than 30 words. Include a quote and generally the press release should be around 4-7 paragraphs long to fit nicely onto a page with an image.

5. Personalise it

While you can’t personalise a press release per say, it’s important to make sure the press release is written to suit the right publications. Does the language and content suit who you’re pitching it to? Make sure you’ve familiarised yourself with the publication before hitting send.

When you get to the final stage of hitting send, make sure you’ve included a lovely, polite email addressing the editor or journalist direct with a personal touch on what you’re hoping to get from sending them the press release. Where possible avoid ever sending to a generic email address, as more often than not it gets lots in the inbox and all your hard-work will only have ever been seen by you.

Stay tuned for more handy editorials on advice for small businesses.

Find out more about our board members here.

CEO of PETstock Shane Young joins us for breakfast this Friday

We’re so excited to have CEO and co-founder of PETstock, Shane Young, join us for our next In Conversation Breakfast instalment.

Over the year we’ve had Dr James Campbell from the biotechnology sector right through to businessman and past mayor Darryn Lyons, and with this event we’ll be adding the pet industry to the diverse topics we’ve covered.

Having founded the business in 2002 as PETstock, 11 years after the family purchased Ballarat Produce, the business now has more than 100 stores nationally and around a dozen locations in New Zealand. 

Working alongside co-founder and brother David Young, PETstock has won numerous awards, most recently at the 2017 Australian Retailer Awards for best retail store fit-out of the year and retail employer of the year. 

Find out all the challenges, rewards and concepts that came with creating one of Australia’s leaders in pet supplies and support at our event on Friday, December 1.

It all goes down 7.15am to 9.00am at the Australia Post Small Business Hive in Geelong.

Purchase tickets via the website here.

Find out more about PETstock here

See a few of the other speakers we’ve had here.


James Campbell would like to see a better nexus between business and science in Australia to help the country commercialise the research achievements of its small but innovative biotechnology sector.

He told the audience at Entrepreneurs Geelong’s most recent In Conversation breakfast “that in the US universities value scientists with real world experience.”

In Australia, Dr Campbell says while that real world may be seen as the place of ‘the devil’s money,’ the country is a leading research centre, despite being almost insignificant as a market.

“Our politicians might say otherwise, but we don’t  punch above our weight in commercialising our research, ” he said, drawing on more than 20 years’  experience in the creation and/or transformation  of several Australian and international biotechnology companies.

The result of this experience is Dr Campbell’s passion to determine if an idea can be commercialised, while addressing the major challenge of identifying and managing risk.

He defines entrepreneurship as a mindset of seeing opportunities and determining where you can go with them. In his case that opportunity pointed to the goal of improving people’s health.

With a smile he summarises his career as “doing what has interested him, not working with a—holes and doing something which changes the world.

“Quite simply I like helping to build things and sell them for a lot of money,” Dr Campbell said.

That aspiration has most recently seen him appointed CEO and managing director of the ASX listed company Patrys, which is focused on the development of antibody therapies for major market opportunities in the oncology area.  

Prior to that the Geelong-born scientist was CFO and COO of ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals Limited where, as a member of the executive team, he helped transform a research-based company with a market capitalisation of $10M to a company which was sold to Cephalon for $230M after completion of clinical trials and regulatory dossiers in the US and Europe.

James Campbell earned his Bachelor of Science from Melbourne University before gaining his PhD at Deakin University. He returned later to Melbourne University to secure an MBA to hone his management skills. He retains his connection with Deakin sitting on the board of its Centre for Innovation in Mental and Physical Health and Clinical Treatment (IMPACT) among many other appointments.

There are three intellectual components to the decision-making that underpins his role as a senior executive assessing opportunities in the biotechnology sector says Dr Campbell.

“First is it should be a good innovation with commercial potential, second the intellectual property (IP) should be safe and third there should be a good economic structure to underpin it,” he explains.

But a rider to this response is “the need to look for an honest and intelligent founder.”

Looked at from the other direction, his advice to aspiring entrepreneurs,  regardless of industry, is to “record what you have done and employ good management.”

While biotech companies are more likely to be headquartered in Boston or San Francisco and the much closer relationship between universities and business in the USA would make it easier to work there, Dr Campbell remains “passionately a Geelong person.”

Asked about the city’s potential for hi tech ventures, he says when it comes to managing such a business, hi tech is location-agnostic.

He acknowledges however an element of serendipity owing to the presence of some scientists in the area, which has seen San Diego grow into 3rd place for the headquarters of US biotech companies.

“Success breeds success. If people like Geelong it may well become a hi tech centre,” Dr Campbell surmises.

Here comes the wave, now paddle

There’s a similar “point of commitment” between catching a wave and starting a business. Anyone who has ever surfed would understand this analogy that Alistair Lawson endorses.

In the water it’s the time when you start paddling hard until you feel the pull of the wave take over. In business it comes when you realise your idea has momentum, so you must go with it.

While a passion for surfing was to be the catalyst for Alistair relocating to Australia, the idea for his award winning business Great Ocean Road Surf Tours started much earlier when, as a youngster without a car, no one could take him to  England’s surfing beaches on the Cornish coast.

Surfing however was not his first love. As a six year old he was captivated by martial arts. It was for his business Elite Taekwondo that he won his first business award in Australia.

But the emotional pull of the waves continued and neither living in an outer eastern suburb of Melbourne or a seven month old daughter would prevent him and his family moving to Torquay and launching a surf school more than a decade ago.

With several awards behind him Alistair recommends submitting to awards as a means of refining his businesses and looking for new ideas.

“The processes you go through give you a much greater return than just an award.  You understand your business a lot better. Submitting to an award acts as a health check on a business.”

The underlying philosophy of Great Ocean Road Surf Tours provides an insight into why the business has garnered a variety of awards since it was set up in 2006.

“We want our customers to become as good as they can be when they are on one of our courses, whether they are with us for a few hours or several days,” Alistair says.

Staffing is pivotal to achieving that outcome.

“Great surfers may not necessarily be great teachers and vice versa. They are there to teach surfing all day,” Alistair says. 

It is important to live the culture and staff must show a passion, something which is encouraged in staff competitions for photography or videos.

Choosing staff with the right qualifications such as OH&S, working with children and surf coaching is important, as well as ensuring these qualifications are updated regularly, as required.

Alistair acknowledges that “finding a point of difference has helped make us successful even though the business is founded on how I wanted to teach surfing, rather than what a competitor might offer.”

With customers coming from around the word, from a marketing point of view it is essential to understand what is important to each person, including images on brochures, telephone interaction and photographs.

“Honesty in marketing is essential,” Alistair says. He is very much “hands on” with using tools like Facebook and Instagram but cautions that not all marketing tools work. A 1800 telephone number for example proved unsuccessful for his business.    

Equally, he advises not to try and hit back at critics on TripAdvisor. The likelihood of such criticism is minimised he says by having comprehensive and explicit terms of business on the company’s website.

With customer satisfaction remaining his highest priority, Alistair does a regular analysis of the business and asks himself how it might be run more successfully even though some services have been trialled and discarded when they adversely affected profitability.

Being an entrepreneur means that taking risks is mandatory but so too is having a backup plan Alistair says.

“Understand your business model and be willing to take advice. But be careful to avoid the sort of statutory warnings that say ‘this advice is general in nature’. Rather choose advice that takes your actual business into account,” he adds.

And while progressively bigger waves might strike fear into the L-plate surfer, Alistair’s experience suggests the successful entrepreneur like a big wave rider, has the knack of translating fear into excitement.

Having a palate for the challenges of a start-up

If a close family member described it as an “awful idea” for a new business, would you continue?

What about if you were a 20-something year old and it was your Father using those words?

Fortunately, Georgia Beattie persisted with her idea for a single serve package of ready-to-drink wine, even dragging her Father along to meetings to help overcome some of the cultural hurdles that presented themselves when doing business in Asia.

Addressing Entrepreneurs Geelong’s most recent seminar, Georgia exuded the energy and animation that saw her turn a simple idea into a business which she sold last year to international interests.

Now, barely five years after she launched that business, she is bringing the same sort of motivation and enthusiasm to her role as CEO of StartUp Victoria, the organisation whose mandate is to establish Victoria as the number one tech start-up destination in the Asia Pacific region.

Growing up in a wine-producing family Georgia discovered that no wine was being served at a local festival because there weren’t single serve, ready-to-drink solutions. At the time she was studying entrepreneurship, so she decided to create her own brand in a single serve package, as well as manufacture and pitch the packaging concept to a cross section of major Australian wine producers.

While beer and spirits had been the subject of packaging innovation over time, wine hadn’t, remaining “very traditional” she said. A conceptually simple package- a peel off foil lid on a rigid plastic glass-Georgia’s first manufacturing efforts at ironing a foil top onto a glass were not successful and in fact ruined a friend’s iron.

Citing Steve Jobs oft-quoted comment about the background to the iPhone, Georgia could see no point in researching a product that didn’t yet exist.

But she said you should subject your ideas to feedback from others even if her Father’s initial negative response reflected his identity “as a serious wine person”.

“By doing so you don’t risk others stealing your ideas because no one can actually see your vision of what you are aiming for. They may not see its potential and how you are able to realise it,” she says.

In the journey to create a viable business on the foundation of her idea, Georgia says her biggest and it turns out most expensive mistake was to accept a small amount of seed capital from an organisation in the injection moulding sector.

Georgia’s business quickly began to outgrow that organisation which could not see beyond Australia. When its pricing became uncompetitive she had to buy them out.

“So look for the sort of business partners who share your vision and can offer the capability to scale up over a five to 10 year period,” she advises.

Having secured a commitment from catering outlets of major event venues in Australia to carry her single serve wine package Georgia found the multi-brand wine company Treasury Wine Estates receptive to the concept.

In Australia it was a case of aiming for the volume sales typically made at events such as concerts. In Japan it was the need to get the product onto retail shelves. Those who championed the one glass cause in new markets typically shared a similar entrepreneurial mindset to Georgia’s.    She also notes that in Asia, Japan and Korea are “influencer countries in which you have to establish a track record of 12 months or more.

Cultural differences can be critical in some markets, especially for young females, so on occasions “when I needed some grey hair in the room, I would borrow someone or drag my Father (by then a convert) into the negotiations,” Georgia said. 

She notes that different countries and cultures dictated different approaches to marketing. Entering overseas markets she was actively in trade shows, ahead of which she chased media coverage, even writing stories for reporters.

“I did all the media relations which for a fun product made it easy,” Georgia recalls. 

Last year she exited the business and was appointed CEO of Startup Victoria. Its mandate is to encourage more people to make the jump into entrepreneurship and support the development of a sophisticated high growth start-up culture. She is responsible for the launch of the new digital platform for the community and Australia’s first in-depth start-up data collection.


It may come as a surprise to people unfamiliar with traditional print journalism that the culture of daily newspapers is one of fierce competition. Both journalists and photographers alike vie to showcase their achievements in what all would agree are too few pages.

As a young photographer, Darryn Lyons’ ambition was to get his images published on the front and back pages of the Geelong News, every day.

He acknowledges that this fierce work ethic played a big part in his ongoing career success “but I also took risks,” he told a recent Entrepreneurs Geelong’s In Conversation Breakfast audience.

Like the time he became the front page news when a work colleague photographed him getting too close and personal as he was trying to capture an image of a rhinoceros at the newly opened Werribee Zoo. And later, when he was thought to be the first Australian photographer working on London’s Fleet Street, he said “if there was the potential to be killed, the editor would send me.”

So it was he built his reputation behind the Iron Curtain, over the Berlin Wall and in various war zones, thereby paving the way for his initial business success as a paparazzi and founder of a global business which specialised in photographing the rich and famous.    

Years earlier it was selling signed photographs of his cricketing hero, Dennis Lillee, to school mates which pointed to the entrepreneur that the youngster from Herne Hill was becoming by the time he returned to live in Geelong. Business interests in nightclubs, property development and hospitality were balanced by a wish to serve the public which saw him directly elected as Mayor of Geelong.

Of his early career he says “working in the press was an incredible drug. It was exciting to get up and go to work.”   

Admitting to “no negatives in his DNA”, Darryn Lyons took his camera and flak jacket on three tours of the Bosnian uprising which he describes as “a bit like World War 1 being fought with .303 rifles and the occasional AK47.”

“War is exciting and a sense of mortality didn’t come into it,” he said, even though he acknowledges that accepting the smell of death is bizarre.

If Uber and Airbnb are labelled disruptive to the traditional travel and accommodation sectors, then the label might equally have been applied to the unfulfilled niche market that Mr Lyons saw in the print media industry-namely photographing the rich and famous.

“It was a case of being in the right place at the right time with a roll of film costing £2 and I might capture images that with worldwide syndication would garner £50,000 in sales.”

If this was the big picture of an emerging market, Darryn Lyons also knew that to sell them, editors would want to see more than miniscule images on a 35mm colour proof sheet. He became a very early adopter of the technology to print 8 inch by 10 inch images which left editors in no doubt about what they could buy.

So, at its height Mr Lyons photographic syndication business would draw on the skills of more than 1000 photographers scattered around the world’s celebrity hot spots.

Almost forty years into a busy life, and having returned the mayoral robes to the coat hanger, he admits to having worked as hard as ever but not without learning it was a mistake to try and do too much.

Delegation is very important as is the need for an entrepreneur to have good financial advice as well as the opinions of someone opposite him to keep him grounded.

“And, don’t be greedy. Share your dream with like-minded people.”