OTM Consultant, Issy attended the Pop-up Entrepreneur Event at the Queensland Startup Precinct last week which revealed mystery guest speaker, Brisbane entrepreneur and Vita Group CEO, Maxine Horne.
Maxine founded Vita Group in 1995 and has guided the transformation and growth of the company with a key focus on organisational culture and hard work. She was named QBR Business Woman of the Year, Retail in 2006, received the 2014 EY Entrepreneur of the Year award for the industry category, Northern region and was inducted into the Businesswoman’s Hall of Fame in 2016.
One of Australia’s most successful tech entrepreneurs, Steve Baxter opened the proceedings by stating that at as a society, we “need people more hungry for success”, because the idea of being an overnight success is “bullshit”. He emphasised that the journey of an entrepreneur or startup is always different and difficult.
Podcast extraordinaire Chris Titley went on to introduce the mystery entrepreneur, Maxine Horne and facilitate discussions around her personal and professional past, giving the audience privileged and candid access to one of Queensland’s entrepreneurial heroes.Hard work was certainly the evening’s theme, “work-life balance is rubbish, it’s work life fusion!” Maxine emphasised. She reiterated Steve’s welcoming notes by stating “the harder I work, the luckier I get” and that “being an entrepreneur is not always as glamorous as it seems”.
Customer service has played a major role in Vita Group’s success, and plays an even more important role in today’s competitive environment “especially with Omni channel” she noted.
Corporate culture has also been critical to the company’s success. Vita Group recruits on values and culture-fit. Maxine suggested that as the business grew and she couldn’t physically be in each location, she introduced people into the business with similar values to herself and people who wanted to invest themselves in the business.
Maxine’s tips to today’s entrepreneurs are,
- Trust your gut
- Surround yourself with people who buy into your vision and that you trust
- Grow that (thick) skin, because you’ll need it
- Do it, but don’t think it is going to be easy
- Follow your passion and be tenacious
- You must love what you’re doing because if you do, you’ll find more passion
- At the end of the day, you’ve just got to do!
The pop-up series focuses on revealing a successful Queensland entrepreneur to a limited studio audience. Guests are none the wiser as to who is behind the curtain until the mystery entrepreneur is revealed on the evening, giving privileged and candid access to one of Queensland’s entrepreneurial heroes, unpacking their personal and professional past.
The Queensland Startup Precinct is run by Advance Queensland and provides,
- office space for emerging entrepreneurs and startups
- startup accelerator and incubator programs with River City Labs as a key tenant
- connections with CSIRO’s Data61 as a foundation partner
- investor and venture capital presence
- international ‘soft landing’ space
- space for startups to engage with customers and investors
- space for co-working and events.