One of the most important elements of a strong innovation ecosystem is creating a culture in which those of us that have achieved some success in business or have a particular area of expertise are willing to share insights, processes, connections and resources with those that are at an earlier stage in their business journey. This is the core message that features on the plaque that was presented at the opening ceremony of the Gold Coast Innovation Hub last year. “It is the sharing of knowledge that makes knowledge greater”. We are incredibly grateful to our mentors for their contribution of time and expertise to help new businesses to thrive.
If you have a strong business or investment background and would like to support the next generation of business owners as a mentor, you can apply to join the program here.
business & invest
Board Member and chairman of multiple organisations (public and private companies)
Professional commercialiser of innovation (intrepreneur/entrepreneur)
Extensive high growth technology startup and scaleup experience
25 years in the IT industry, 2 years government, 2 years enterprise/banking, 9 years IT software/services companies, 12 years entrepreneurial high growth companies
APAC and Global Executive level management
Extensive Asia business experience
Led the building of innovative companies in Australia, Asia, USA and UK.
BUSINESS & TECH
Sharon has a passion for technology, innovation and collaboration and a keen interest in promoting and increasing youth participation in startups and technology.
With over a decade of experience in software development and project management, Sharon has held senior roles in some of Australia’s fastest growing companies including multi award winning software company, Opmantek.
With over 10 years of experience in the sales industry, Ksenia has had an opportunity to coach over 600 sales reps, while increasing her clients’ revenue by over 45mln and speaking on national and international conferences. Now Ksenia is a co-founder of Fall In Love With sales (Sales School for Women) and Cryptohub (Online Crypto Education Social Platform).
Experienced in developing people strategies for high performing people and teams. Achieved through a holistic approach to Leadership, culture, values and personal development. Proven record of establishing key stakeholder relationships and with Corporate, Government and Community bodies, and align activities to stakeholder engagement strategies, professional development and customer relations.
Alex is the fund manager at 42 Innovations and has a strong background in the investment industry.
Geoff has practiced as a lawyer in the city of Gold Coast for over 40 years, as partner, an in-house corporate lawyer and now a consultant. He has acquired a wealth of experience ranging from major commercial litigation; working on significant resource projects and now more recently innovation companies.
As a corporate lawyer Geoff was involved in the negotiation and completion of a billion dollar iron ore project in Western Australia; the acquisition of a major nickel refinery and purchase of an international Hotel resort.
Geoff is engaged as a Consultant by McLaughlins Lawyers which has been serving the Gold Coast community for 60 years.
business & HR
Dynamic leader of Pivotel Australia, NZ & Asia Pacific. 17 year old Pivotel is a leading Australian owned & operated mobile network operator specialising in satellite technology to help people and organisations in critical, remote & maritime environments. With 26 years of industry experience across Telecommunications, Technology, Human Resources, Law and the Public Sector, I have unique expertise in business strategy, customer experience, innovation, sales, marketing, regulatory governance, compliance and reform, workplace relations, organizational change and digital revolution.
Chair of Redland’s City Council Economic Development Advisory Board and 5 other Advisory Boards as Expert in Residence for the Gold Coast Innovation Hub. Queensland’s Minister for ICT’s Advisory Board member.
technology & ai
Dr Kelvin Ross has over 30 years of experience in software engineering and enterprise IT applications. Kelvin started his IT career in defence, and completed PhD in safety critical systems engineering. He has worked in the commercial sector for the past 20 years, across many domains, including significant projects in healthcare. Kelvin is director of IntelliHQ, a non-profit developing the ecosystem for AI innovation in healthcare. Kelvin is founder and non-exec Chairman of KJR, an specialist IT advisory firm with over 100 consultants in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Institute for Intelligent and Integrated Systems, Griffith University. He is a Director of AIkademi, an organiser for the Young Women Leaders in AI program, an organiser for the Gold Coast AI and Machine Learning meetup group, and has held several roles in national technical working groups (NATA and ACS), and held several board positions.
Rick McElhinney, BE, MIEAust, CPEng
Rick has invested in and provided advisory services to a number of manufacturing, energy and service corporations. He is chairman of Founders Forum, is a fellow of the Australian Association of Angel Investors and a founding member of Golds Coast Angels. Other early stage investments included Autodesk, Plastics Unlimited, Eduss Broadcast & Media, Eco-kinetics, Seasafe., GrassAds, Endnight Games, MyWorkPapers, MCE Energy, Ubaryon and JESI Management Solutions.
technology & ai
Dan is a tech entrepreneur with over 20 years experience scaling tech companies here in Aus, UK and US. He has been part of a series of tech acquisitions which led to purchase by Oracle Inc and included IPO on the NASDAQ. CurrentlyDan is a Co-founder of RealAR, an Augmented Real Estate app helping visualise off-the-plan property before it’s built. Recently featured on #RiverPitch TV, about to join one of the world’s largest tech accelerator. Have been an investor in several Aus startups, very active in supporting Queensland regional startups. PhD in Data Visualisation & Innovation Management. Loves ventures and adventures.
business & IT
Kane Sajdak is a passionate business and technology expert, and cofounder of the multi-award winning IT firm, BITS Technology Group. Through his drive to improve businesses through smart technology choice, and ensuring that the “people” element of technology is at the forefront of every engagement, BITS Technology Group has grown to include national and international office, and work with some of Australia’s leading organisations. Kane has an extensive career in IT, and most recently has been crowned Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the second year in a row.
Michael V. Murtagh MBA, B. Bus., Com. Dec, Michael has over 25 years experience with technology start up companies and has been involved in investing and growing a diverse portfolio of companies. After graduating with an MBA from London City University, Michael worked in Europe for over a decade with a privately operated seed capital investment firm and technology incubator. After returning to Australia, Michael co-founded the Angel group ‘Founders Forum’ and later ‘Gold Coast Angels’ which operate today investing in and assisting early stage technology companies. For ten years he served as a Comet Business Advisor – delivering the Commonwealth Government’s Commercialising Emerging Technologies Scheme and assisting young high growth companies develop and execute their commercialisation plans.
Chartered Accounting professional with experience in start up and commercialisations.
Cloud, Iot, AI
Steve is an Electronic and Software Engineer, Entrepreneur and Gold Coast Community connector. He is founder of Gold Coast Techspace, the Gold Coast’s very own makerspace and geek hub and Refactor, an Agile Hardware and Software consultancy. His own startup secluded.io specialises in low-power, cloud connected sensors designed for low cost and secluded environments. He regularly takes part in startup education activities such as Startup OnRamp and sits on many advisor boards as technical expert.
Baden is a nationally recognised entrepreneurship educator, leading Bond University’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation disciplines for over a decade. He is the Director of Bond’s Commercialisation Centre, building entrepreneurial capability across campus through curriculum, workshops, immersions and events. Outside of the University he leads the Startup Community Leaders Missions to Silicon Valley, Boulder and Israel for Startup Catalyst and supports his wife in their veterinary business Pet Wellness Centres. His background is in commercial banking (NAB) and private equity (QIC), and he is a regular contributor to conferences, community events and the media on the topics of disruption, innovation and the entrepreneurial method.
Josh is the cofounder of Little Phil and the Social Impact Group – a micro philanthropy platform using blockchain technology to increase engagement and transparency, he is a Yunus Centre Fellow and Australian Student Volunteer of the Year. Josh has a unique blend of business and technology skills, with a keen interest in scalable and emerging technology and social enterprise. Josh previously studied a double degree in International Business & Commerce and a Masters in IT.
Business Professional with exceptional analytical skills, visionary with practical insights. Twenty years of progressively responsible leadership experience with Virtualmgr.com, The Shell Oil Company and Accenture. Expertise acquired in numerous functions including Executive leadership, SaaS Software, Retail, Marketing and Operations. Strong Project Management skill base obtained by working with blue chip companies throughout the World. Business Development expertise and international program management experience. Problem solving skills combined with result-oriented, highly-motivated and motivating personality plus exceptional people skills have contributed to a solid track record of business metrics accomplishments, project completion on time and on budget, with distinction.
Jason is CEO of Cake. Cake is a SAAS Fintech that helps businesses issue and manage their capital like a pro, without being a finance wizard. Jason has founded several businesses from the Gold Coast, and has a strong understanding of many startup disciplines on the business side of things – don’t expect too much technical advice! Jason is an ex-CFO and corporate finance manager and has worked across many sectors, from starts and SME to private equity and multinationals in Europe.
Paul’s specialty for the last 5 or 6 years has been helping enterprise customers migrate safely to the cloud. Eventually, he started my own company SecureStack and built a platform that lets enterprise customers manage the ongoing lifecycle, governance and security of their private and public cloud infrastructure from our SaaS solution SecureCloud.
Founder / CEO of CartonCloud, we develop a cloud-based warehouse and transport management system for the SME market. Headquartered in Burleigh Heads.
LAW & GRANTS
Managing Practice Director of McLaughlins Lawyers for 10 years. Lawyer for 30 years. Been a lawyer in NZ, AUS and England. Most relevantly I currently own and operate two diverse businesses and have seen the successes and failures of client’s businesses over many years for many different reasons.
Eibhlis is the Founder and heads the technical group at MobileDigital. Eibhlis has stand out design and logic skills, and is recognised as a savvy IT engineer. The idea, innovative design, build and implementation of the patented processes that support MobileDigitals’ world leading SNIPER messaging platform, owe their origin to Eibhlis’s unwillingness to accept the status quo in mobile communications in Australia.
Co-Founder of Bartercard, former CEO of Bartercard Group and former director of ASX listed company BPS Technology.
Brian is Canadian born, has lived on the Gold Coast for over 26 years and co-founded Bartercard in 1991. Since this time Brian has helped develop and lead the company to its peak of 72 offices in 8 countries, employing over 800 staff, 35,000 business memberships, and over 50,000 card holders transacting in excess of $1billion a year.
Areas of expertise include:
– corporate governance,
– business optimisation,
– operations management,
– risk management,
– strategic planning and implementation of strategy,
– corporate restructuring and insolvency,
– asset management and asset recovery,
– management of cash flow and liquidity,
– working capital analysis.
Dan Kerr, an engineer by qualification
– 10+ years involved with sales and marketing (50% of that time in the Building/Trade Industry)
– 6 years as a small business co-founder
– I’m passionate about changes in consumer behaviours in an increasingly digital world
– Have a broad understanding around marketplace dynamics
Paul leads worldwide user support teams across Salt Lake City and Gold Coast, Australia. Having been with Anonyome Labs since inception as a founding member, Paul has played numerous product development leadership roles in growing the company. He has over 25 years’ experience in software development, with the last 20 dedicated to security technologies, specifically access management, identity management, privacy, and mobile security. Before joining Anonyome, Paul worked for IBM in senior management roles across product development, support, services, customer advocacy, and special projects.
Tess is an experienced Associate Lawyer of MBA Lawyers who practices in Corporate and Commercial Law. She has assisted many businesses and organisations in structuring, governance, compliance and commercial matters and have a strong passion for startups and seeing them succeed. The world needs more innovation to keep progressing forward and startups are key to this.
Managing Partner MBA Lawyers, Director Southport Sharks Australian Rules Football Club Ltd, Chairman Intelligent Infrastructure Solutions Pty Ltd, Chairman SafeCam Technologies Pty Ltd,
Ryan teaches people how to sell, ethically. As a businessman, strategic advisor, investor, speaker and proud father, Ryan is considered the go-to expert for anyone looking to understand negotiation and influencing with integrity by inspiring people to take action, fast.
Hank has held leadership roles at the forefront of commercial development in Media in Australia and the UK.
With a foundation in business development, advertising solutions, marketing, consumer research and analysis he has worked with start up national broadcasters in free to air and Pay TV, in direct marketing, news publishing, search marketing and began Fairfax Media’s early transition to a digital enterprise. Hank has contributed to the transformation of major media businesses in to multi platform digital concerns, run cinema JVs internationally, advised on the start up of a premium member car club, an investment business tailored to women and been the co founder of Australian beverages brand – Nudie. drinks.
Career sales background in a range of industries with particular focus on new business development, account management and long term sales planning. Nathan spent 20 years on the road as a Technical Sales Consultant / Account Manager with everyone from retail assistants to CEOs as his clients. With sales, like everything else, energy in equals energy out. You have to give of yourself. Now working with RADBE Consulting as a BDM and Grants Consultant Nathan is helping his clients to realise the benefits of taking advantage of the Government programs available to drive innovation, growth and profitability.
Leader in Digital Workplace Thinking – Driving behaviour change and changing people’s way of working by introducing and managing cloud productivity tools. Providing options and choice to be connected and motivating business and IT to enable the ability to work anywhere, anyplace, anytime.
Programme / Project Management professional with 20 years’ experience leading teams for multi- national companies across diverse industries including Corporate, Banking, Energy, Government, Sport, Health and IT.
Jacob is the Founder of Service.com.au, After working for 5 years in a direct sales role and a short stint at Yellow Pages, Jacob decided to get together with 2 friends and start Service.com.au, a platform that connects Australians to local service providers.
Since its inception, Service.com.au has helped over 500,000 Australians to get various jobs done and prides itself on helping over tens of thousands of service providers find steady and consistent work.
He is well versed when it comes to Sales, Marketing, Start-ups and Marketplaces