40 Under 40: Recognition for South Australia’s young business leaders

The 40 Under 40 awards program celebrates the contributions of outstanding young entrepreneurs and changemakers living and working in SA.

Feb 28, 2024, updated Mar 06, 2024

Since its inception in 2018, the 40 Under 40 awards program has grown its audience to become a key business event in South Australia.

The program honours individuals who are shaping the landscape of business and innovation in the state, with nominations open now.

The 40 Under 40 distinction is reserved for individuals who demonstrate exceptional prowess and go above and beyond in their respective fields, embodying a spirit of innovation, resilience and forward-thinking that sets them apart.

Awards judge and senior InDaily journalist David Simmons said that by bringing attention to and highlighting the work of South Australians doing “brilliant things”, the event benefitted the state as a whole.

“Young people in South Australia regularly blow me away with what they’re able to achieve,” Simmons said.

“We’re not the best at backing ourselves here in SA and so many talented young people seem to be averse to attention, so the 40 Under 40 initiative is the perfect opportunity to showcase what we’re achieving now and working towards.”

Simmons said there other benefits too: “It’s a tough time undoubtedly for many industries and sectors, but a bit of optimism doesn’t go astray – I think the initiative contributes positively to the overall business climate in SA.”

As such, the state’s strength lies in having not only globally competitive industries, but also a large diversity of industries as highlighted by the 40 Under 40 alumni.

“Small businesses here contribute extensively to the state’s economic security – and the sheer diversity of those companies brings variety and excitement to the overall health of the state,” Simmons said.

“However, there’s an opportunity for SA to dominate with specialist industry expertise – be that in 21st-century manufacturing, wine, space, AI, biotech, or tech generally.

“In saying that, the most successful here – from my point of view and my experience reporting on South Australian businesses – are those that have found a niche and thrive within that.”

The awards program provides a wide-reaching platform for early and mid-career recognition, particularly for those working in start-ups, scale-ups and niche or emerging industries.

In addition to amplifying the professional and personal profiles of those recognised, the program also helps to foster connections via the well-regarded 40 Under 40 Alumni network.

Simmons does not believe the recognition will result in alumni outgrowing the state’s current or future opportunities.

“Though the ‘brain drain’ is certainly an issue for South Australia and one that should be addressed by offering incentives to keep our best and brightest here, it’s naive to assume business leaders will live here forever,” he said.

“There’s so much opportunity for South Australian businesses and their founders to branch out into export and build international firms.

“The 40 Under 40 alumni network and the overall quality of living here in SA is more than enough for some who know that this state is the best nationally in terms of work-life balance.

“If getting named in the 40 Under 40 means more opportunities for those that make it to the top of the pile and chances to take their entrepreneurial journey elsewhere, then Godspeed!

“Just remember South Australia and your peers here when you’re raising hundreds of millions in Silicon Valley!”

The 40 Under 40 awards program is presented by InDaily and CityMag and nominations are now open

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