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40 Under 40 winner of the day: Jo Schneider

Business

Jo Schneider wants to standardise, systemise and improve the performance of local and international universities.

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Schneider combines an engineering background and passion for education and leveraging technology to work with organisations in the academic sector.

She is the chief executive officer and co-founder of DVE Solutions: a consultancy firm offering expert advice for institutions in higher education in Australia, New Zealand and around the world.

The consultancy firm offers project management, business process improvement, team performance, and reviews and implementation programs to aid the growth of these organisations.

DVE Solutions has worked with more than half of Australia’s universities since the company was founded in 2007.

Schneider has helped DVE Solutions “change education from the inside out”.

She has won a swag of awards for her work, including the South Australian Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year award in 2014. DEV Solutions was listed in Anthill’s Top 100 Coolest Companies in Australia in 2014.

In June, Schneider was named in InDaily’s 40 Under 40, which recognises the best and brightest young business people in South Australia.

What is the single most important lesson you have learnt in your business career so far?

The most important thing I have learnt is that the people around you make all the difference. With the right people, you can achieve so much but even one wrong person in a team can impact the progress of the entire business.

Whether celebrating successes or working through challenges, when the team has the right skills and attitudes, the difference is incredible.

What do you believe are the strengths of doing business in South Australia?

South Australia has many positives. Starting and continuing a business is relatively affordable compared to other states. There is a strong startup community and entrepreneurial culture and community which is very supportive. It’s so easy to connect with other businesses and everyone genuinely wants everyone to succeed. The lifestyle in South Australia is incomparable so maintaining a healthy life balance is much easier.

What do you believe are the weak points of conducting business in South Australia?

The bigger businesses and bigger budgets are all in the eastern states. That, combined with the larger markets in those areas, means that doing and growing business is easier there.

Also in South Australia, the lack of funding for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) means unless you fit certain criteria you are basically left on your own to grow your business.

Do you see your future in South Australia? 

I have seriously considered moving to Sydney multiple times but I always end up staying in South Australia. The lifestyle and community are so beneficial, and with technology and travel, I have no problems operating my business here with the majority of my staff and clients in other states.

How can the state encourage more of its young leaders to stay?

I think that the opportunities that present themselves in the other states and internationally are probably not going to be able to be replicated here – so don’t try to compete with this. If this means that for a period of time young leaders leave to get experience, let them, but then encourage them to return and bring that experience back to South Australia.

There is a lot of support for startups in this state, but some additional support and incentive for growing SMEs (outside of so-called “growth sectors”) would make it a lot easier to justify staying and maintaining a base here.

To see the full list of 40 winners, go here.

InDaily is profiling each of the winners – go here to read more.

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