Fast Starters: Immigrant entrepreneurs start over and win


Immigrants to Australia make up a third of the company founders named on the Fast Starters list from “Business Review Weekly.” Sabir Samtani is one of many immigrants who has had entrepreneurial success in Australia. From the example of his parents, whose Mumbai factories employed a staff of nearly 1000, he has built up he has built up his digital marketing agency to a $3.6 million turnover in 2011-2012.

Fellow immigrant entrepreneurs said that the opportunities in Australia and a work ethic gained from their parents have led to their success in the country.

Chetan Saligrama’s parents saved 10 million rupees to send him to Australia for his education. The risk was a huge one. His family mortgaged their house and savings, and he in turn mortgaged his own house to start his now-successful business, Thought World, after years of working in call centers.

The head of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation, David Barnes, was born in Singapore and says that it may be living in large Asian cities or the United States and returning to a smaller market in Australia that inspires people to entrepreneurship. Another example is Vietnamese immigrant Cham Tang who grew up watching his mother sewing and then opening her own business. Zion Ong, who runs a marketing agency that was ranked 66th in the Fast Starters list says that he got his work ethic from his mother, who did laundry and had a bicycle shop, and his father, who sold ice water on the street.

Ukrainian immigrant Nick Grinberg was amazed by the opportunity in Australia and constantly reminded by his parents of the potential for excellence. Tracy Angwin, from the culturally similar New Zealand became managing director of the Australian Payroll Association and says there is something exhilarating about not knowing anyone on arrival.

Dominic Patterson, born in the United Kingdom and the director of Connect Events, says that he found the youth of the country empowering. His fellow countryman David Cox of CGC Recruiting says that the ability to understand a mobile workforce and the challenges of relocation was in a skill in itself while Granite Consulting’s David Webley, also from the U.K., said that the recruitment market is not yet oversaturated. Irish immigrant Philip O’Sullivan agrees. He says that everyone in Ireland was very successful until the financial crash. Finally, Daniel Jarosch, a dual German and Australian citizen, says that the willingness to be an immigrant speaks to the willingness to take risks that make for good entrepreneurs.