37 Entrepreneurs Explain Why They Started Their Businesses

Each business has a story. No matter if the business is a Goliath like Wal-Mart, or a local business owned by a couple or family, the business has roots in an idea. For each business owner, the story of their journey can range from monetary needs or the passion for a unique project. Each story is different though the reasons may remain the same. No matter the tale, the background behind each and every business is what fuels each entrepreneur and brand.

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#1) Solve a Problem

We started Blurb because we thought it was completely lopsided that the folks who create the work are at the end of the food chain economically, not to mention the loss of creative control they often encounter. That was just wrong. So if you start a company to solve that problem, chances are good you'll build a platform by listening carefully to the people who will want to use it. When you support that platform with inspirational and informative subject matter that helps guide people along the way, and then offer them a community of service providers who can help round out their team—well, that's the ticket. We are transforming publishing for the 21st century. That's massive. We are unbelievably lucky to be here right now, with a team of über-talented people from the best and brightest Silicon Valley companies, at a moment when what a book should be is morphing before our very eyes. At Blurb, we've built an Internet platform for people to produce their own bookstore-quality books. That's it. That's what we do.

Thanks to Eileen Gittins, Blurb!

#2) Help Others & Improve Upon Customer Service

I started my business namely to help others and to improve upon the aloof customer service being presented in the IT industry. At the time, the Geek Squad was really the only computer service provider and then CompUSA started getting into computer repair dispatch. I heard horror stories about how their technicians had chips on their shoulders, belittling customers with their elitist attitudes. I felt there is no reason why a service provider couldn’t be friendly, compassionate, and provide solid customer service while perform the computer repairs. That’s what spawned the idea that I can do better and namely how computer users deserved much better.

Thanks to Joe Silverman, New York Computer Help!

#3) Love Solving Puzzles

Since childhood, I have always loved solving puzzles, from the Rubik's Cube to thinking games like Connect Four. It's just my passion. After I left academia (too slow moving) and the consultancy company I worked for (lack of vision), four friends and I applied that puzzle-solving passion to creating software for solving supply chain puzzles. Because really, that is what supply chain planning & optimization is about: solving the puzzle to figure out who needs to do what, where and when. We managed to create a single software that is so powerful that we can optimize any business whether it is manufacturing, retail, transportation, oil and gas, metals or anything else. After 17 years, we are the fourth largest (and fastest growing) supply chain planning and optimization company in the world.

Thanks to Dr. Victor Allis, CEO and founding partner, Quintiq!

#4) Used to Reconnect

Back in 2005, I started Cellit, a company focused on helping companies communicate with their customers via text messages. When I sold the company in 2012 to HelloWorld, I spent a lot of time writing thank you notes. I sent notes to my clients, thanking them for their business, notes to my employees for all of their support over the years, and notes to HelloWorld directors, for their trust in purchasing my company. Instead of emailing notes, I put pen to paper, because I knew that despite all of our new communication tools, including email, social, and yes, even text messages, nothing beats the impact of a handwritten note. Handwritten notes are dying. Nobody has the time to buy a card, write it out, and mail it. And when you do go through those motions, people notice. They cherish the note. They display it in their office or on their refrigerator. So the question was: what could make it easy to send a handwritten note? The answer: robots. My new company, Handwrytten, uses an “army” of handwriting robots to send write out notes in actual pen and mail them on your behalf. Using our iPhone or Android apps or visiting, it is easy to select a card from our inventory of over 80 designs, tap out your message and select a handwriting style. The robots then write out the note, stamp the envelope and send it on its way. With additional features, like message templating to help automate written correspondence, and even the ability to include a gift card, Handwrytten is a tool used by busy people everyday to reconnect with friends, family and customers. Even better, I love the service and use it daily as well. When you can proudly use your product or service and find the value in it on a daily basis, you know you're on to something.

Thanks to David Wachs, Handwrytten!

#5) Market Downturn

Despite the ongoing recession, I took to my kitchen table in 2010 to launch Digital Air Strike — an award-winning automotive social media and digital engagement company. Tapping into my knowledge of and experience in automotive marketing, I identified a need to monetize social networks for businesses. My idea was that during market downturns, people need to invest in marketing and reputation management because that’s when marketing matters most. When budgets are thin, digital and social marketing are actually the least expensive, easiest-to-measure marketing investments. I also started Digital Air Strike as a way of following my own advice in my best-selling book titled “Balls! 6 Rules for Winning the Business Game,” which was inspired by my fascination with America’s entrepreneurs and the challenges they face leading their companies toward success.

Thanks to Alexi Venneri, Digital Air Strike!

#6) Abolish a Phenomena

I am founder on an unconventional online gallery, The Art and Craft Gallery. My ‘ Why' for starting this venture is to abolish ‘ Struggling Artist Phenomena' by supporting creative individuals flourish making their creative business sustainable which will push the Maker Movement forward in true sense. My story of starting this venture: Being a multi-passionate creative individual being skills in various arts and crafts like Water colour painting, Tanjore Arts (18th Century Gold Painting Art from India) Pergamano (18th Century Paper Art from Denmark), Crochet, Knitting, Scrap-booking, Dried Flowers Arts, and much more; I was denied to under tae professional fine arts degree by my parents even after winning two national awards for my watercolour painting (in school) and exhibiting those two paintings in London Galleries in 1998-99. My parents did not wish to see me as struggling artists and thus I was enrolled in Bachelor of Business course in Australia. Since coming to Australia in 2004 my passion for creativity was further boosted and was well alive while still doing my business degree and working in corporate world until 2011. In 2011 I discovered the world of blogging and started to share my creative works with the world, accidentally starting my part time creative business online. When I decided to create full time creative business, I couldn't find online marketers or PR services who understand the creative process, this meant I was doing everything in the business from online presence, to markets and exhibits which resulted in burnout. So after taking 6 months break and thinking through it, I realised there's a gap in market for creating marketing and support services for creatives that will reduce their workload and eventual burnout. This is were I decided to use my business degree, personal experience of online marketing a creative venture to turn in to an affordable services for fellow creatives.

Thanks to Akshaya Borkar, The Art and Craft Gallery!

#7) My Blood

As the son of entrepreneurs, it's in my blood to create a business for myself. And, believe it or not, the recession was the impetus for how Aventis Systems was born. While in college, I was selling memory for laptops and desktops to make some extra money. A friend challenged me to expand my offerings. So, in 2008, I began selling new and refurbished servers and storage lines, which quickly became advantageous to those small-and medium-sized businesses who needed to save money during the cash-strapped days of the recession and chose upgrading their systems versus buying new. Today, Aventis Systems, Inc. has transformed from a small information technology components firm into a comprehensive and full-service IT computer hardware and support solution provider, servicing over 20,000 clients across the country.

Thanks to Hesam Lamei, Aventis Systems, Inc.!

#8) My Own Need & Solve My Problems

I started goFlow out of my own need and to solve my own problem (which is the same problem for all surfers around the world). Surfers always want to know the waves conditions in real-time and they want to stay connected with their local and global community. I figured if Waze could use the power of the crowd to solve the traffic problems, why can’t we use this awesome smart technology and finally solve our own problem. After more than a year of growing the goFlow global surf community, we realized that this need to know the conditions in real time doesn’t only apply to surfers. It’s a problem that all weather driven sports have. So we opened the goFlow platform from surfing-only to 10 new verticals: Paddle-boarding, Diving, Fishing, Skateboarding, Cycling, Golfing, Snow sports, Boating, Kitesurfing and more to come. The global community keeps on growing and we couldn’t be happier to help people connect with each other around their favorite activities and passions.

Thanks to Roni Eshel, goFlow!

#9) Horrible Experience

A little over a year ago, I was out to dinner and had a horrible experience at a restaurant. It was so bad that I almost wrote my first Yelp review. But I stopped myself, realizing that I didn't want to bash this small business online and forever tarnish their reputation. Therefore, I left my job as a Consultant at Ernst & Young and set out to create a platform that empowered informed consumers to provide private, constructive information to help business owners assess performance and make strategic decisions. In just over 6 months since launching, we're helping over 100 restaurants in NYC.

Thanks to Robert Edell, Servy!

#10) Turn My Blueprint into Reality

I own Elite Editing, a full-service editorial firm that offers outsourced solutions to businesses of all sizes, from startups to Fortune 50s. In the summer of 2008, I took a week’s vacation from my full-time job, which I promptly spent holed up in my apartment, sketching out the blueprint for my future business. For the next year, I devoted every waking hour outside of my job to turning this into a reality. In March of 2009 launched, and I would run back and forth to an Internet café five blocks from my office to manage work coming through and to take business calls. Eventually, it became too much. Elite Editing was starting to look like something real, and if I wanted to make it happen, I was going to have to take a real chance. So in 2009, as the economy came to a screeching halt, I took the leap. I left my full-time job that September and struck out on my own. Magazines were folding and papers were closing, but I saw a niche in the market: as the editorial world took a major hit due to the tumult of the surrounding economic climate, the need for a quality editorial outsourcing solution would become even more critical. It turns out I was right. And nearly six years later, I look back at that time, the whirlwind that it was, and I’m so thankful I made the choice to jump. It was the best decision of my life. I have faced, and continue to face, many challenges along the way—evolving from an editor to a business owner, developing a memorable brand, finding great talent, to name a few. But I love running my own business and the challenges that come with it. I’ve watched it grow exponentially into something I never dreamed it would be, and I can’t wait to see where the next six years will take me.

Thanks to Jennifer Rotner, Elite Editing!

#11) Bored

Frankly, we were bored. Bored of the same blue, ill-fitting shirt options. Bored of crummy department stores. And bored of our corporate jobs. We finally got fed up and said screw it, let's try something we would want. So we launched our company with the simple mission to “rid the world of boring shirts.” We were also excited at the chance to learn something new, get out of our comfort zones, and take complete ownership of something we truly believed in.

Mike & Aaron May, Pacific Issue!

#12) We Wanted to Help

I originally came from Argentina, and lived in Brazil and Venezuela before moving to the US. Everywhere I lived, I saw just how big an impact the education I was able to attain had, and how big an impact the lack of education had on the rest of my family and friends in terms of what they could achieve. It was truly something that touched me. The fact that even kids who wanted to learn, couldn't, or didn't have access to teachers who could teach, really bothered me. And then as a computer science major, seeing all these amazing things we could do with technology — but that we hadn’t done in education, bothered me even more. We were poised to make education accessible in a way that was not possible in previous generations, but it seemed that no one was tackling the problem with enough urgency. We wanted to help students, so that's why we founded Even in the US, my own college experience was eye-opening. Both Ben and I took general education classes. And they were not 30-50 people classes; we were taking Psych 101 in a theater with 500 people. We could barely see the professor. The professor would write on something that resembled a whiteboard. You couldn't read it. You couldn't even hear him with the people talking in front of you. And this was at a prestigious engineering school. That was supposed to be the best way for me to learn? — in a class so high in demand that I had to wait several quarters to take it? It just didn't make sense. Time and time again, I kept hearing about other students who had the same experience. And we're talking about people who were at least fortunate enough to go to college — there's plenty of people who don't have that kind of access in the first place. That ate at me. We're trying to figure out how people can learn on their own, where there isn't this kind of waiting list. Our experiences informed our idea that we want something self-paced, bite-sized, and affordable. We experimented a lot, we tried a lot of formats that failed, we used data to learn what works and what doesn't, and iterated our way to what we have today.

Thanks to Adrian Ridner,!

#13) Promote Myself

Simple, I made a decision to promote myself. AT age 28 I was working with a consulting firm that was going through a buyout. As I watched the new CEO hire and fire 3 regional VP's I finally sat him down. Keep in mind during this transition he would pat me on the shoulder – this is great work, ya know this is like writing a college paper in response to my internal memos and client reports. I would pause and smile. I finally told him – hey I am managing the region and doing the work of these VP's you keep firing. “Why don't you just let me formally run it?” Response: “No way 40 and 50 year olds would report to you!” Well I asked “how long do I have to wait to be promoted?” He looked at me and said “40 to 50?” I paused and thought “wow that is old” and decided to promote myself by starting MBA; would work until I no longer received a pay check. 24 years later, a much different perspective on 40 to 50 and I continue to receive a paycheck.

Thanks to Rebecca Mendoza Saltiel Busch!

#14) Shared Love

My brother and I are 18 years different in age, and the one thing we've always connected on was our love for the outdoors with a little adventure mixed in. We really started our company because of our shared love for adventure and the outdoors. The company gave us a reason to spend more time together and to build something as a family. originally started with a few retail locations in 1997, and we quickly started the e-commerce site the next year. We've grown a lot since then and have been able to bring a lot of friends and family onto the team as well. One of the reasons we've continued to stay focused on the company is that it lets us expose more and more people to the outdoors. It started with a love for the outdoors and that's where we try to keep it focused.

Thanks to Don Uhlir, Extremely-Sharp Survival Gear!

#15) Take Advantage of an Opportunity

I founded GMR Web Team 11 years ago for one simple reason: to help small and medium sized companies take advantage of the growing opportunities of the Internet. Back then, the internet was not nearly as sophisticated as it is today, and the online marketing space was mostly occupied by techies and website designers who hadn't a clue about marketing. A corporate marketing executive, I leveraged my many years of corporate experience and dove headfirst into the digital marketing space. 11 years later, I run a 6 figure company that has helped clients across different industries succeed in establishing and maintaining an online presence.”

Thanks to Ajay Prasad, GMR Web Team!

#16) Bring Change

With the recent wave of on-demand offerings from taxi cabs to mobile dry cleaning, consumers have started to rethink the way they book and buy products and services. We believe it is inevitable that all local services will be transacted this way, and we are excited to bring this change to the home services industry.

Thanks to Zorik Gordon, SERVIZ!

#17) Devastating Event

I started my business for one simple reason – I wanted to prevent other people from experiencing something that almost devastated my financial future. In 2001, I came home to find my apartment on fire. A few moments after the initial shock of seeing my home ablaze, I remembered I didn’t have any renters insurance, and I only had about $150 in the bank. So six years later, I started Effective Coverage, a national online renters insurance provider. We make it easy for renters to quickly find, price and purchase renters insurance online and on their mobile devices. I never want renters to find themselves in my situation – scared, displaced and worried about my finances.

Thanks to Eric Narcisco, Effective Coverage!

#18) Better Person

Awareness is what makes a human different. When I was working in a company I was constantly not aware. Do you know the name of the cleaning person? Do you know how much it cost 2 days of “holidays” for the company? or the fact that you get late 10 minutes to a meeting? Be aware of everything that is around you makes you appreciate other people job. This will turn into respect, respect into humbleness, and in the long run you become a better person. I was not wrong when I started in the adventure of starting my own business. In the path, I have found great people who share their time to make your life better. They do it in exchange of nothing, as a favor to return all what they got. Now I also started to return all what I got, and I feel inside me how much I improved as a human being.

Thanks to David Trallero, LookIwasThere!

#19) A Challenge

I started Noble Carriage as a way to address the growing concerns of sustainability in fashion and the harmful effects that this industry has on farmers, the environment, and ultimately the end consumer. This challenge is far greater than just one company can tackle, so we focused our efforts where we could have the most profound effect: babies. Noble Carriage is an online shop for the best 100% organic baby clothes and eco-friendly toys and accessories. Although that sounds fairly simple and straightforward, Noble Carriage’s mission is far more ambitious and, well, noble. Truth is, most non-organic cotton is not good for babies or the environment. The use of toxic chemicals to treat cotton and dye the clothing makes even the cutest clothing harmful for a baby’s skin. In the first few years of life, your skin will be the most susceptible to whatever it comes in contact with. Therefore, wearing organic clothing, using eco-friendly cleaning products, and eating healthy food are invaluable to a baby’s long-term health. At Noble Carriage, you’ll find the best 100% organic baby clothing and eco-friendly toys and accessories all in one place. All of the brands we sell meet our list of sustainability standards.

Thanks to Jen Hartford, Noble Carriage!

#20) Fast-Growing Industry

A vast majority of people are very dependent on their mobile devices. New phones and tablets are very pricey, so it is very rewarding to get someone back up and running on their mobile devices. With my friend Dan, we started our own cellphone repair company because we want to be a part of this fast-growing industry, and at the same time, provide trustworthy services to people who rely on their cell phones and tablets in their daily lives. As a service-oriented company, we thrive on how we treat people and so far, we have been reaping the rewards of developing our people and satisfying our customers. How we do it is by working hard, thinking about our customers' needs, and doing whatever it takes. While the business is rewarding it has also been a fun journey. We have a great team here at iCare Repair and we are very proud of our work.

Thanks to Dustin Colthorp, iCare Repair!

#21) Solve a Problem

I was in law school at UPenn when I founded the company with my classmate Stephanie Shyu. We created the site to address our own frustrations when applying to college and grad school, mainly the lack of transparency in the process. We built the first database of successful college and grad school application files so applicants can finally see who is getting in and get insight from accepted students.

Thanks to Lydia Fayal, AdmitSee!

#22) Self-Sufficient

Founded seven years ago, In Blue Handmade began when then I moved out of Chicago, left my job in the music business, dropped $90 on a Singer sewing machine and moved into a farmhouse in southern Illinois. After managing a distribution center where I sold vinyl to record stores (my first client was Asheville's own Harvest Records), renting the farmhouse was about becoming self-sufficient.

Thanks to Mary Lynn Schroeder, In Blue Handmade!

#23) 3 Reasons

There were three main reasons I started my business LoveQuest Marketing. First, I grew tired of working to make other people's businesses thrive. Second, I wanted to truly help people. Third, I wanted to put my pain to purpose. It wasn't until my marriage started falling apart that I embarked upon my own LoveQuest. Through this decade of marital decline (yes, it was dragged it out), I got turned onto Kabbalah, personal development workshops and a man named Grant Cardone. I served as Grant's Director of Marketing for 18 months. Gran't is an international sales master, a NY Times Bestseller, speaker and self made multi millionaire. Being around him every day certainly made a significant impact on me. All of this personal and professional development combined with a deep desire to help others let me to create a business where I draw upon marketing, PR and sales principles to help people find, give and keep love.

Thanks to Lisa Concepcion, LoveQuest Marketing!

#24) 9-5 Scares Me

I started my business because I think the concept of a 9-5 workday scares me. It's a very antiquated way of working dating from the industrial revolution. I'm most productive & creative when I feel free to roam with my time and tasks. Often this means I end up working at different hours during the day. I started my company to bridge the gap between my passion (helping startups & business with their apps) and ramping up a team with flexible hours.

Thanks to Andrés Max, Ideaware!

#25) Lasting Impact

In January 2010, I started my business at 21 with $500 in the bank and a ‘2for1 vodka' hangover. I couldn’t sew or draw so becoming a fashion designer was out. Like a magnet to shiny things, styling was the only option for a career that would allow me to work with beautiful garments and people. After developing a successful client styling system I began teaching others how to successfully style. I created a leading experiential education model where our students get access to the largest styling resource portal in the world AND get to be part of a positive, powerful, collaborative community (which I was told wasn't possible in the world of fashion). Being in business is the golden ticket to connecting with like-minded people. Equipping passionate, creative people with the skills to give others confidence makes my job the best in the world. I am driven to build a business with an impact that supersedes my own personal ability to contribute.

Thanks to Lauren Di Bartolo, Australian Style Institute!

#26) Desperation

I started my business out of desperation when I couldn't find a job. Although I had worked for many years before, had a degree and now a post-graduate certificate no one was hiring me. I tried selling my knowledge and services in marketing and public relations and it worked! Slowly and painstakingly I started to build a business. Lots of trial and error, many many hours of unpaid work, networking and investment later I am proud of what I have accomplished. Eventually people noticed the good advice, blog, vlog and assistance I was providing for their businesses and they started to pay me for it. I'm very proud of the work I've done with Black Leopard Public Relations. I never thought I could run my own business, never thought it was an option. My goal with the Entrepreneur Store is to encourage and support others to pursue entrepreneurship as an option. The unstable economy demands that you develop entrepreneurial skills. You never kno w when you'll be out of a job. You are never too old or too young. You can be a mom, dad or have other responsibilities. You can do it! You can start from the bottom and build something amazing. This is my ‘why'. I wish someone had planted this idea in me when I was younger, when I was down, or when I felt trapped. Be proud of who you are and your potential to do meaningful work. You are an Entrepreneur.

Thanks to Nicole Nurse, Black Leopard PR!

#27) Frustration

The frustration of standing in the isles of supermarkets looking for an alternative to chemical underarm products for my teenage son inspired me to start Australia's first natural/organic personal care range just for teenage boys. Formulated to tackle the hormonal changes going on in a developing male body and packaged so it is easily recognised by boys as for them, 808 Dude, takes the stink out of adolescence, naturally!

Thanks to Carolyn Palliardi, 808 Dude!

#28) Light Bulb Moment

I’ve always wanted to start my own business, and after my son was born the desire grew! When he started eating solid food, I became very aware of what was really in the food on supermarket shelves and started educating myself on the many potentially harmful additives and preservatives used, and I was making everything from scratch. I had a ‘light bulb moment’ and came up with the idea of creating pre-mixes using real food ingredients that are actually good for kids! I’m really passionate about helping other families eat better quality food and about educating parents on the benefits of living a whole food life.

Thanks to Tracey Davidson, Adventure Snacks!

#29) Stay at Home

I started Milk Tooth so that I could stay home with my young daughter. I had previously worked at an executive level in the government, specialising in international relations. When I commenced my maternity leave for my daughter, Sylvia, I fully intended to return to work part-time when she turned one. However, as that time approached, I increasingly realised I didn't want to pay daycare workers to raise my child for half of the week while she was still so small. I knew I would never regret staying home and spending that extra time with her, but I wanted to continue to contribute financially to my family and – importantly – my mind was used to being challenged by work and was seeking that intellectual stimulation again. So I started up my own online business, which I manage mainly in the evening when my daughter is asleep. It's not easy, as I'm usually pretty tired after a day of running around after a toddler, but I feel I've the correct work-life balance for me and my child.

Thanks to Katherine Vaughn, Milk Tooth!

#30) Help Others

I started my business in order to help people who struggle with food issues and their bodies. This world is filled with women who loathe their bodies, are always on a diet and are wasting every minute of their lives. It breaks my heart to see how we're keeping ourselves small and miserable and it's time to change that. In my coaching practice, I work with women who “get it” and are ready to break out of their self-imposed prison to live a life that is bigger and better than they could've ever imagined it. That's why I founded my business and why I do what I do: in order to help my people and pay it forward for a better world.

Thanks to Anne-Sophie Reinhardt, Anne-Sophie Reinhardt Coaching!

#31) Opportunity Cost

Both myself and my business partner had just turned 30 and reached a point where we decided we didn't want to work for someone else for the rest of our lives. We were both fortunate enough to be in a position to be able to take a chance and try and start a business of our own. The downside of failing is fairly small in the grand scheme of things, you can always get another job and earn more money, but what's the opportunity cost of not having a go at creating something that could be both very fulfilling and also make you very rich at the same time?

Thanks to Marty Spargo, REIZE Energy Drink!

#32) A Dream

As a 5 year old I had a dream to run a successful business that helped people. Don’t tell me I can’t and if you do I’ll prove you wrong. Unlike my neighbourhood friends, my parents refused to pay me an allowance, solution… a secret income. As an only child I had the best toys, everyone wanted them, an opportunity. My first store at my birthday was a failure but shaped who I am today. 2014, Believing in me, I took a leap starting my own company. Australian fashion has a reputation for being progressive and ahead of its time. Our lifestyle has elements of freshness and originality. Home to some of the oldest rock formations in the world, diamonds, opals, sapphires and pearls. Sadly with such potential at our doorstep it does not translate to success at the retail level. Faced with the issues of online jewellery sales coming from overseas websites and a lack of quality boutique Australian sites especially one that that is dedicated to Australian creativity or product. Many online jewellery stores are bricks-and-mortar stores supplementing revenues that don't aligning to the tech-savvy consumer who want responsive technologies. My long-term objective is to bring sales for jewellery back to Australia. My Jewellery Shop Online was born, it's not just a jewellery store, it so much more. I collaborate with Australian jewellery and accessory designers using my marketing model and the online store. Together this puts Australian jewellery design and retail back on the world map satisfying customers. Anyone can create a website, register a business but creating one that connects to the right audience is key, that is my area of expertise. I achieve this by adapting my business strategies to resolve any issues with a carefully thought-out action plans. A lesson learnt at a young age and adopted in all aspects of my life. My concept is taking creative designers and showcasing them to the world, millstone achieved within first 6 months, orders not only local but international too. Innovation and problem solving is me, I never see a problem as that, it is an opportunity.

Thanks to Maria Pomella, My Jewellery Shop Online!

#33) A Dire Need

A dire need for gorgeous women's shoes in longer sizes … that's what inspired me to open The Shoe Garden just over three years ago in Brisbane. As someone who wears a size 12 shoe, I knew first-hand that there was nowhere in Brisbane to find shoes that fit, let alone were gorgeous. I now have customers from 10 years old to 90, from around southern QLD and online from around Australia. I started my business because I knew there was an unfulfilled niche and I narrowed that niche further by promising only shoes that go from a size 10 to at least a size 12 and longer if possible, plus only offering shoes that are gorgeous: no nanna shoes or comfort-only shoes are allowed at The Shoe Garden! A split second after deciding to open my own business, I also knew I wanted to be a not-just-for-profit and achieved this in April this year with anywhere from 50c to $5 being donated from every sale to Microloan Foundation Australia who empowe r women in Malawi with small business loans. So far, I've donated nearly $1,700 from sales these past three months.

Thanks to Carol Haffke, Proud Owner of The Shoe Garden!

#34) A Desire to Bring Fun & Magic

Our business was started with a passion and a vision to bring some magic to childhood, to show that is wonderful to be exactly who you are, and to celebrate our differences. The catalyst was the birth of my daughter and the first of the next generation in our family and our disappointment with the toys and characters that where around for children. The results have been amazing we now have a series of childrens books, dolls, games and more exciting projects in the pipe line and a busy family business.

Thanks to Sarah Hill, Madison Holroyd & Fiona Whyte, Beetle Bottoms!

#35) Fairer, More Equal World

Karibu Markets began after a trip I took to Kenya in early 2014. This trip brought a lot of injustices to my attention, particularly issues surrounding unfair pay for work, child labour and unfair work loads. With all of this in mind I began thinking more about Fairtrade values. Upon my return to Melbourne I was shocked at how difficult it was to find fair trade products. In such an initiative, multicultural community, I thought ethical products would be something we would be striving and pushing for within the market.This was when Karibu Markets, a quarterly fairtrade, ethical, Sunday market place, came to be. Our philosophy is simple. We take the typical Aussie mentality of giving everyone “a fair go” and apply it to a global scale. With a large society of consumers and an ever growing interest in international cultures Karibu Markets look at providing everyone with quality sourced goods that guarantee ethical processes are used thro ughout every step of production. We challenge the public to question where their every day purchasing choices. Step by step, I believe this will lead to a fairer, more equal world.

Thanks to Emily Robinson, Karibu Markets!

#36) Why Does A Fish Swim?

Asking an entrepreneur why he or she started a business is like asking a fish why it swims –it’s what we do. For me, and the other co-founder of MaxOut Strength Studio Matt Cubbler, we identified a unique piece of fitness equipment that would create an instant differentiator from all other fitness concepts. Once we were able to acquire the rights to the fitness technology, we had control over the key element of the business. The equipment had multiple sales chains so we were able to mitigate the risk. The equipment is ideally suited for college and university athletic training facilities, as well as elite military training locations. The most impactful use has been our development of the MaxOut Strength Studio brand targeting student athletes from ages 14-22. What makes us different from other fitness facilities is that we also believe that inner strength is as important as outer strength. That’s why, at the backbone of our franchise opportunity we include a comprehensive leadership and mentorship program that seeks to help kids understand their inner strength so they can be better students, family members and teammates. We have seen a real difference in the communities that we serve and that’s what really drives us to what we do.

Thanks to Jason Griggs, MaxOut!

#37) A Dream of Mine

I started my business because it has always been a dream of mine to help people in the community who are selling their property and preparing their home for the sales market. Initially we visit the property and discuss where they can add value to a clients home with decluttering, painting, home maintenance, cleaning and home styling with their own furniture or hired furniture. We can organise everything for them to from start to finish making it less stressful in organising everything that is required. We can also help find the right Real Estate Agent with the selling of the home. We also help clients with anything to do with their property and we work the same well as a Hotel Concierge – with any issues or concerns you just come to us – hence the name Property Concierge.

Thanks to Jude Morton, Property Concierge Queensland!


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