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As 2024 unfolds, the Australian business landscape is at a pivotal juncture, shaped by global economic challenges and local market transformations. In a time when the Australian economy grapples with uncertainties, from fluctuating international trade dynamics to local policy changes, it’s more important than ever to highlight the leaders who are making a significant impact. This feature focuses on the top Australian founders to watch in 2024 – individuals who are driving innovation and growth within their sectors. These visionary entrepreneurs are not just thriving amidst adversity but are also setting new standards for success, demonstrating that even in turbulent economic climates, it is possible to build and grow organizations that resonate strongly with the needs and aspirations of the Australian market.

1. Jesse Shane Trout & Jason Wisinewski

In 2024, childhood best mates Jesse Shane Trout and Jason Wisinewski, co-founders of Adelaide-based Vana Care, stand out as exemplary founders in the disability support sector, deserving attention as top entrepreneurs to follow. Their innovative venture, known for integrating fitness into disability care, has significantly altered the industry landscape in Australia.

Jesse, overcoming personal adversities including challenging family dynamics, embodies true resilience and entrepreneurial spirit. His journey, marked by determination and adaptability, has been central to the ethos of Vana Care. Jason, with his extensive knowledge in disability care, complements Jesse’s vision. His insights have been instrumental in the design and success of their unique service model.

Together, they have transformed Vana Care into a beacon of innovation in Adelaide, prioritizing holistic care that caters to both mental and physical well-being. This distinctive model has not only received acclaim but also set new benchmarks in the field.

As mentors, Jesse and Jason emphasize resilience and innovation to upcoming entrepreneurs, advocating for a steadfast belief in one’s vision despite challenges. Their shared advice highlights the importance of staying true to one’s goals and continuously striving for excellence.

Vana Care’s evolution under their leadership is more than a business success; it’s a testament to their commitment to making a substantial impact in the lives they touch. Their story, a blend of personal grit, innovative thinking, and a deep-seated commitment to social change, positions them as influential figures and top founders to watch in 2024.

2. Matt Nunn

In 2024, Matthew Nunn, the Managing Director of Nunn Media, is a standout figure in Australia’s media landscape. His journey from an aspiring physical education teacher to leading Australia’s largest independent media agency showcases his adaptability and strategic vision.

Graduating from Federation University Australia, Nunn’s career pivot began at WIN television station, leveraging his local sports prominence for a successful stint in advertisement sales. His ascent continued at Melbourne’s Channel Nine, culminating in the founding of Nunn Media. Today, the agency boasts over 200 employees, offices in Australia and the U.S., and annual client billings over US$400 million.

Nunn Media’s growth is marked by strategic acquisitions, including Innovate Online, Kruse Media and Alley Group, each enhancing its media buying capabilities. Despite challenges like the 2010 financial crisis, Nunn’s leadership and strategic partnerships, notably with investor Tony Gandel, have propelled the company forward. Known for its people-first culture and commitment to staff development, Nunn Media stands out in an industry dominated by larger firms. Nunn emphasizes a high-performance team and continuous learning, with opportunities for staff training and international exchanges.

Looking forward, Nunn Media focuses on expanding its digital advertising capabilities, staying abreast of emerging trends like AI. Nunn, balancing his role with a passion for basketball as coach of the Knox Raiders NBL1 men’s team, applies his sports leadership experience to business, prioritizing team building and individual strengths development. In his first year for the Knox Raiders, Nunn won the 2023 NBL1 coach of the year award for leading his team to the national championship where his son Bailey was also awarded MVP.

Matthew Nunn’s leadership of Nunn Media, combining innovative strategies with a focus on people and culture, marks him as a significant entrepreneur to watch in 2024.

3. Kevin Mack

In 2024, Kevin Mack, the CEO of CMMN, stands as a key figure in the exhibition industry, particularly within the vibrant landscape of Australia. With a rich history spanning over a decade, he has left an indelible mark by reshaping the industry through his unwavering commitment to three fundamental pillars: Creativity, Content, and Community.

Kevin Mack’s remarkable journey as a community builder and brand developer has been nothing short of transformative. Over the years, he has orchestrated more than 40 events that collectively drew an astonishing quarter of a million attendees. His groundbreaking approach has not only modernized traditional exhibition models but has also laid the foundation for future innovations in content creation and the art of fostering global communities.

Some of Kevin’s achievements as a brand builder and founder include the startup Tatsup. Kevin was awarded the Shopify Business Award in 2014 before selling the company in 2022. He also launched the Australian Exhibition Group in 2016, which later merged with Kevin’s startup, CMMN Media, in 2022. Additionally, he founded the first-of-its-kind event, Creator Con, which aims to establish a global community platform for creators and digital marketers. This groundbreaking gathering is on the verge of achieving international recognition, with plans for expansion into Australia, Dubai, and Singapore, highlighting its worldwide appeal.

Anticipating the trends that will shape 2024, Kevin Mack envisions a notable shift towards forging authentic community bonds through the medium of digital content. He champions the concept of organic content creation over reliance on paid advertising, highlighting its cost-effectiveness and remarkable return on investment for both the brand and the community. This trend mirrors the growing preference for genuine, community-driven content in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Kevin Mack’s visionary leadership, groundbreaking strategies, and astute understanding of industry dynamics firmly establish him as a prominent entrepreneur and a key luminary to follow closely in 2024. As a true community builder and brand developer, he continues to inspire and pave the way for innovative advancements on a global scale.

4. Lawrie Carrozza

Lawrie Carrozza, renowned for his multidimensional and proactive approach, is a standout figure in the accounting and finance sector. His journey began with the establishment of his own accounting practice at the age of 24, showcasing his entrepreneurial spirit early in his career. Soon after, Carrozza’s first business venture thrived purely through word-of-mouth, amassing a client base of over 1,300—a testament to his expertise and reputation.

Carrozza is far from a stereotypical accountant. His international experience and ownership of a diverse range of businesses both nationally and internationally reflect his versatile and innovative approach. He stands out for his exceptional problem-solving skills, adept at finding solutions to a wide array of financial, taxation, business, investment, or accounting matters.

His unique perspective is also highlighted in his leadership at Foresight Accounting, a national accounting firm spanning over six cities in Australia with clients including medical professionals and high end business leaders & investors. Carrozza has reinvented the firm with the goal of changing the accounting landscape. His vision for Foresight Accounting is to create ideal financial integration for clients, encompassing all areas of their business and investment needs. This approach goes beyond traditional accounting services, encompassing investment opportunities and other financial services.

Lawrie Carrozza’s ability to think outside the box, combined with his financial acumen and people skills, has earned him acclaim from his clients. His innovative approach to accounting and finance makes him a prominent and influential leader in the industry, and a key figure to watch in the years to come.

5. Rachelle Sassine

A key aspect of Rachelle Sassine is her commitment to staying ahead of technological trends, particularly in the integration of AI into her business practices. She recognizes the crucial role of AI in contemporary digital marketing and is proactive in implementing these technologies to ensure her business remains at the forefront of the industry. Her philosophy is that embracing AI is not just an option but a necessity to stay relevant and competitive.

Looking ahead to 2024, Rachelle’s goals for Perceptiv Media are ambitious and forward-thinking. She aspires to grow the company significantly, focusing on building a loyal client base that resonates so strongly with her brand that it negates the need for traditional advertising. Her approach to growth is not anchored in immediate revenue generation but in cultivating lasting client relationships and an impeccable reputation in digital marketing in Australia.

In terms of market trends, Rachelle anticipates a surge in AI adoption among medium to smaller businesses, driven by increased accessibility. She foresees a future where personalization in digital marketing will become paramount, as the online space becomes increasingly saturated. Additionally, she predicts that SEO strategies will evolve to become more multimodal, incorporating video and images alongside text, to align with the capabilities of new AI tools.

Rachelle’s vision for Perceptiv Media is not just about staying abreast of trends but leading the charge in innovative digital marketing strategies. Her emphasis on AI integration, customer-centric growth, and staying ahead in SEO positions her as a leading figure in the digital marketing world and a top founder to watch in 2024.

6. Dr. Niro Sivathasan

Dr. Niro Sivathasan, with his impressive array of qualifications and international experience, stands out as a visionary in medical innovation, business, and ethics. He completed his bachelor’s and medical degrees at King’s College London and University College London, respectively, and undertook a MBA. Currently, he is in private clinical practice with licenses in multiple countries, in medicolegal representation, and as a part of the C-suite for various companies.

In London, Dr. Sivathasan undertook focal training in plastic/ burns surgery as well as head/ neck reconstruction and attained extensive postgraduate qualifications, which laid the foundation for further advanced training in America, France, and Australia. His two-year higher fellowship in general cosmetic surgery in Sydney has distinguished him in the field. He spent a further two years as a surgical fellow in the super-specialty area of cosmetic penile surgery honing techniques that have received international acclaim, and then launched a world-first medispa with dental inside a hospital.

His role since 2014 as a senior trainer and key opinion leader for the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries spanning the world, has further solidified his status as an expert in aesthetics and facial rejuvenation in particular. With over 35 medical articles, numerous conference presentations, book chapters, and roles in various medical journals, Dr. Sivathasan’s contributions to the medical community are profound. His involvement in medical ethics, law, and politics since 2017 reflects his commitment to addressing injustices.

Looking ahead, Dr. Sivathasan’s trajectory is notably towards the integration of artificial intelligence in medicine and beyond to effect positive change to humanity, showcasing his adaptability and foresight in an ever-evolving field. His diverse international experience, including in assessment and education, positions him as a top founder and leader to follow in 2024.

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