Dr Jana Matthews and Brad Feld

Australian Centre for Business Growth Attracts Donation from Notable American Venture Capitalist

The Centre for Business Growth at the University of South Australia’s Business School today announced it has changed its name to the Australian Centre for Business Growth and has received a charitable donation of US$100,000 from Brad Feld, Managing Director of the Foundry Group, and co-founder of Techstars. UniSA Pro-Vice Chancellor for Business and Law Professor Marie Wilson said the name change represents a move from startup to scale-up for the Centre.

“In 2014, we launched the Centre for Business Growth with the goal of providing the knowledge, skills and tools required to unlock the growth potential of a vital segment of Australia’s economy. Since then the Centre has worked with more than 250 CEOs and executives of small and medium enterprises (5 – 200 employees) and has helped them achieve significant growth,” she said.

“We’ve had increasing interest in our programs from state governments and CEOs across Australia. Given the fact that we’ve now worked with companies from every state and territory, we decided to acknowledge reality: we are the Australian Centre for Business Growth.” Dr. Jana Matthews, international expert on entrepreneurial leadership and business growth, was selected as the Founding Director of the Centre. The Centre receives funding from national corporations such as Foundation Partner, ANZ, who offer their business customers the chance to participate in the ANZ Business Growth program delivered by the Centre, and Corporate Sponsors, such as Kain Lawyers. Several State Governments are providing funding for programs to enable more small and medium companies to grow in their respective states. In addition, the Centre accepts fees from companies who participate in its programs and gifts from individual donors. It recently received $100,000 (US), its largest gift to date, from the Anchor Point Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Brad Feld and Amy Bachelor.

Since 2014, the Centre has grown from three full time staff to 12, and engages with 10 Growth Experts who have successfully started, grown and exited their own companies to help deliver its programs. The Centre’s programs include one-day Growth Clinics for CEOs, and the nine-month long Growth Modules which consists of three, three-day modules spaced three months apart. One of the first companies, Munro Group, to graduate from the Centre’s Business Growth Programs has experienced three years of massive growth; its latest acquisition makes it the largest player in Australia’s $3 billion footwear industry.

When asked why he donated to a Centre outside the United States, Brad Feld said, “When I met Jana Matthews in the mid-1990s, she was on the founding team of the Kauffman Foundation’s Centre for Entrepreneurial Leadership, and I was at MIT. She asked me to work with her as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence and help her develop Learning Programs for High Growth Entrepreneurs. We developed some of the concepts that now form the foundation of the programs being delivered by the Australian Centre for Business Growth. I have been watching Jana for several years, and know that her vision is to build a Centre that can have the same impact on Australia that the Kauffman Foundation has had on the USA. Last year Jana and the Centre hosted me for a week in Adelaide, and I had a chance to see, first-hand, the impact of the programs she has developed.” he said.

“Techstars has demonstrated that a small investment in teaching startup founders how to successfully start and run an early-stage company can have a massive impact on their survival and success. By the same token, the Australian Centre for Business Growth is demonstrating that a small investment in the leaders of small and medium companies with growth potential can have a huge impact on their growth trajectory. Amy and I hope our contribution will enable Jana and her team to continue to design, develop and deliver new programs that will enable even more of Australia’s CEOs and executives to grow.”

ENDS

Media Contacts:

University of South Australia Kicker Communications, Pru Turnell Mobile: 0404 512 691 Email: pru@kickercomms.com

About the Australian Centre for Business Growth at UniSA

The Australian Centre for Business Growth at the University of South Australia’s Business School delivers world-class business growth programs that provide executives with the knowledge and skills they need to develop as leaders, accelerate company growth and compete in a global marketplace. Our programs teach executives how to lead and manage growth via diagnostics, expert presentations, facilitated group discussions, peer-to-peer learning and action planning. For more info: www.centreforbusinessgrowth.com

Media Release

3rd August 2017