2021 NSW Award
The NSW Entrepreneur of the Year was awarded to brother and sister team Jordan O'Reilly and Laura O'Reilly OAM. The presentation was held online on October 14, as part of Spark Festival. Jordan and Laura have cofounded both not-for-profit and profit-for-purpose businesses helping people with disabilities and their families manage their needs and support services. Over the last ten years, they have helped hundreds of thousands of people and proven that for-purpose business can have significant social impact.
Jamila Gordon, chair of the Pearcey NSW judging committee (and recipient of the 2020 NSW Award) said:
"Jordan and Laura have been selected as the recipients of the 2021 Pearcey NSW Entrepreneur of the Year Award due to the incredible impact their purpose-for-profit business Hireup has had on the Australian disability sector. Hireup has fundamentally changed the way that people with disability access support in the community. Through their inspirational leadership, Laura and Jordan are using technology to help create a new future for disability and a good life for all."
The NSW Pearcey Entrepreneur Award recognises NSW "mid career" entrepreneurs who have taken a risk, made a difference, and are an inspiration.
Jordan O'Reilly and Laura O'Reilly OAM
Jordan and Laura were inspired by their younger brother who had a disability and their parents who where determined to make the best of their family life.
In 2011 Jordan and Laura launched Fighting Chance, a not-for-profit organisation working to identify the challenges, hurdles and barriers faced by people with disability in their everyday lives. Today, Fighting Chance supports more than 1,000 people across Australia through the operation of its social enterprises, including Avenue and Jigsaw - supporting people with disability to work.
In 2015, Jordan and Laura, along with Murray Bunton, founded Hireup to build a platform to solve the problem of families trying to get adequate support for people with disabilities. The Hireup platform finds, connects and manages suitable disability support workers.
In 2018, Hireup was named a Google.org Impact Challenge winner, as well as taking out the top spot in Deloitte's 2017 Tech Fast 50 program.
Today, Hireup has grown into a community of over 150,000 registered users with the business facilitating more than 72,000 support connections, provided more than 9.3 million hours of support, and saved clients over $87 million in support funding.
On receiving the award, Jordan said he and Laura were both "surprised and humbled" but added that the recognition was "very powerful" for the disability sector as a whole.
"For Hireup and the work that we do to be recognised alongside these organisations is more than we ever expected. It sparks the interest of more investors to look at getting involved in businesses across the disability sector; it inspires other innovators and creative thinkers to join for-profit business, and amplifies the example of using technology to make meaningful, social change."
The event also included a University Pitching competition,. This event was won by Vidup - UNSW, with second place going to Pixii - Sydney University and third place to Lamynox - Newcastle University. Congratulations to all the pitching teams and their inspiring startups.
The Pearcey Foundation very much thanks the ACS, Macquarie Government and ASX for their support.