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40 Under 40 winner of the day: Noelle Smit


The founder of two successful startups, Noelle Smit is determined to inspire other women to embark on careers in technology. Smit co-founded tech startup Teamagage with her husband Ben in 2014 and this month was awarded the Graduate Certificate in Management prize at InDaily’s inaugural 40 Under 40 awards.

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Teamgage is a technology platform that aims to instil a culture of continuous improvement at all levels of an organisation from the most junior employee to the CEO. Since its launch, the software product has grown its customer base across five countries with clients including Microsoft, Oz Minerals, Bank of Queensland and Santos.

“I am most proud of the jobs we have created here in Adelaide in the technology sector – when Teamgage launched in 2016 we employed three people, Teamgage now employs 12 staff in Adelaide and we are currently recruiting three more,” Smit said.

The success of Teamgage followed an initial startup, Code 360, which included the development of an online student management system for universities. UniOne is currently used by 13 universities around Australia.

Smit is also an original member of HerTechPath – a community of South Australian women working in the technology sector that aims to inspire women and girls to consider careers in the technology sector.

The 34-year-old is also a keen netballer and is a life member of Adelaide University Netball Club, where she has served on the board for eight years and currently also serves on the Adelaide University Sport Board.

“There is a strong correlation between women’s success in sport and their success in business,” she said.

“As such, I volunteer my time in the pursuit of seeing more women play and stay in sport.”

Smit’s award was supported by the Australian Institute of Business.

We asked her some more about doing business in South Australia.

What do you believe are the strengths of doing business in South Australia?
The SA business community is smaller than some of our neighbouring cities, but this also means it is easier to become connected at any level. I have also found the community very supportive. Most people want to help and ask how they can.

Some of the constraints we experience here are actually part of our strength. We have to overcome more challenges to grow a business in South Australia but in doing so it makes you a stronger business. For instance, for most industries the local customer base is not large enough to sustain ongoing growth so from very early on we have to think about scaling geographically, exporting and being national and international. Otherwise (and in some other cities) you can build a significant business locally, which then creates challenges later when you try to scale but haven’t built business systems to support further growth.

What do you believe are the weak points of conducting business in South Australia?
As we haven’t yet had a critical mass of local success stories in technology there is a lack of experienced talent. We find incredibly smart and competent people, but struggle to find those with experience in enterprise software as a service, which globally is a significant industry.

Do you see your future in South Australia?
I hope so. I intend to stay here. I love SA, I was born here, have grown up here and while I love travelling I do enjoy coming home.

I also intend to grow a global software company and there are so few examples of that being done from here, because it is hard. It is hard doing that from anywhere and possibly harder from Adelaide, but I like challenges! I hope to be part of a group of new companies that grow globally from Adelaide and change this perception that it can’t be done from here.

How can the state encourage more of its young leaders to stay?
Most of the smart, talented young leaders I see who have left have done so chasing career opportunities. If you are ambitious there are very few jobs in Adelaide where you can climb high up the corporate ladder as the majority of corporate leadership positions in large companies are interstate or overseas. Similarly, there are very few successful new technology companies in South Australia, so if they want to work in tech they leave to work for the best tech companies or at least be part of larger tech communities. The best way to encourage them to stay is to create more opportunities here.

While it is not the government’s job to grow new business it can support those that do by:

More about 40 Under 40

An assessment panel representing the South Australian business community judged hundreds of nominees for the inaugural 40 Under 40 awards, which aim to identify and promote a new generation of local leaders under the age of 40.

The final 40 includes a hugely varied collection of South Australian talents, who are making a mark in fields such as health, technology, the media, property, social innovation, agriculture, finance, the law, and much more.

For the full list of 40 Under 40 winners go here.

40 Under 40 is an InDaily initiative supported by the following partners:

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