Kate Mills Reporter

Kate monitors the social and economic dynamics that drive business. She has been a financial and business journalist for 17 years in Australia and the United Kingdom, working on publications including CFO, ALB (Australian and Asian editions), Investor Weekly and Legal Business in the UK.

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Matt Barrie: BRW Entrepreneur of the year.

Published 30 March 2011 14:59, Updated 05 April 2011 10:45

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Freelancer.com chief executive Matt Barrie has been named the inaugural BRW Entrepreneur of the Year for 2011 in a process that began late in 2010 with a call for entries through the BRW magazine and website.

Freelancer.com is a marketplace for services and is far and away Australia’s most successful website globally, having just reached a milestone of 1 million completed projects.

Businesses post work to the website that can be outsourced, such as web development, transcription and graphic design. Freelancers from around the world bid for the work. The customer then compares the bids and selects a vendor.

Nearly 100 entrepreneurs responded and they were whittle down to seven finalists. Ultimately Barrie pulled ahead of his counterparts based on his tenacity and depth of knowledge about his company and the market more broadly.

The judges’ focus on innovative business practices ensured that technology companies were well represented among the finalists, whose use of technology in all cases was highly sophisticated and provided them with an essential edge.

Barrie won in part on the confidence of his assertion that the freelancer.com website would change the world but also on his ability to move from the big picture, the size of the global outsourcing market, to the micro-details regarding the website’s operations. The clincher, however, was the fact that Barrie’s ambition was so nakedly global, he’s not focusing on a market of 20 million people in Australia, he’s chasing 6 billion people across the globe.