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Awards hint at new industries

A REMARKABLE string of awards won by businesses in the South West is providing an insight into the way commerce and service sectors could develop in the future.

By pooling resources and making judicious use of electronic communication, one-time modest country businesses are taking on some of their biggest metropolitan competition.

The significance of the South West in WA business is highlighted by the annual Telstra Small Business Awards. During the past four years, a region with 8 per cent of the WA’s population has picked up more than 30 per cent of the awards.

Last year, the Bunbury-based Lamac Group was elected as WA Small Business of the Year. Lamac follows in the footsteps of a range of small business winners – including pioneering engineering firms, tourist accommodation, a planner, canvas goods manufacturer and a piggery.

Leschenault Business Enterprise Centre manager Alison Lannin said there were three key factors in the spectacular growth of small businesses in the region.

These are the use of electronic commerce to improve the capacity of small businesses to break into markets outside their own regions, a cooperative approach to tendering and business development and a continuous improvement culture – taking advantage of government and business association support.

Other key issues include a strong relationship with major regional industries and the attractions of the ‘good life’ in the picturesque South West.

According to South West Development Commission industrial development adviser Bob Spence, smaller local firms supplying industry must also utilise world’s best practice in service technology and management.

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