Whilst being in my “mid 40s” doesn’t put me beyond the young business owner tag, I am enjoying seeing people in their 20s and 30s coming through as the business leaders of the future. It takes us in a new direction and brings to life ideas that can help with local innovation and ultimately, job creation.
Kyle Brown is one of those dedicating themselves to continuing our pedigree of strong, community-minded business owners. Let’s find out more about his various business ventures.
Kyle, unlike some I’ve interviewed in recent times, you’re a bona fide local. Tell us about life growing up in the Manning.
I loved growing up here. The ability to drive for no longer then 15 minutes and be at anything you could want, river, beaches, town for sport or school, up to Vincent’s Lookout; it truly is a magical place to grow up.
Your family is well known, with father Graham a well-respected accountant and community leader. Was there an expectation to follow him into the business?
There was never any pressure; through high school, I was always going to be an architect. But, I basically fell into a commerce degree and really enjoyed the accounting side of things, which does make sense. However, I also got a bit of my mum’s creative side, which has pushed me to look at the marketing side of businesses, as well as the accounting.
As a young business owner, how do you think business people your age do things differently?
Mainly technology. Our whole generation are early adopters of tech, because it’s been in our lives from the day we were born. There is also a real movement towards sustainable business, and not just environmentally.
It used to be a badge of honour to be working 60-hour weeks; whereas, these days business owners are searching more for that work/life balance – especially in my case, with a young family. I love my work, and could do it seven days a week, but there’s nothing better then coming home to a smiling 18-month-old waving from the deck. That doesn’t mean I won’t be replying to emails at 10pm once he’s asleep, but making sure we have plenty of quality time together in these early years is really important to us as a family. This is one of reasons we went into business and is a real driver of modern business.
Speaking of family, I remember Graham once saying he has to keep you busy on multiple projects. Do you think this is a generational thing, or just you as a person?
I think this may be a symptom of my last name. Dad has always been a tireless worker, no matter what he puts his mind to. And although in my teenage years I really tried to fight it and just sleep all day, I now embrace it and just look for more challenges to try and sink my teeth into.
UpBound is your company, but you seem to have many irons in the fire?
Yes, UpBound was born out of seeing local businesses miss out on competing because of a lack of knowledge or access to technology, so it never really started as a company with one service offering. Basically, our clients come to us with problems and we find ways to solve them, whether it’s in the form of a website, social media, designing internal processes or just being there to talk them through the trouble they might be facing. That was how we landed on the UpSpace idea.
Yes, tell us more about UpSpace, which I believe has been in the works for some time.
True; this has been a real labour of love. Co-working is expanding across the globe, and with the help of a few other businessmen and women, we dreamed up a way to allow people who might have city offices to be able to escape to the country life and still access all the facilities they need – whether that be for a day while they are on holidays, or for a few months to see if they should make the move permanently. I really need to thank them for taking the risk on me; without people like Ray and Judy supporting new and different ideas like this to get off the ground, we’d be staying still as a community.
Well said. So, away from the office, where do we see you and the family?
Everywhere! We try to get out and experience as much as we can of our local area. Winter with the shorter days is mainly focused on organised sport, but in summer we love the beach and boating on the river. And most Saturdays or Sundays, I’ll be dragged to local cafés for breakfast. Sport is a real passion of mine though, and I’m keen to turn my attention to developing it in the local area for the next few years.
For you, what is the best part about being in business in the Manning?
The opportunity. Our proximity to major centres, while still being a stone’s throw from hugely popular tourist spots. We have access to the best broadband in Australia and the costs to start a business here as opposed to Sydney are truly laughable; it’s so cheap. Many businesses these days are focusing on global customers, so their base can be anywhere. Why you would pick anywhere but the Manning Valley is beyond me! My two minute commute to work (from an “outer suburb”) doesn’t hurt either.