Matthew Fletcher isn’t just any old board member, he’s actually one of the first. Getting involved in Entrepreneurs Geelong in its infancy, Matthew is one of the founding members and is the president of EG.

In order to better get-to-know our board 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 Matthew below.

What sparked the idea to create Entrepreneurs Geelong?

The precursor to Entrepreneurs Geelong was a group set up by Aamir Qutub out of ICT Geelong called Geelong Entrepreneurs. I was fortunate enough to be the guest speaker at their second event, and became involved not long afterwards in the organising group. It was a great initiative, but very much focussed on the tech community and events were fairly organic. After one event a friend of mine, who also attended, encouraged me to take on the group and expand its reach and influence. As a result of this, I was able to work with some of the organising committee, as well as some others to form Entrepreneurs Geelong as a not-for-profit association.

What was your role in the early days of its creation and why did you decide to get involved?

I was fortunate to be elected President of the fledgling Entrepreneurs Geelong and I count it a privilege to still be President to this day. We set up Entrepreneurs Geelong as an association to give us the ability to have checks and balances to the group.

How has EG evolved since the very first event?

There has been so many things that have changed with EG, and so much has stayed the same. The most exciting thing probably is to see how the wider community has changed since we began. Last year saw the launch of the Geelong Entrepreneurial Ecosystem map  – an initiative to give entrepreneurs an understanding of the resources available to them and something that EG has been a driving force behind. It’s also been great to see things like the establishment of the Young Entrepreneur of the Year category in the Geelong Business Excellence Awards, and that one of our guests, Jake Munday, was the inaugural winner. It’s also exciting to see how we continue to evolve, and at the heart of that is to serve our members and the wider community to become more entrepreneurially minded. We endeavour to be overtly collaborative, so we’re excited to see how we and other organisations can continue to work together to help the entrepreneurially minded in our community.

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

After being there from the start, there are so many memories. I know the palpable excitement of the first event was fabulous and I’ve enjoyed all the guests – with all their varied experiences and histories. Probably one of my favourite memories is of the one event I missed due to illness, because the team just made it happen and it was hugely successful!

Tell us a little bit about you.

I’ve had a really eclectic career. I have three successful business failures which has given me some fantastic life lessons and an understanding of the business side of the entrepreneurial coin. But I’ve been in big and small business, worked in community groups, I’ve spent time in Federal Politics as well as in the public service. Right now I am General Manager of a consulting firm helping people understand government grants – so I work with innovators and entrepreneurs every day. Having been in Geelong for 21 years, I often joke that I’m almost a local, but my wife and I decide regularly that Geelong is home and the only place on the planet we want to raise our two kids.

What’s your mantra as an entrepreneur?

Having a long history of entrepreneurial endeavour across so many different areas, I have many mantras. But as an entrepreneur, as a leader and as a person, my key mantra is to treat others as I would want to be treated. Hopefully I get that right most of the time!

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

Firstly, I want people to realise that entrepreneurship is not only about business, it’s across every part of our community – whether it’s small business or big business, education, not for profits or even government. But if there was one thing, one piece of advice that I think I’d like to see resonate across the spectrum, it is ‘Be Brave!’

Read more about other board members here. Find out more about Grant Ready here.