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40 Under 40 winner of the day: Chris Hooper


As a teenager, young entrepreneur Chris Hooper knew he needed to study accounting in order to successfully run his own business later in life. Hooper worked with a local accounting firm while at uni and started his first accounting business in 2011. He now runs global market network company Accodex. The 31-year old was last month named a winner in the inaugural InDaily 40 Under 40 Awards.

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“I knew that I was always going to be in business for myself one way or another and I learnt very quickly that without understanding the language of business, which is money and accounting, it’s very difficult to be successful,” Hooper said.

“I started Accodex company in 2015 basically as a spin-off from my old accounting practice and effectively my old firm Cirillo Hooper & Company became the first customer of Accodex in terms of the services we provide to accounts in the network.”

Hooper now has customers in Australia, the United States, UK and South East Asia.

We caught up with the young entrepreneur to ask him some more about doing business in South Australia.

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

With a laptop and an internet connection, I could pretty much run my business from anywhere. I choose to do it from here because it’s a pretty low-cost place to do international business and the lifestyle is amazing, particularly if you have kids.  We have low crime, low traffic, good hospitals and good schools.

Lifestyle is a huge consideration – I travel the world a lot with work and I think you would find that most people elsewhere would kill to live somewhere like Adelaide.

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

The travelling distance from Adelaide to almost any major global city outside of Australia is probably the biggest weakness of this city. If you look at it on the map, it’s not a great time zone and geographically to get to all these economic hubs globally you’re up for at least an eight-hour flight no matter which way you go. But those are small prices to pay in the bigger scheme of things in order to do business in a city like this.

If you look at the number of public companies with headquarters in Adelaide relative to the entire Australian Stock Exchange it becomes abundantly clear that there’s not a huge amount of upside in terms of those big businesses but all that did for me was confirm for me the need to operate globally from Adelaide.

Do you see your future in South Australia?

Yes, I have a baby son now. I couldn’t think of anywhere better to raise him.

A couple of years ago I was seriously considering moving to Denver, Colorado, because it is right in the middle of the United States, which is our biggest potential market. But after travelling around the United States with my wife, she concluded that it’s better at home, in terms of the schools, the hospitals and the lifestyle. So I think I owe it to my son to make things work here but at the same time I am not chained to Adelaide so if it is necessary for whatever reason, I can just pack up and move. I have chosen to set up an office here in Adelaide so that’s what we are doing. 

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

Don’t try to convince them to stay. Send them out to the world and encourage them to come back.

Perhaps we could do this by keeping in touch with ex-pats and then the sales pitch should be around the lifestyle thing. I think it’s probably cheaper and easier to let them go and then wait for them to come back rather than trying to keep them here.

There’s a myriad of factors in terms of creating an environment that’s conducive to staying. You’re not going to build a Silicon Valley in Adelaide just on the sheer basis of time zones, proximity to economic hubs and all of those other factors. It is much cheaper to say go, get an education, we’re always going to be here and by the time you have kids, you’ll probably want them to grow up in the same neighbourhood you did. I’ve tried to compare it with every other city in the world I’ve been to and there’s not one that I could say with confidence that I would gladly pack everything up and start a new life there.

It’s just a matter of being patient and maybe periodically reminding people of what’s been happening and what they’re missing would be a good idea.

I’m excited about what’s happening in medical research and energy and space but with all of those things, it’s way too early to tell if they’re going to create the economic environment that will be conducive to staying in the first instance.

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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