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Shannan Gove

How work experience led to one big business idea

Self-confessed sports nut Shannan Gove is happiest playing, watching or being involved in any sporting event, so a career in the industry was a natural decision. He was yet to choose a precise career path when he started a Bachelor of Commerce with major sequences in sport management and marketing at Deakin University, but his future direction soon became clear.

Beating old businesses with new tricks

The sporting event work experience he undertook proved to be the turning point. ‘A lot of Australia’s biggest events didn’t have a database of casual staff, yet students were crying out for this kind of experience,’ Shannan recalls. After recognising this gap the market, he ambitiously plotted to fill it and founded Event Workforce, which provides staffing solutions for the AFL, Cricket Australia, Tough Mudder, the Melbourne Marathon and many other major sporting and entertainment events.

‘People would write us off because we were young,’ Shannan says as he recounts the early steps he took with business partner Bennett Merriman. ‘The old folks in the industry said they didn’t need our help. That was motivation for us to take it on and prove that we could do it,’ he adds.

Not only could they do it, the pair used their digital native perspective to drastically improve old systems, working with software developers to create seamless new processes; quickly outsmarting their competitors. Shannan is quick to admit he’s no software expert, but he understood the importance of engaging the right people to produce the digital products that would make his business a market-leader. ‘It was the power of reaching out to people and combining our great ideas to develop something that worked really well,’ he explains.

People power

Shannan also knows that technology is only as good as the people operating it. He remembers helping out some businesses when he launched and today he’s still working with them. ‘The biggest lesson was to treat everyone the same no matter where they’re at in their career because you never know where they’ll pop up again. That’s how we have these large contracts today,’ he concludes. Not only has Shannan achieved an excellent employment outcome after completing his degree, he’s gone on to create excellent outcomes for students who’ve followed in his footsteps.

Want to work in sports management? Consider studying Deakin’s Bachelor of Business (Sport Management).

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