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Part Filipino Melanie Perkins now Australia’s third-richest woman

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By Dwight Baloloy 

CEO and co-founder of Canva, Melanie Perkins, has been hailed as the third richest woman and youngest billionaire in Australia at the age of 32. Perkins was born in Perth to an Australian mother and Malaysian father of Filipino and Sri-Lankan descent. 

At the age of 14, Perkins began selling scarves from home, and then in her late teens, started to create yearbooks. Fusion Books is now one of the largest yearbook publishers in Australia, which has expanded to New Zealand and France.

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Perkins co-founded the multi-billion dollar online digital graphics platform, Canva in 2013, which has recently surged up to a total value of $8.77 billion, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald. A contributor to the valuation increase is said to be the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to increased engagement and online consumers worldwide.

Perkins’ achievements and victories were not an overnight success, as she regularly shares in interviews that it took her three years before being able to secure an investor for Canva, namely a California multi-venture capitalist named Bill Tai. Perkins was granted a $1.4 million grant from the Australian government matching her first round of funding that enabled her company to move from Perth to Sydney. 

From her recent interview with 60 Minutes Australia, Perkins explained that “once you’ve found a problem that you want to solve passionately, there’s going be so many barriers, [and] every single barrier you can possibly imagine, [and if you have] a crystal clear picture of the problem you want to solve that’s sort of Step 1”. Perkins believes that the secret to success is hard work and determination to win what she refers to as “anyone’s game.”

Perkins’ passion for entrepreneurship has influenced her business to expand not just within Australia but also globally such as Japan and other countries. Canva has also set up an office in Makati, Philippines while penetrating the global digital market.


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