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40 Under 40 winner of the day: Sasha Baranikov

People

In the days when SAFM’s Black Thunders ruled the streets of Adelaide, Sasha Baranikov began her career working in Promotions & Events for Southern Cross Austereo.

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She then spent almost four years in sales and marketing at Imagination Games, before starting Uniti Wireless with Che Metcalfe in November 2014.

Positioning itself as a disruptive alternative to the NBN, the fixed broadband provider has grown from a tiny start-up to a company with 60 staff providing independent wireless broadband connections to residents and businesses across Adelaide and Melbourne.

Baranikov was named a winner in InDaily’s inaugural 40 Under 40 Awards in June.

The 33-year-old also won the Inspiring Disruptor Award, presented by Underwood Executive.

Fresh from her accolades, we asked Baranikov some more about doing business in South Australia.

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

Loyalty. South Aussies are very loyal, especially our customers. If you give them a great product or experience they will back you and spread the word for you.

It’s also a great place to seed and test ideas away from the spotlight of the eastern states. South Australia is an affordable place to operate a business, which is something I think many people might take for granted, as well as it being easy to get places. Then there’s the wine regions, the beautiful hills, beaches and an event culture that helps you enjoy life outside of business too. Hmm, maybe we shouldn’t let people know… shhhh!

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

Access to capital. There are limited funds available to support SA businesses achieve their full potential. The majority of our investment has come from interstate and we’ve found the mindset here less open to disruption and less willing to challenge the status quo. South Australians seem more risk-averse, or maybe they just prefer to back things that are already winning or that they understand.

Do you see your future in South Australia?

Absolutely. Our headquarters will stay in SA if we continue to get the support we need to flourish as a fast growth company with a national focus. The Future Jobs Grant, initiated by the government last year, will go towards helping support that. We’ve got a really strong team headquartered here that we want to continue to develop and grow in Adelaide.

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

Invest in innovation, so the jobs of tomorrow are available here and help to attract investors who have the capital to accelerate good ideas.

I think it also really starts from a young age, and having schools and tertiary education create programs that really help young people learn how to create and grow businesses. We also need programs that have substance and are practical, because practical experience beats the pants off textbooks in this arena.

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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