Sydney leads Australia’s most promising female-led, high-growth companies

Four promising Sydney business leaders are among eight women selected to participate in a prestigious accelerator program that targets the nation’s brightest and best female entrepreneurs.

The four high-growth women-led Sydney-based businesses were selected by a unique Springboard Enterprises USA and Springboard Enterprises Australia trans-pacific process involving a committee of investors and entrepreneurs.

The program is designed to provide access to investment opportunities, strategic partnerships and a personal advisory board.

The four Sydney entrepreneurs are:

  • Melanie Perkins CEO Canva;
  • Natasha Rawlings CEO and co-founder StreetHawk;
  • Deborah Noller CEO Switch Automation; and
  • Vanessa Wilson CEO and founder Triplebackup.

“The fact that Sydney companies comprise 50 per cent of the inaugural Australia Springboard Australia 2013 program is evidence that there is a tipping point for entrepreneurism in the city,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“There is a new energy in Sydney and we at the City are committed to attract entrepreneurs into the life of the city centre.  We also recognise the business community of Sydney needs to build a cooperative ecosystem for entrepreneurs if it is to look to the businesses of the future that will keep our city, and indeed our whole economy, strong and prosperous.”

Springboard Enterprises Australia Chairman Wendy Simpson said she wanted Australian businesswomen to have a ‘best-in-class’ business opportunity.

“My idea of bringing Springboard Enterprises to Australia was that I wanted clever, game-changing and innovative businesswomen to get access to world-class resources they need to grow big, without having to leave home,” Wendy Simpson said.

These women-led companies will be introduced and have access to the finest resources Sydney has to offer and now have access to a global network of innovators, investors and influencers.

As patron sponsor of the Springboard program, the City will also work with Springboard Enterprises to co-develop a range of local and trans-pacific events to help match Sydney entrepreneurs with resources, experts and business opportunities.

“We know the City of Sydney can help stimulate greater inclusion by supporting programs which nurture, develop and promote emerging entrepreneurs and to be involved with helping to cultivate the next generation of women business leaders and supporting Springboard is an opportunity the City couldn’t miss,” City of Sydney CEO Monica Barone said.

Springboard Enterprises Chairman Kay Koplovitz said the City of Sydney’s support helps achieve a global entrepreneurship network that involves women entrepreneurs of Australia.

“Without the backing and assistance of visionary Australians who instantly see the value of female business leaders, we wouldn’t be able to launch in Sydney,” Kay Koplovitz said.

Springboard Enterprises is a global non-profit where innovators, investors, and influencers meet to build women-led businesses into global companies. Since 2000, Springboard Enterprises has worked with more than 500 women-led companies that have raised nearly $6 billion in financing.  The companies in the Springboard portfolio, operating on six continents, generate several billion dollars annually and have created thousands of employment opportunities.


For more information contact Jo Wathen, City of Sydney Media and Communications, 02 9265 9582 or email

For more information about  Springboard Enterprises Australia, please contact Karen Paterson Boson Group 0414 464 256



The four Sydney entrepreneurs are:

Melanie Perkins CEO Canva

Surry Hills NSW

About Canva

Canva is a disruptive online design platform which allows anyone with an idea or concept to create professional quality designs. Canva will be launching in mid-2013.

About Melanie Perkins

At 25, Melanie is already a serial entrepreneur who raised one of Australia’s largest early stage VC fundraises after pitching the concept of Canva to venture capitalists and angels in Silicon Valley and Australia. At 19, Melanie founded Fusion Books, an online design system for schools to create their yearbooks. This is now the biggest yearbook company in Australia and has expanded to France and New Zealand.


Vanessa Wilson CEO & Co-founder Triplebackup

Sydney NSW

About Triplebackup

Triplebackup is the first scalable online disk-image backup service with virtual failover and free local backup. Post-disaster SMBs can rebuild their server in hours not days, work in minutes on a copy of their server in the cloud (virtual failover), and can recover files from their backup in seconds. The incremental backup is < 1/10th of others, so Triplebackup can protect office located servers better than any competitor. Triplebackup protects office located, virtual & cloud servers plus workstations, laptops and Windows 8 tablets.

About Vanessa Wilson

Vanessa is an experienced corporate lawyer with an LLB & B Juris from the University of Western Australia. She has over 15 years of sales experience, including 10 years in start-ups creating and introducing new services and products into the market. Most recently Vanessa was the second sales hire in Australia for ESI International, a large USA company. Vanessa opened the NZ market and re-started the Australian market, designing and implementing the strategy, sales & marketing. She helped turn the business from a loss to more than $3 million a year, and consistently sold more than $1 million each year herself. She managed a national sales team and acquired many top A/NZ companies.


Natasha Rawlings CEO & Co-founder StreetHawk

Sydney NSW

About StreetHawk

StreetHawk is a total self-serve location-based marketing solution for retailers and brands, allowing them to drive business where it counts most – in-store.  StreetHawk drives footfall by sending personalised, targeted messaging to shoppers when they are around stores. From shopper selection, to campaign ‘set-and-forget’, set-up and real-time campaign performance, StreetHawk has it covered.

About Natasha Rawlings

Natasha Rawlings is a direct marketing specialist who has held the top marketing positions in a number of the world’s largest direct marketing companies including Harlequin Mills & Boon, International Masters Publishers, Guthy-Renker and News Corporation. Natasha is a big data specialist, who has used her consumer direct knowledge and data to manage and launch hundreds of products in her career, all with full P&L responsibility. Natasha has been on the executive steering committee of three organisations and aims to revolutionise the shopping world by providing easy tools to retailers to acquire, keep and optimise customers, profitably.


Deborah Noller CEO Switch Automation

Sydney NSW

About Switch Automation

Switch Automation is a market leading provider of building automation and energy management solutions for commercial, industrial and residential property markets. We lead the field delivering our software as a service platform through a flexible and scalable cloud-based global framework powered by Microsoft’s “Azure” infrastructure. Switch provides energy management for commercial and residential property with a combined value of more than $3B in Australia, Asia and New Zealand.

About Deb Noller

Deb has managed the growth of Switch Automation from its inception in 2005 to present. She has a bachelor of Commerce with a Computing major so is adept in both business and technology. Deb has a deep understanding of the Green Building market that Switch is entering into and is skilled at sales and business relationships. She understands the growth and scalability challenges of taking a platform with a small team and limited resources to the global market.