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October 29, 2020

Pioneers of progress

It’s time to put our money where our mouth is when it comes to opportunities for young leaders, according to Carmen Garcia, the CEO of Community Corporate and the Convenor of the 40 Under 40 Alumni network.

  • Words: Carmen Garcia
  • Pictures: Jessica Clark

Every political leader in SA, I have ever met recognises the importance of keeping our best and brightest young leaders in our state.


Join the South Australia 40 Under 40 group on LinkedIn to have your say on how the state can rekindle its progressive nature.

“We want to give young leaders a reason to stay,” they say. But what are they doing really?

Have we set ambitious targets to integrate young entrepreneurs around the real decision-making tables? I’d have to say no, especially after recently learning that the median age of state government board appointments is over sixty years. 

Despite this disturbing statistic, there is no need to fear because our future is in safe hands. We now have some 120 young business leaders and entrepreneurs in our InDaily 40 Under 40 Alumni, who are not waiting for a tap on the shoulder, they are already accomplished and ambitiously getting on with business to help future proof our state.

It’s easy to bias the word ‘young’, so let me be clear: the young entrepreneurs I’m talking about in our Alumni, already lead multi-million dollar companies in a range of industries from Tech to Agriculture and everything in between.

They are driving global groundbreaking discoveries, exporting goods and services overseas and collectively are the makers of thousands of jobs – all while being parents, volunteers at the local footy club and community members.

Our entrepreneurs, innovators and business savvy young people have one key characteristic in common: courage.

This courage fuels our appetite not only for taking risks but our resilience and resourcefulness to succeed. These young leaders will play a pivotal role in jump starting our  economy, creating jobs and reclaiming South Australia’s title as the progressive state.

It’s so easy to forget our state’s track record of being progressive. From recognising women’s right to vote and to stand for election back in 1894, to the first Australian capital city to be connected by telegraph with London in 1872, to championing recycling in 1977 with the first 10 cent refund, to building a world-class arts culture, our history points to progress – but does our future?

Shining the spotlight on our young entrepreneurs through the InDaily 40 Under 40 Awards is about rewarding this collective courage and harnessing these brilliant minds to play an even greater role in making South Australia progressive once again.

What stands in our way is our decision-makers are somewhat risk-averse and show reluctance to back our local businesses first, often waiting to see the appetite in eastern states before they buy-in. And it’s disheartening. We have the solutions here, so why wait for someone else to say it’s a good idea.

I want to see greater support and backing for local businesses to lead from the front – we want to be pioneers not followers. We are progressive.

It’s been an absolute pleasure to help create this ecosystem of support for our Alumni, to ensure we make the most of the abundance of talent on our doorstep.

Now in our recovery from COVID-19 there is no time for complacency, we cannot afford to waste any opportunity. We must look to our history of embracing progress and continue to challenge conventional thinking, lead change and have a seat at the table to influence the conversation about a better future in South Australia for all of us.

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