Marcus Alexander's Journey from Retail to International Business Owner and Mentor

Marcus Alexander is one of ABV's skilled volunteers working with our Nauru program to build capacity of local small-medium businesses. Marcus has always had a talent for spotting opportunities, making him perfect to help small businesses in Nauru. He discovered his love for retail and business while working at Woolworths, eventually making his way up the ranks in management. From here, he moved into business-to-business sales, selling everything from baked beans, baby food, tools, and homewares. B2B sales led him to work for Kincrome, where he sold hardware to Bunnings, which sparked his obsession for DIY and ultimately led him to start his own business, Codu, a premium textiles company.

Marcus and his blankets in MYER

Marcus’ business beginnings in textiles began when he travelled to Ukraine for a friend's wedding. Knowing his love for all things DIY, his friend told him about the world's largest DIY store in Kyiv. Here, he discovered beautiful woollen blankets tucked into a back corner, and immediately, his brain started ticking over.

Marcus knew that the Australian market had a high demand for woollen products, so he took a risk and had six boxes sent back home to try his hand at selling them. The blankets were a hit. After testing the market more and seeing success, he expanded into cabinetry, still using Ukrainian small businesses as his suppliers, which has become an essential part of his mission.

In 2023, Marcus joined the Nauru Private Sector Development Roadmap program, part of a four-year partnership between ABV and the Nauru Chamber of Commerce (NCC).  He worked closely with NCC Business Hub Manager Jennifer Harris and fellow SBP Susan Goldie to facilitate the Your Enterprise Scheme (YES) workshop series with short-term accommodation providers in Nauru.

Volunteers Liane, Matt, Marcus and Susan delivering workshop virtually

The YES Program, a business skills training program for small businesses, has been tailored into a modular workshop series focusing on a range of business sectors in Nauru, aligning with the private sector development goals of the Roadmap. After the initial workshop training, Marcus and Susan provided one-on-one sessions for the participating short-term accommodation providers. Short-term accommodation is crucial for Nauru to host events like the Miss Pacific Island Pageant, for which Marcus was prepping the businesses. "There is such huge potential there, and I loved meeting such a diverse group of participants," said Marcus.

Marcus is passionate about the importance of collaboration and innovation in driving positive change. Just as his business has opened doors for small suppliers in Ukraine, he constantly seeks new ways to help others.

Marcus has these words of wisdom to leave us with, "Real leadership is when you see those you are mentoring blossom. Be there as that set of safe hands and see how much they flourish."

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