Darren Shirlaw is a highly sought after global speaker on business performance and the Co-Founder of Shirlaws Group, a portfolio of companies which specialise in advising private enterprise how to grow, fund or exit their business. Established in 1999, within a few years Shirlaws Group was number seven on the BWR Fast 100. Darren is integral to creating Shirlaws’ highly valued intellectual property and is central to developing the unique Shirlaws’ business model and the company’s strategic direction. In 2016, Darren semi-retired and now dedicates the majority of his time to working as an Ambassador to the Shirlaws Foundation, supporting people and their families in the private enterprise space, specifically for businesses who have revenues under $1 million.
Darren was born in Sydney and raised in Newcastle before joining the navy at 19. A self confessed “geek” at school, Darren has a passion for mathematics. A masters degree in finance saw him begin his career as a funds manager after he exited the military aged 25. During his finance career, Darren spoke to hundreds of CEOs and business executives each year, identifying which businesses to add to his investment portfolio. Darren recognised specific trends and recurring problems emerging at certain points of the business journey and identified where businesses were able to navigate the journey swiftly and effectively to manage growth. Darren’s talent for business saw an accountant friend refer him as a consultant. In just three months, Darren was managing a “full book” of clients and so left the funds management world and together with a colleague began Shirlaws Group. The organisation grew swiftly, generating a $6 million revenue between 1999 and 2003 and setting up in both the UK and the US in the same year. Shirlaws Group now has over 30 partners and operates in 12 cities around the world.
Darren lives in London with his wife and children.