Creative Entrepreneurs

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30th Aug 2010

6:00pm - 8:30pm

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The Tilbury Hotel

12 - 18 Nicholson Street
Woolloomooloo NSW 2011

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    Meet the minds behind some of Australia's most successful start-ups at our August Networx event and discover which marketing tactics helped get their brand noticed by investors, consumers and the media.

    Our speakers will share their inspirational journey and offer plenty of tips to spark creativity and innovation within your team, covering topics such as:

    • What works when marketing an entrepreneur or new brand
    • What business editors really look for a story idea
    • Developing and implementing creative strategies
    • Low cost marketing ideas that deliver
    • Challenges and opportunities in the online space

    Our panel of speakers includes:

    Australia's leading personal trainer, Michelle Bridges, who has gone from training a select handful to thousands all around Australia with her 12WBT online fitness program, which will shortly enter its third round.

    Dirk Spence, who created one of the country's most successful home lifestyle retail franchises, Howards Storage World, which is now open in 11 countries worldwide.

    Young gun, Kath Purkis who created the online fashion retailer, Le Black Book at the age of 21. Le Black Book is the only online retailer in Australia to offer a comprehensive online shopping experience that includes an online magazine and daily blog.

    Noted business journalist and best selling author, Morris Kaplan. Morris pens a regular column for The Australian and Nett Magazine, covering topics such as up-and-coming entrepreneurs, start-ups and business success.

    Join us at The Tilbury Hotel on Monday 30 August from 6:00pm. Tickets are $60, which includes a complimentary drink on arrival, canapés and the chance to win a fabulous lucky door prize!

    Book online today and enjoy an entertaining evening with plenty of networking opportunities and expert advice.


    The Sydney Networx team.

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Here’s a sneaky peek at the speakers for this event.

Michelle Bridges

Michelle Bridges

Personal Trainer and Author

Michelle Bridges is not only a household name with the Australian TV viewing public, but also in the fitness industry. She spent many years working for Les Mills Asia Pacific as a trainer of fitness instructors and represented Australia in the world figure shaping championships in the late nineties, and has won accolades and awards including the coveted Fitness Leader of the Year in 2004.

Her reputation as a tough trainer is paralleled by her own training where she is well known for putting herself through grueling weights and fitness sessions. In 2001, she set herself a goal to use this experience to take her positive message of exercise and nutrition to as many people as she could, and set about tirelessly badgering newspapers and magazines to publish her articles. In 2002 she got a break and conceived, wrote and performed fitness segments for Mornings with Kerri Anne on TCN Nine.

After four months of auditioning and endless screen and consumer testing, she was offered the part of the red team trainer in Channel Ten's ratings blockbuster The Biggest Loser in 2006. She is the author of 'Crunch Time', published by Penguin, and is an ambassador for the RSPCA and the National Heart Foundation.

When she isn't filming, Michelle tours Australia talking to corporations, schools and audiences inspiring people to get their lives back through healthy eating and regular exercise. She also runs a successful online fitness program, the 12 Week Body Transformation, which is designed to make weight loss accessible to more Australians - no matter where they live or how old they are. For more information, please visit

Dirk Spence

Dirk Spence

Co-Founder and CEO, Howards Storage World

Dirk Spence was born in Hemel Hempstead, England and migrated to Australia permanently with his family when he was 17. Residing in Sydney, he completed studies in Surveying although he never worked in the field. Instead, he assisted in a tiling business, obtained his licence and set up his own successful tiling business at 21.

At the age of 25, Dirk began a sales role in his brother in law's new import business and married Janet. The couple moved to Perth, Western Australia to set up a subsidiary of the import company, returning to Sydney a year later as the company's national sales manager.

His role involved travelling to international Hardware Fairs and it was during an event in Cologne, Germany that Dirk first met Les Howard, the operator of 'Stack and Store' in the Sydney suburb of Northbridge. Dirk was familiar with the successful store, and recognised potential in the retail concept which was unique in Australia and worldwide.

Enlisting the support of a franchise expert, a franchise model was established for Howards Storage World in 1997 and the first store opened in 1998. The business grew quickly - from the size of the stores, the range of products and the scale of the business. Les and Dirk took on a third business partner, Alex Dobrin, in 2001.

Today, there are more than 60 Howards Storage World stores throughout Australia, with a further 100 stores planned to open by 2015. The franchisor began expanding internationally in 2005 first into Singapore, then the Middle East and now Europe.  There are currently 18 Howards Storage World stores around the world, with more than 1,000 planned to roll out within the next 10 years in 10 regional territories. For more information, please visit

Kath Purkis

Kath Purkis

Founder and Director, Le Black Book and Noir Shop

Kath is the director of Le Black Book, Australia's luxury online shopping experience which she founded at age 21. Kath created Le Black Book to cater to time poor women of the world - inspiring them and forecasting fashion trends at the click of a mouse. Kath is very passionate about technology, creating her own mobile application in which customers can now shop directly from their mobile phones. At 23, Kath decided to make the most of the recession and enter into the lucrative middle market with Noir Shop - Australia's answer to Top Shop.

Le Black Book is the only online retailer in Australia to offer a comprehensive online shopping experience - with mediums such as a online magazine, Le Magazine, Le Black Book TV, Editor's notes and a daily blog. Le Black Book has received editorial in publications such as Vogue Australia, Cleo, Oyster and Dynamic Business Magazine to name a few. Le Magazine has an international cult following of fashion savvy consumers.

Kath has branded the two businesses with a global market in mind and sells Australian designers to the most obscure countries in the world. Kath is very passionate about building her global customer base and engaging with customers on a personal level. For more information, please visit

Morris Kaplan

Morris Kaplan

Journalist and Author

Former stockbroker, Morris Kaplan is a contributor for The Australian and Nett Magazine. He has turned his years of experience as entrepreneur and journalist to helping other entrepreneurs and business owners cross over the "valley of death" that challenges many start-ups and growth companies.

He brings his insight and wisdom and a canny understanding of how to attract capital and media attention. He is author of several books and provides content services though his media company Rainmaker Media.

You can also follow Morris' latest articles for The Australian here.

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