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24 year old creator of blockchain startup Sempo says it’s not all glamorous

The next generation of Australian business leaders are creating competitive companies that bridge market gaps and exceed consumer demands. Young entrepreneurs were recognised for their achievements and business contributions at the Young Hero Awards; an awards program dedicated to celebrating business leaders under thirty-five years old, presented by Commonwealth Bank. SBC’s editor, Alyssa Herr, and one of the Young Hero Awards judges sat down with each award winner to discover how these young entrepreneurs are shaping the future of Australia’s business landscape.

Tristian Cole, Co-Founder, Sempo

Age: 24
Hometown: Melbourne
Company HQ: Melbourne, VIC
Year company was founded: 2017
Award: Blockchain Award
Describe your business in one sentence: Sempo builds inclusive payment software for NGOs to run faster, more efficient cash transfer programs.
What does winning this award mean to you: Winning this award represents all the amazing work our team, partners and customers have contributed towards our mission to help all aid organisations, from grassroots to international, to increase their usage of cash transfers as a tool to alleviate suffering, provide dignity and ultimately increase long-term self-sufficiency.

Biggest misconceptions about being a young entrepreneur:

That it is glamorous. Yes, while it can be great to fly off to an exotic country to do business, or be intoxicating the first time your business earns revenue, the majority of entrepreneurship is a lot of early mornings, late nights and days full of hard work and sweat and tears. The journey will be lonely, it will be challenging and it (probably) won’t be a straight line to success. Once you reach “success” the curse of entrepreneurship is that it will never be enough.

Your proudest business moment:

Travelling to a remote island in Vanuatu and listening to the stories, challenges and insights of local communities. Anyone and everyone can teach you something new about life and business. Listening to how people have responded to challenges and been resilient in the face of adversity is really inspiring. It’s been a humbling experience to see Sempo’s software scale up to over 200,000 transactions in Vanuatu and millions of dollars of aid during COVID-19.

Coinspot presents the “Blockchain Award” at the Young Hero Awards at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.

Best advice you were given for successfully running a business:

Revenue is the lifeblood of a business. Make sure you’re paying attention to your expenses, your cash flow and your margins to ensure you can keep the lights on and grow.

What’s the most critical leadership skill you’ve learned:


Take personal responsibility and empower others. Ups and downs are inevitable in any business. Take personal responsibility for failures, they are yours to bear even if you weren’t involved. Empower and share successes with your team, even if you did all the work (because you never do it alone!).


Visit: withsempo.com

The Young Hero Awards was hosted at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne on May 17 and presented by Commonwealth Bank and sponsored by Optus, Coinspot, Blackmagic Design and Small Business Connections media.



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