A life dedicated to entrepreneurial ventures, and inspiring Bundaberg students to do the same, has secured the 2020 Hinkler Innovation Award for Jamie Olsen.
A familiar name in Bundaberg, the Olsen family has called the region home since the mid-1880s and have been responsible for the establishment of a number of local businesses.
Jamie followed the example set by his forebears, establishing boutique advisory firm CMB Capital.
As managing director Jamie advises start-up companies, mentors young entrepreneurs and grows businesses from concept to multimillion-dollar success stories.
Despite his national success, Jamie said he was driven to give back to his hometown and former school Kepnock State High School by his true passion – education.
He established the Ingenium Bursary for Kepnock students to inspire them to innovate and develop their own creative ideas.
The bursary was this year extended to all year levels.
“The program was to drive entrepreneurship and that entrepreneurial spirit,” Jamie said.
“I've spent most of my career working in venture capital.
“I guess I'm an entrepreneur, in a way and I know that entrepreneurs don't always fit neatly in boxes.
“Values like creativity and people who are innovative, they don't necessarily manifest in school marks or results on the sporting field.”
He said entrepreneurs had “that special X factor” which he had become adept at identifying.
“That comes from having invested in 15 companies and working with small companies to very large companies, and really being able to identify those agents of change within a business, or those people that are trying to transform an industry.”
Junior Hinkler Innovation Award
The inaugural Junior Hinkler Innovation Award was presented to the St Luke’s Anglican School Year 12 Conrad Spirit of Innovation Team, Murray Macpherson, Tyler De Been, Zain Aslam, and Aiman Rahman.
The team invented and designed the floating hydroponic farming system Lifeboat to solve poverty, starvation and food deficit problems experienced by many developing nations.
Awarded an innovation patent in early 2020, the World Health Organisation and Red Cross Australia have both been engaged and have shown early interest in the project.
Jamie said supporting local students to develop their ideas was essential.
“What young people can produce, when given the support, and the skills is just world class and outstanding, and that's what we need to support.”
He said after listening to the students and the speakers at the Hinkler Innovation Series event it was clear that Bert Hinkler’s pioneering spirit was alive and well in the region.
“When I talk to other not-for-profits around the country who are focused on regional Australia or rural areas, it is very clear Bundaberg is at the forefront of driving a lot of this change,” he said.
“We have some natural advantages here in agriculture and the liveability of the region.
“The hub that's being built for the AgTech sector is obviously a great start for that particular industry.
“I've got some plans of my own around other areas where I think Bundaberg has some natural advantages.
“It is just so inspiring to listen to what's happening in the town and in the region.
“I think we've got a lot to look forward to in the future.”
- Other news: Read about last year's Hinkler Innovation Award winners, Greensill Farming Group