23 September 2020

Member Innovation – Duncan Burck of MCB Business Partners

Holly Stringer

Meet Duncan Burck of MCB Business Partners

Duncan Burck is an entrepreneur and innovator, with a wealth of business knowledge that has taken him around the world and back again. He began MCB Business Partners in 2017.

The success of MCB Business Partners comes down to Duncan’s ability to make lasting connections as well as help other businesses overcome challenges and find unique opportunities.

Duncan is now one of our biggest supporters and a founding member, so we sat him down to talk about his career highs and the reasons why he loves working at Dashworks in beautiful Lake Macquarie.

Tell us about MCB and how the business began?

I started working as an Independent Business Consultant in 2000. Over the next 12 years, I worked on a wide variety of projects and businesses around the globe before needing to take a break!

In 2012 I landed a five-year role in the Hunter region that I thought would help me to learn and connect with the local business community. I knew that I’d get back to working for myself one day, so near the end of the contract, I began the process of setting up MCB Business Partners.

I wasn’t sure what we were going to be doing when we started, but thankfully we survived the start-up phase and are travelling along nicely now.

We hear you’re a jack-of-all-trades, what would you say is your greatest strength?

I had a client answer this for me recently; Duncan, she said, ‘you are really resourceful’.

Over the first 12 years of my business journey, there were a lot of times that the work just needed to be done and the resources, be they human or capital, weren’t available. I just had to work it out and make it happen!

This problem-solving attitude is a key part of our evolving company culture and it is something that our clients respond to; coming back to us time and time again with more projects.

What’s the most interesting job you’ve ever had (other than your current role)

In 2005 one of the projects I was developing was picked up by a former Wall Street bank partner.

For the next six years, I worked with the team that he pulled together which included other former bankers and a leading agronomy team from South America to build a biofuel farming business.

Most of my time was spent travelling to hot countries around the equator for research and project investment. Later on, I was part of the management team running Brazilian farming operations; the experiences and lessons I learnt back then were priceless.

We know you’re all about digital transformation, what advice can you give businesses looking to improve their digital integrations and connectivity? 

I’m a big fan of design thinking so starting with the user experience should always be the first step of any transformation, not just digital. Once you have this clear picture of who you are serving you are ready to jump into the next phase of what the technology solution might look like.

My advice is to get to know your users, and when you are developing the solutions, keep them involved.

You also run programs on business innovation. What does innovation mean to you? 

In a business sense, innovation can be anywhere. It could be how you engage your customers, how you manage your workflow, it could even be your approach to strategic planning; there are no limitations on where innovation can happen in a business.

The key for me, is the journey a business goes through to truly understand innovation. I help them dive in to find opportunities for real innovation that will drive growth – it’s fun to watch and be part of!

You’re an amazing networker, how have you continued to grow your connections during COVID?

Amazing networker might be a bit of an overreach! Other than spending a little more time on working my Linked In presence and activity, I haven’t really been worrying too much about making new connections. Currently, we have a great group of clients with an array of projects underway that keeps us busy.

You’re heavily involved in integrating STEM programs into schools, why do you think this is important for our future generations? And what cool projects are you working on?

I’m going to borrow a quote from my colleague, STEM ambassador and comedian Adam Spencer, who borrowed from someone else that is: ‘the pace of change has never been this fast before and the pace of change will never be this slow again, society is rocketing forward at such a pace and STEM is at the centre of it all’. At this point in time, we don’t have enough people with the STEM background and skills to meet our current future workforce requirements.

I work with the NSW Department of Education to help industry bring the application of STEM, particularly in an Australian context, into classrooms. This sees me working with leading Australian companies and tertiary education providers in the areas of advanced manufacturing, space industry, cybersecurity, food manufacturing, Agri-tech and defence.

On the other side of the project, I work closely with an innovative leader in the STEM education space collaborating on new industry programs which support teachers and students.

What do you do in your downtime? 

We have two kids aged seven and three as well as a dog, so downtime is family time. Away from family duties, I am also a director of a not-for-profit charity here in the Hunter.

Why did you choose to work from Dashworks? Has it been beneficial for your business?

Dashworks is close to home, the internet speeds are amazing and the people to learn from or share ideas with, are some of the best in the region. I have particularly enjoyed liaising with Trent Bagnall, Clint Bruin, Pierre Gouhier and Derek Lush to name a few. I highly recommend it; working from Dashworks has been great for me and my business.


MCB Business Partners empowers organisations to innovate, transform and take decisive action in the critical growth areas of their business. We are equipped with the knowledge, experience and tools to get up to speed quickly and we deliver results across vertical industries, not-for-profits, community and government organisations.


Are you a digital entrepreneur with a growth-mindset like Duncan? Are you looking for a community where your business can thrive in a dynamic regional location? Start your free 5-day trial at Dashworks now by registering your business here.