Five business stories to inspire entrepreneurs

FiiK - a global skateboard brand specialising in the latest technology in Electric skateboards
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The Gold Coast is a known breeding ground for young entrepreneurs who are dedicated to turning their lifelong passions into thriving businesses.

Over the years, More Gold Coast has unearthed young people who are making their business dreams a reality – these people showcase the entrepreneurial spirit that flows through the city and highlight the evolution of the Gold Coast as a hub for innovation.

Dan Quinn, the founder of FiiK Skateboards, dubs the Gold Coast the lifestyle capital of Australia and says it is the perfect location for running a business.

He says the environment, the people, and the support from City of Gold Coast have contributed to the success of his companies.

Read more below about Quinn and other entrepreneurs in this special story that shines a light on the successful young business-people that call the Gold Coast home…

1. The accidental brewery that is now a major success story

This trio might have started the business by chance, but it was by no chance that Black Hops Brewing is now one of the most innovative and successful breweries in the city.

The boys admit they started the business almost by accident, however the home-brew system that was operating out of a garage quickly escalated into a thriving business.

McGovern, the head brewer, says the three beer-loving founders don’t do things by halves and it was a collective passion and dedication to their work that has seen Black Hops Brewing grow into a known brand.

“To put it in perspective, when we started we were ‘gypsy brewing’ our beer out of whatever local brewery would allow us in,” he says.

“Fast-forward 18 months and we opened our own 2,000 litre production brewery in Burleigh Heads. Since then we have been brewing between 2000 and 4000 litres per week and are on track to brew about 150,000 litres in our first year.

In addition to its current expansion, Black Hops Brewing is distributing beers throughout Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT. The business plans to expand to the rest of the country by the end of 2017.

The trio has noted their journey in a book, Operation Brewery, which is available online and in print and is an invaluable source of information for anyone with dreams of starting a brewery, and entrepreneurs in general.

Read the full story on here.

2. How Dwayne Martens went from zero to hero

Amazonia, founded by Martens in 2009, offers a range of raw and organic food products including Açaí, supplements and protein.

Headquartered on the Gold Coast, the business employs around 40 staff and has a presence in more than 10 countries around the globe.

While Martens says the industry of strange and spectacular fruit was not one he contemplated working in, he says he always had a flair for entrepreneurship.

“I have got a saying that goes ‘if you are really looking to do what you want to do; if you really want to find your purpose in life, you have to go back to when you were a child’,” he says.

“When I was a child I would play video games like Civilisation and I would build empires through strategy. And that relates to business – I love strategy and growing a business and thinking outside the box.”

And that is exactly what he has done with Amazonia, with the business priding itself on pioneering and revolutionising the health food space.

Although, it has taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears to build the business into the empire it is today.

Read the full story here.  

3. The million dollar electric dream

FiiK, which stands for Future is in Knowledge, produces a range of boards including the Big Daddy – a heavy duty, off road board designed for all terrains including grass, sand and pavement.

The Big Daddy can reach speeds up to 40 kilometres an hour and more than 3000 are sold annually.

“We like to make our boards more powerful than others and a bit more aggressive – especially for our top end models,” says Dan.

“Some of our specific boards are quite legendary, like the Big Daddy and the Street Surfer because they are almost bullet-proof. You can give them a thrashing in some really nasty terrain and they really hold up and are really solid and powerful.

“You can even ride on the beach with them – we have stainless steel bolts and aluminium trucks and bamboo decks so they don’t rust.”

The brand is also behind the Mini FiiK – an electric powered board that can be ridden as a regular skateboard. Riders can do their favourite tricks, the motor is located within the wheels and it is just 3.5 kilograms; known to be the worlds lightest electric skateboard.

Meanwhile, one of its most recent inventions is the FiiK Drifter –the only dual rear wheel drive electric drift trike on the market.

FiiK, headquartered in Ormeau, boasts three factories located in different parts of the world and has around 250 different moulds under its banner.

Read the full story here

4. Weaving an ethical business

In three short years, Fabienne Costa has gone from not being able to afford petrol to turning over a quarter of a million dollars.

Costa’s business is built on ethics. She says things started to ‘really kick off’ in July 2015 when her friend and marketing director, Claire, helped her tap into the right people on social media.

“We got working with key influencers who aligned with YCL. We don’t necessarily want the influencer with the best body on Instagram, or the girl whose idea of wellness is just colourful acai bowls. We work with influencers who believe in our idea of sustainability and ethics, who might even just be micro-influencers.”

Costa says her biggest challenge, in recent times, was being let into the ‘secret manufacturing club’. She has started manufacturing ethically in India and is now looking to Bali too.

“No one ever gives out their manufacturers. It was so hard that it meant I had to travel to India, meet the craftsmen and check out every single nook and cranny in the factories. It ended up being a blessing because the factories that welcomed us with open arms are the ones we have stuck with. Our people are all trained jewellery smiths, with more expertise than even myself, and work great hours in excellent conditions.”

The next step for YCL is launching Rituals, a ‘ceremonial collection’ of wedding and engagement rings and eternity bands. This will launch before May and integrates white sapphire instead of diamonds, a more sustainable source that’s similar in durability.

Read the full story here.  

5. How this entrepreneur turned a lifelong passion into a thriving business

The story behind Jason Daniel and LooseKid Industries (LKI) is inspiring – a lifelong passion turned into a successful business, with a little help from friends, family, and the natural environment that nurtured a loose kid’s big dreams.

Growing up, Gold Coast youngster Jason raced Motocross, surfed and rode BMX – anything that involved action sports.

In 2007 his entrepreneurial spirit flared and he turned a small business loan from his mum into LKI – a lifestyle clothing brand inspired by wheels and water sports.

LKI, which aims to promote, develop and embrace the culture of action sports and the lifestyle that surrounds it, has grown from three to more than 15 staff over the past nine years.

The business works with more than 350 stockists in Australia, including retail giant City Beach, and has a presence in New Zealand, America and Taiwan.

Jason estimates the business is growing at 30 per cent each year with its social media following surpassing 230,000 followers. He attributes the growth to LKI’s ever-expanding international reach.

The Gold Coast lifestyle and range of sporting activities available on the Gold Coast influenced Jason in establishing LKI.

It was also the presence of successful national and international brands founded on the Gold Coast which gave him the confidence to pursue his business dreams.

Read the full story here.  

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