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Business success all about the customer

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A successful global entrepreneur and chef who credits time spent in Australia with kick starting his business empire is heading to Sydney to share his recipe for creating profitable community enterprises.

Under the City of Sydney's visiting entrepreneur program, Vancouver-based restauranteur and tech entrepreneur Mark Brand will take part in a series of free talks, seminars and mentoring sessions from Monday 22 October to Wednesday 31 October.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the popular program supported local entrepreneurs looking to launch and grow successful international businesses.

"The visiting entrepreneur program gives our local startup community the opportunity to receive insights, expertise and guidance from skilled global entrepreneurs," the Lord Mayor said.

"Our latest program will shine a spotlight on businesses that are building sustainable and successful initiatives that are not only profitable, but also have a strong community focus.

"With a phenomenal 60 per cent growth in IT professionals over the last five years, Sydney is the undisputed tech startup capital of Australia.

"We're proud to host this program in in collaboration with more than 35 industry partners with and supported by the federal government to strengthen tech start-ups and maintain our position as an innovative and prosperous city."

Ahead of his Sydney appearance, Mr Brand said the nine years he spent living in Melbourne from 1995 working as a dishwasher, cook, barman and DJ helped shape his global empire.

"Australia gave me my entrepreneurial start and I'm very excited to give back in every way I can," Mr Brand said.

"I learned how it was really done - that everything was about the customer. The customer is the single most important piece of the puzzle and the way you made them feel would make or break your business. I still attribute my success in part to one summer spent working for a Greek taverna in Lorne, Victoria."

Among his many successes, Mr Brand has launched The Token Program to feed and clothe those in need that has helped more than 100,000 people. His Vancouver's Save on Meats butcher and diner supports the local community with affordable food and training programs.

He has also launched a global digital platform, Positive Access Link, which allows people working and living in disadvantaged communities to record their needs in real time.

Mr Brand says the rise of the social impact economy was "driven by generations who have had enough".

"This revolution in business is now a necessity. If we don't double down on impact and work to blend it with good business and capital, we won't have a planet to operate on. It also feels amazing to get up and do good every day."

Mr Brand will feature at a number of events as part of the City of Sydney's October visiting entrepreneur program:

Launch Event: From Success to Significance with Mark Brand and Holly Ransom
Monday 22 October, Sydney Startup Hub

Pitch For Good Sydney: The Future of Food
Tuesday 23 October - applications close

How Blockchain will Transform the Future with Joseph Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum and Mark Pesce
Tuesday 23 October, UTS Business School

The Next Generation of Viranganas - Bridging the Gap Between the Australian & Indian Women's Start-up Communities
Thursday 25 October, Juanita Nielsen Community Centre

Student Startup Festival
Thursday 25 October, Juanita Nielsen Community Centre

Design Thinking Masterclass with Mark Brand
Monday 29 October, Sydney Startup Hub

Regional NSW Tour: Wagga Wagga with Mark Brand
Tuesday 30 October, Wagga Wagga, NSW

Tech's Hottest Jobs of the Future
Tuesday 30 October, Customs House

The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur - in conversation with Mark Brand and Creel Price
Wednesday 31 October, Australian Technology Park

For more events, information and to book visit cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/vep

For media inquiries or images, contact Belinda Wallis.
Phone mobile 0467 810 160 or email bwallis@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Anusha Muller.
Phone 0408 494 545 or email amuller@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

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