From Coffs Harbour to Forbes Magazine’s ‘One to Watch’

4 years ago | by

Jess Wilson

Karangi local Jess Wilson is an entrepreneur who has taken herself from paddock party-planner to being named as Forbes Magazine’s ‘one of 1,000 entrepreneurs under 30 to change the world in 50 years’ through her shopping app – despite being told she ‘didn’t have it in her’ to have a career in the fashion industry.

She will be the keynote speaker at the biggest Startup Coffs Coast event series to date – which begins with Jess’s address at C.ex Coffs Harbour on July 24.

“I am so excited to be sharing my experience and key learnings at Startup Coffs Coast! Coffs Harbour is where my entrepreneurial journey started so it’s a great full circle to come back to talk all things startups,” she said.

“I started my first business in Coffs Harbour when I was 16, just over 10 years ago now – so it’s exciting to come back after building a business and working all around the world to share skills which can be applied from any laptop anywhere in the world to start a startup.

“I’m a big believer that it doesn’t matter where you come from, you have the world at your feet if you have a high-speed wifi connection.”

Jess began her first business at 16 years old – running formal after-parties for students on the farmland she grew up on. This helped her save enough money to put herself through her first year of university. Deciding uni wasn’t for her, she embarked on a journey working with some of the world’s biggest fashion brands and went on to create her international shopping app ‘Stashd’.

The app came third on The Next Unicorn, a reality TV show in China with a similar format to Shark Tank and viewership of more than 15 million every night. Jess, due to her successes, has been pinned by Forbes as one of 1,000 entrepreneurs under 30 to change the world in 50 years, as well as named in Smart Company’s ‘30 Under 30’ three times.

“Jess is such an inspirational person – particularly for Coffs Coast locals,” said Fiona Barden, Council’s Section Leader, Industry & Destination Development.

“Council, through its 6 Degrees initiative, aims to ignite passion for innovation, in addition to supporting local entrepreneurs. Having a speaker like Jess Wilson who has made it to the very top at such a young age with just her own determination shows what people can achieve – wherever they are.”

This year’s Startup Coffs Coast will take on a different style with a series of free events over a six week period, all hosted at C.ex Coffs Harbour:

  • July 24 – Jess Wilson Keynote Address. Register for this free event here –
  • July 25 – Entrepreneur Workshop with Jess Wilson.
  • July 31 – Ideation Workshop. This workshop is designed to get everyone’s creative juices flowing and help them define their innovative idea before entering the Pitch Competition.
  • August 7 – A dedicated learning workshop series. Participants can register for one of three expert workshops. The topics are: Intellectual Property for Startups, Strategies for App Development – from Idea to launch, and Introductory eCommerce Bootcamp.
  • August 28 – The final event will see entrepreneurs display their business ideas in StartUp Alley and others take to the stage to ‘pitch’ for cash and other prizes.

Potential ‘pitchers’ are invited to submit their entries before August 16 to be in the running for selection to pitch at the event. The finalists will be competing for prizes including cash, entrepreneurship training, business advisory sessions, and memberships to local and national organisations. The prize pool is worth up to $20,000 and will put the two winners on a structured entrepreneurial pathway. The audience can also check out a display of up and coming businesses ideas and innovations, and chat with the local entrepreneurs behind these exciting businesses.

For more information about StartUp Coffs Coast 2019 and free registration for the events, please visit

If you would like to become a sponsor or participate in StartUp Alley, email 6 Degrees at

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