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40 Under 40

A focus on the customer brings rewards

40 Under 40

These three newest members of InDaily’s 40 Under 40 alumni each have a focussed market view of their industries and how they can provide customers and audience with what they want… and need.

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Christopher Hoffmann
HEX / Co-founder

A glass of single-vineyard Barossa shiraz helped inspire Hoffman to leave his native California and move to Adelaide in 2013.

Since joining Australian-based HEX in 2017 as co-founder and chief growth officer, the 38-year-old entrepreneur has helped the award-winning ed-tech company deliver “seriously fun innovation programs for high school leavers, universities, corporates, and early-stage founders”.

The 14-strong HEX team has built bespoke technology and significant partnerships across the Asia Pacific, North America, and the United Kingdom, delivering services to more than 5000 students.

Hoffmann and the team’s innovation and resilience were put to the test when Australia’s border closed in 2020, cancelling a plan to fly students overseas and prompting actions that increased exports, global reach and company growth.

In late 2021, Hoffmann and HEX co-founder Jeanette Cheah raised $1.3m in seed investment to launch the ‘Innovation Gap Year’, in partnership with Atlassian, for high school leavers and university deferrers globally.

“With my own studies spanning multiple continents, I am deeply passionate about the value of global experiences in education and have dedicated my career to helping students see more of the world – both literally and virtually,” Hoffmann said.

Words to live by? Never stop learning.

Chris Martin
Hemp Clothing Australia / Founder

Despite suffering two near-death experiences, 34-year-old Martin has created change in South Australia’s hemp sector as a retail advocate and founder of fashion brand, Hemp Clothing Australia.

Hemp Clothing Australia supplies national and international stockists and retailers with quality clothing made from the sustainable material, spanning dresses, shirts, tees, pants and other trend-repellent staples.

Recently, Hemp Clothing Australia started helping schools across the country transition from synthetic-made uniforms to those made from hemp.

Martin said numerous school children’s mothers contacted him directly saying the switch “helped their children”.

“I mostly enjoy knowing school children using our products will be more comfortable at school, enhancing their productivity and learning outcomes as their uniforms no longer irritate them,” he said.

Aside from his business work, Chris is also a committee member of the Industrial Hemp Association of South Australia – an organisation that supported Greens MLC Tammy Franks’ 2017 legislative push allowing industrial hemp to be grown locally.

The entrepreneur estimates to have dedicated hundreds of unpaid hours promoting change for hemp, and voluntarily went broke “multiple times” starting his own business.

However, he would not change a thing.

“Setbacks make you stronger,” Martin said.

Best piece of advice you’ve been given? Ready. Fire. Aim. (Sometimes you’ve got to take a shot whether your aim is on target or not.)

Dre Ngatokorua
Umeewarra Aboriginal Media Association / Broadcaster

A broadcaster, DJ and journalist, the 25-year-old First Nations man is making waves in many areas.  

Living in Port Augusta, with a background in mentoring young people and working and presenting at Umeewarra Radio, Ngatokorua’s mission is to create opportunities for others living regionally who want to tell stories.

“From a young age, I have used my voice to speak up about issues that are important to me and my community,” he said.

Ngatokorua runs numerous radio programs, including the Straight Out Show and Umeewarra Downtown, plus the television program Umee NAIDOC TV, and sits on the board of First Nations Media Australia and the Community Media Training Organisation.

The Wangkangurru, Adnyamathanha, Cook Island and Maori man also mixes music under the moniker ‘MoZzi’, and has DJ’d for the Adelaide Fringe and the Art Gallery of South Australia with their youth-focussed Neo nights.

“I have always been on the front foot to get involved with community events, such as NAIDOC Week, and put my hand up to be involved in a range of projects,” Ngatokorua said.

“With the help of local businesses and organisations, we can help build the community to where we want to see it.”

What Adelaide restaurant do you know you’re guaranteed a good time in? Remy’s.

 

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