As a founder, it can be pretty daunting (terrifying at times) to start your own business. The following mentors are all people who have “been there and done that”, who have significant skills and experience in their respective fields and are happy to connect with people like you to assist you in launching your new startup business. Please feel free to connect with them on Linkedin or follow them on Twitter.
Robert Watkins – Tablelands, QLD
Founder Natural Evolution Foods
Turning passion into a profession is a dream for many, but for Natural Evolution Founder and Director Robert Watkins that is exactly what he has done. As a second generation farmer Robert has developed a world first processing factory that turns primarily waste green bananas into a high value and supreme nutritional food source. Rob has also received accolades for his other innovations such as Banana Blankey (a fully recyclable banana packaging system) and his other world first a Banana Bunch Harvester.
Tracey Beikoff – Mareeba, QLD
Founder Rescue Swag
Tracey Beikoff is a proud Mareeba local and recent survivor of Channel 10’s hit entrepreneur show Shark Tank. Dubbed ‘pitch perfect’, Tracey floored the Sharks during her presentation and walked away with a new mentor and $220k in her pocket to grow her Rescue Swag business. Tracey’s idea was formed 3 years ago and early on, was nurtured through involvement in similar innovative forums at the time, led by visionary Christine Doan. Spring-boarding from the inspiration and guidance she received, Tracey was encouraged to develop the product and to apply for the Tropical Innovation Awards that year, where the initial prototype won ‘Emerging Innovation’.
Alistair Hart – Tablelands, QLD
Founder & Managing Director Mangoesmapping
Alistair first explored his entrepreneurial roots as an 8-year-old, picking field mushrooms on the family sheep farm and selling them to passing vehicles on nearby Highway One. After a successful exit (enough $ for a few show bags), he went on to establish his first regular business as a gardener/handy boy as a twelve-year-old – a pursuit from which he derived a real income on leaving school.
Dr Geraldine McGuire – Malanda, QLD
Managing Director at Sustainable Solutions Global Pty Ltd
Dr Geraldine McGuire has specialised in working on complex projects which balance economic, environmental and social aspects to find sustainable solutions. With over 20 years of industry experience, Geraldine has extensive experience in stakeholder engagement, community development, environmental management, auditing, impact assessment, gender analysis, and workshop facilitation involving large teams of professionals, contractors and Indigenous peoples.
Christine Doan – Tablelands, QLD
Founder Startup Tablelands
Christine Doan. In an entrepreneurial life driven by purpose, Christine has tackled all of her campaigns with gusto, adopting an approach, which is alternative, sustainable, innovative, and just plain different. The causes may have looked disparate, such as what links riding a horse at the Olympics and building up a multiple bottom line property development?
Michael Lawrence – Tablelands, QLD
Inspire Business Consulting
Michael is a Principal Consultant at Inspire Business Consulting. He specialises in the provision of ongoing strategic analysis and support, providing both the expertise and the opportunity for business owners to adopt a management perspective in their business, supporting them with analysis and experience to ensure their goals are achieved.
George Corea – Tablelands, QLD
Get Back 2 Basics Consulting
George Corea has become a startup whore recently, winning the first three Cairns Startup Weekend events and is currently working with Tablelanders to build a rural and remote startup ecosystem in the Tablelands. He usually helps teams that lack hackers and hipsters with free online solutions that will help them put together a stellar pitch and was selected as a top 10 international startup weekend representative by Techstars.
Troy Haines – Cairns, QLD
Cofounder / CEO theSPACE Australasia
As CEO of theSPACE Australasia, Troy has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs across Australia to help them commercialise their ideas. Troy coach’s entrepreneurs and innovators through the commercialisation process from idea screening through to growth and exiting. Amongst many awards, he was named Innovation Champion in 2014 by the Minister of Innovation and Premier of QLD. He was also inducted into the QLD Government Innovation Wall of Fame for his work in building the NQ startup & innovation ecosystem.
Roy Wybrow – Cairns, QLD
Practitioner of Disciplined Entrepreneurship for Start-ups: based on lean customer discovery philosophy
Roy started his career at Aircraft Research & Development in DSTO Edinburgh SA in the 80’s where he worked on GRU project, F111 Digitalization project, Jindalee Project and later F18 & BlackHawke selection project. In the 90’s Roy was design manager and later project manager in an innovative special purpose machine engineering firm winning 3 beyond 2000 awards. In 1992 while in this company, Roy developed and oversaw the introduction of interactive webpages where clients could amend (in real time) projects.
Matt Ritchie – Cairns, QLD
Co-founder & CEO IoT Australasia
Matthew Ritchie as CEO IoT Australasia has worked in the Electronics, IT and ICT sector for 2 decades. He has been researching and developing IoT solutions for the past 4 years. He is very familiar with security issues and solutions, as he has been providing physical, electronic, surveillance and IT integrated solutions for nearly a decade. He is trusted with the strictest requirements of defence security and ICT systems.