New wave of entrepreneurs seek fast fortunes
Alan Bond, pictured in 1995. Photo: Patrick Cummins
Once upon a time the word 'entrepreneur' made Australian investors cringe.
In the heady days of the 1980s, high-profile entrepreneurs such as Christopher Skase and Alan Bond amassed vast fortunes, only to lose the funds of investors in the wake of the 1987 stockmarket crash.
It's sad what happened to the world entrepreneur back in the 1980s
It hasn't always been the way. Richard Branson, Mary Kay and Thomas Edison are all, to a degree, entrepreneurs who have created empires to stand the test of time.
Everyone, it seems, wants to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Getty Images
Nolan Bushnell, the founder of founder of Atari, famously said: "The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It's as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer."
A new generation is now working to reclaim the word.
The second internet boom has allowed a generation of young businessmen to make fortunes, and make them fast. Everyone, it seems, wants to be the next Mark Zuckerberg.
Indeed, August seems to be entrepreneur month in Australia. Zuckerberg's sister Randi is in Australia this week, speaking at functions across the country on how to join the entrepreneurial revolution.
Last week Ruslan Kogan joined Seek co-founder Matt Rockman, and Matt Barrie, founder of freelancer.com, to speak at The Unconvention, an event that attracts about 800 Gen Y entrepreneurial hopefuls under the age of 40.
From the dark days post-'87 crash, there now appears to be no end to the opportunities for rising business stars.
Top tier accounting firm Ernst & Young sponsors the Australian Entrepreneur Of The Year awards.
There is also the Connect2Mums AusMumpreneur Awards, which "recognise the achievements of women who have managed to run a successful business and balance work with family life" and the "best and brightest entrepreneurs in the mumpreneur industry".
Even the kiddies aren't left out, with an award launched recently for entrepreneurs under the age of 10.
But the real bellwether of how far entrepreneurship has come is the fact that there is now a course for aspiring billionaires.
Accounting firm Pitcher Partners has created a course to teach the art of entrepreneurship to its team.
The course is called the 'Innovative Post Graduate Certificate Degree in Applied Entrepreneurship and Innovation' and has been devised with the help of Professor Murray Gillin, formerly of Swinburne University and now with Adelaide University.
"It's sad what happened to the world entrepreneur back in the 1980s," said Pitcher Partners managing partner Don Rankin. "The word was tainted by just a few, but most people who have started a successful business are entrepreneurs by nature."
And there little doubt just how the wheel has turned full circle.
Last year was the first intake of the course. "It was standing room only at our first information session," said Rankin.
Zuckerberg clan beware.