23 Year old entrepreneur first Aussie runner-up in JCI Awards in Japan

Tasmanian born Brad Smith, founder of mini motocross business ‘braaap’, has been named runner up in the prestigious JCI (Junior Chamber International) Creative Young Entrepreneur Award., which was announced in Osaka, Japan.

Bradley SmithSmith, just 23 years old, is the first Australian to reach finalist stage of the awards and said that he was inspired at the awards ceremony at the stories of other young entrepreneurs from around the globe.

“I was stoked to get this far, it’s a real honour to be named runner up and to be the first Australian to be a finalist in the awards,” Smith said after the ceremony.

The JCI (Junior Chamber International) Creative Young Entrepreneur Award was launched in 2005 and is designed to recognise outstanding young entrepreneurs. This award is administered by JCI in partnership with Flanders District of Creativity (FDC).

Entering the business world at the age of 16, Smith saved his pennies by trading the share market and completing odd jobs to start braaap out of his parent’s garage. Smith travelled to China at 18 to find his own suppliers and manufacturers to meet his needs and began importing product to Australia to sell.

Five years later, braaap has four stores across Victoria and Tasmania including one franchised operation. The business makes and imports about 2000 custom motocross bikes a year. Commenting on future plans Smith said “I’ve got a five year expansion map in place to open around 50 franchise stores across Australia, with the help of DC Strategy. I’ve also begun negotiations to enter the US market in early 2011.”

Smith is no new comer to awards, with many accolades under his belt including 2009 Young Entrepreneur of the Year, national winner of 2008 & 2009 Young Small Business Entrepreneur in the Small Business Champion Awards, 2009 Australian Business Awards Enterprise category, 2009 My Business Awards and the 2008 Pride of Australia medal finalist.

braaap is truly a family business with Smith employing his mother, father and sister in key roles – not bad for a business started by a 16 year old. Smith attributes his substantial success to date to the support from his parents. “My family weren’t well off by any means but they saw I had a passion and a vision and they put their necks on the line to make my dream happen. They’re now employed full time in the business and assist in various roles. I really do owe it to them that I have come this far. We’ve all rolled up the sleeves and put in lots of hard work to bring the business and brand to where it is today,” said Smith.

“My one piece of advice for anybody looking to start up their own business is that you need to be set on what you’re going to achieve with the end goal in mind, but be flexible in your approach,” concluded smith.

To find out more about braaap visit www.braaap.com.au