Running your own business is challenging enough, but for young entrepreneur Trent Franklin, it is just one part of the equation. A managing director of Enrizen Insurance Solutions by day and vice-captain of the Australian waterpolo team by night, Trent pulls off a masterful juggling act, few can imagine.
Trent Franklin is founder and managing director of Sydney insurance company Enrizen. He’s also vice-captain of the national water polo team and has competed in two Olympic Games. All this and he’s not even 30 yet.
Mad on sport since his teens, Franklin knew a career as a professional water polo player wouldn’t see him out to retirement and always had business aspirations at the back of his mind. In 2003, already having represented his country on numerous occasions and with the Athens Olympics fast-approaching, he set up Enrizen with the goal of providing clients with the quality of cover and expertise they’d come to expect from a large international insurance brokerage, matched with the trusted service of a smaller, closer business partner. Having worked with some of the industry’s leading organisations prior to setting up on his own, Franklin has built a brokerage based on speed, efficiency and personalised service that delivers the best solutions to its clients, who range from micro businesses to blue chip companies.
Mixing business and sport
Juggling the two hasn’t been easy but Franklin has managed to transfer some of his sporting skills to the boardroom and vice versa. Dedication, hard work and taking pride in his performance are qualities he has applied equally to the office and the pool. When he was training for Beijing, Franklin would get up at 4.15am most mornings and head to the Olympic pool at Homebush. He’d then leave to get back to the North Sydney office at 7.30am and do a full day’s work before training again at 6.30pm.
As a youngster, Franklin never considered sport as a career. He didn’t really know what he wanted to do. “I wanted to be in the large shiny buildings of the corporate world but I wasn’t sure what doing,” he says. “Eventually I worked out that insurance broking and financial planning was my thing.”
When he started playing water polo for Australia, Franklin quickly worked out that he had access to a niche networking opportunity that could also benefit his business career. “Water polo’s a bit like rugby used to be. Everyone helps each other out. Sportsmen are very competitive so I’ve found that a lot of the people I’ve played water polo with have ended up being property investors and merchant bankers. I’ve ended up doing business with a lot of people I know through sport. It’s like a little club. I also have a whole bunch of people who are my mentors and over the years I’ve gone to them and asked them what I needed to do.”
Franklin’s proudest moment in sport isn’t a difficult one. It doesn’t get much better than representing your country in the Olympics. Twice. But his proudest moment in business is a very different one. “I think it was when I realised I couldn’t do everything,” he says. “I’ve hired people who are good at what they do and these days I let myself take a step back and trust them to get on with it.”
Franklin’s team has grown from just him at the start, to 12 today. “Enrizen’s management team draws on decades of insurance and business experience, with a number of senior staff having worked at some of the world’s largest insurers at executive level,” he says. “Coupled with strong technical efficiencies by way of experienced operations staff, Enrizen ensures it maintains strict accordance to relevant legislation relating to insurance broking as it continues its growth.
“Key to the effective functioning of any insurance brokerage is its administrative and support personnel; an area where Enrizen is particularly strong. Our administrative team are at the forefront of our business, working with management and key account executives to support all aspects of client servicing, from quotation on insurance premiums through to claims management.”
His advice to SME owners when it comes to insurance? “Make sure you know what you’re paying for.” He adds: “Your insurance is only as good as its ability to pay.”
Just last month Franklin was one of eight inducted onto the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) Athletes’ Commission. All the members, including swimmer Libby Trickett and rower James Tomkins, were voted onto the Commission by their fellow Olympians at Beijing in August. This puts him on the board of the AOC, another experience which will no doubt prove valuable for his business career as well.
As for whether he thinks he’ll be part of the London 2012 Olympic team in four years’ time, he remains tight-lipped. But while his sporting career may have already peaked, his business career is only just taking off.
-Find out more about Enrizen Insurance solutions at www.enrizen.com.au
An impressive sporting career
A swimmer in his early years, Trent Franklin converted to water polo at the age of 15 proved. He began playing in 1994 while a student at St. Patrick’s College in Sydney. Since 1998, he has held a Sydney University sport scholarship and competed for the Sydney University Lions. In 2003, Franklin was awarded a Sydney University Blue and also earned a bronze medal at the World University Games. Franklin has also won National League titles with the Lions in 2002, 2003, and 2005. He led the league in scoring in 2004.
Franklin first represented Australia when he joined the national squad at the end of 1998, touring with the Sharks in 1999 and 2000. In 2001, he became a full-time member of the team and joined the starting line-up. Since 2005, Franklin has been vice-captain of the squad, filling in as captain for Sydney University Lions team mate Thomas Whalan when he is injured or competing in Europe.
His successful international debut was in 1999 at the World Junior Championships in Kuwait, where Australia won a silver medal. He was then selected to play in the 2002 Commonwealth Championship in England, where he won another silver medal. He also received an Australian Institute of Sport scholarship that year.
In 2006 he helped win gold at the Commonwealth Championship. The Sharks cruised through the tournament, going undefeated and outscoring their opponents 149-38 in eight matches. Later in the year, Franklin was the second highest goal scorer in the FINA World Leagues.
Although the Sharks started off the 2007 season with a disappointing 10th place finish at the FINA World Championship in Melbourne, Franklin and his squad rebounded by sweeping through the FINA World League Asia-Oceania Series in Shanghai, China. Going undefeated in the series, the Sharks earned the right to compete at the World League Super Finals in Berlin, Germany. Franklin was a consistent threat for the Sharks, scoring in four of Australia’s five matches in the series.
In 2008 he was part of the Australian team at the Beijing Olympic Games, which came eighth.