Role & Organisation: CEO, Founder of oceanfarmr
What was your first job?
Delivery boy for the local chemist – I was 13 and was paid $20 for three hours of riding around town delivering prescriptions. I did this three days a week until I left for university. In the end I would drive an old Land Rover instead of ride the bike. It ended up becoming almost a false economy but I did enjoy it.
When did you know you wanted to start your own business?
In 2004 – I had completed a Marine Science degree at Wollongong University and was working on shrimp and fish farms. One day my father asked me to go oyster farming with him – I though it was a good idea – oysters being truly sustainable, growing in commercial quantities naturally and not needing to be fed or treated.
I was 24 and remember thinking that one day I would like to work for myself, so why wait here is my opportunity!
When did you first discover the concept of Impact Investing?
One of the challenges of growing an aquaculture business is that traditional banks won’t recognise the leases as security. After a decade of mortgaging the family home to grow my business I was looking for innovative solutions.
Impact investors have since supported the growth of the Oyster Farm as well as our online oyster store and more recently an ocean farming software platform – oceanfarmr.
What’s one exciting development you and your team have in the pipeline?
To use farm practice data to finance stock and equipment on oyster, mussels and seaweed farms. To enable growth capital to flow to the best farms and the best farmers on a global scale.
What’s the most interesting development in the Ocean-Economy space you’ve come across in the past 12 months?
In US they are kicking off nutrient trading schemes – paying oyster farmers for the service of removing nitrogen from waterways. The impact will be significant. Increasing revenues for the watermen who’s farming regenerates the waterways. It will accelerate farm production. Improve the environment as well as the lives and livelihoods of the farmers.
Name one high impact company (globally) that other founders and investors should keep their eye on?
Keep an eye on us! oceanfarmr – we grow the farms that will change the world.
What’s your vision for social enterprise in 5 years time?
My vision is that social enterprise becomes the norm – businesses that put people at the centre are much more resilient..and great places to work!