A select group of 79 of this country’s top entrepreneurs are in the running to be named this year’s Australian Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year.
The 2011 nominee field includes entrepreneurs from fields as diverse as shoes, beer brewing, emergency international security, pet products, gas exploration and development, and medical supplies.
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year is considered the world’s most prestigious business award, run in more than 50 countries around the world.
Nominees will first vie for regional award honours, then in November these regional winners will compete for the national title.
The 2011 Australian winner will travel to Monte Carlo in 2012 to join an elite list of the very best entrepreneurs from around the globe to contend for the title of Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Of The Year.
Previous Australian winners include the entrepreneurial brains behind businesses such as Atlassian, Carsales.com, and Res Med, while past World Entrepreneur Of The Year winners have included the founders of Amazon and IKEA.
LSA Recruitment Group
Aged just 27, Andrew Northcott, grew a recruitment empire from $800 to $22 million in seven years, overcoming severe skills shortages and the economic downturn that drove many of the country’s larger recruiter groups out of business.
In 2004, Andrew entered the blue collar recruitment market with $800 and a laptop to launch LSA Recruitment Group (LSA). Acting as recruiter and candidate, he hired himself out to his first client as a labourer.
When demand became too great for one person, Andrew persuaded his friends to help out and then started advertising, eventually taking on a large labouring contract at Smorgon Steel, which had been let down by an unreliable provider. Andrew’s reputation for quality service led to additional contracts from large organisations.
In 2006, using a $15,000 small business grant from the Queensland Government, Andrew developed a unique web based IT platform. Candidates can register and be inducted online, without having to travel to the LSA premises. At the same time, LSA can track each candidate through the induction process, ensuring all aspects have been completed.
The Brisbane-based business grew into one of the country’s leading labour hire companies, achieving high rankings in the BRW Fast 100 list for five consecutive years.
In 2008, Andrew built on this success by launching LSA Recruitment for executive placement. LSA Recruitment reinvented the white collar recruitment industry, with a virtual platform to support business partners operating under the LSA Recruitment franchise. With centralised IT, payroll and back end processes, the franchises enable managers to grow a business with minimal overheads. The structure also gives LSA the ability to tender collectively on behalf of franchise partners, turning regional deals into national contracts.
Andrew’s growth plan for the next 12 months is to have 35 LSA Recruitment businesses operating nationally and, within three years, to expand into the UK and US markets. By building the owner-operator side of the business, he intends to compete with the bigger players in the industry, hitting $60 million in revenue by FY13.