Upstarts with Aussie spirit

Reporter: Chris Simond

Australian entrepreneurs are leading the world.

Business Review Weekly's Amanda Gome has compiled a list of Australia's top-performing business start-ups, finding many were posting multi-million dollar turnovers.

"We're fantastic at being entrepreneurial, we have so many ideas," Ms Gome said. "A recent study by the World Bank showed we were right at the top." David Noon was part of a research team at Queensland University which developed an early warning radar system to detect rock falls and landslides before they occured.

The mining industry embraced the idea for its ability to protect life and equipment and the company 'Ground Probe' was launched. "So far it's been very successful," Mr Noon said. "There's still a long way to go, but we now have systems operating in seven countries being used by the world's largest resource mining companies." "We've grown from four staff to now over 65."

Naomi Simson is the number one woman on the business upstarts list. Her company 'Red Balloons' offers 1500 experiences: gifts for friends and relatives, corporate rewards for employees, hot air ballooning, helicopter tours, trips to the Antarctic and so on. "In the early days we were selling 300 a year, then the next year it was 300 a month," Ms Simson said. "The year after that 300 a week and at Christmas it was 300 a day."

She offered some advice to other would-be entrepreneurs.

"It's integrity, just do what you say you're going to do and that will perpetuate itself," Ms Simson said. "And passion."

Pride and passion are also the motto for David Jackson of '5 Ways Food Service', a predominantly family business he helped start four years ago, servicing hotels and restaurants with more than 4,000 food items.

The last 12 months saw it generate revenue of $19 million, propelling it into the position of the nation's "number one upstart" "We started off with a dozen clients and we're now servicing 350 on a weekly basis," Mr Jackson said.

If you want to follow in the entrepreneurial footsteps of these success stories, Amanda Gome says you should be bold, do your homework, seek out the right mentor, and who knows, you could be the next millionaire upstart.

"It's now become very fashionable to become an entrepreneur, start your own business, go out there, make money and have fun," Ms Gome said.

Number one woman Naomi Simson explained how people reacted to her

"I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said to me 'that's a great idea, why didn't I think of that?'," she said.