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Business bursts with life

FROM a simple sprout production set-up in a Bullsbrook backyard, Leanne Wesche has expanded her home-based business into a multi-million dollar export company.

The Sprout Factory currently controls 85 per cent of the local sprout market, produces around 100,000 punnets a week and exports to Singapore, Malaysia and is planning to break into the United Arab Emirates market in the near future.

When Mrs Wesche bought the home-based business with her husband in 1996 it had been established for nine years and had nine product lines.

Today The Sprout Factory has about 50 product lines, including alfalfa, sprouted broccoli, snow pea shoots, sunflower shoots, sprouted beans, sun-dried tomatoes and capsicums, roasted seeds, and a range of croutons.

Mrs Wesche said she was attracted to the joint package of house and business.

“It was also attractive because we had a small baby; we could do child minding at the same time as checking sprouts,” she said.

The company quickly grew out of its 100 square metre backyard shed and relocated to its current 2000sq m premises in Hamilton Hill in 1998. 

Mrs Wesche said accessing funding was an integral part of expanding the business.

“There is a wide scope of funding grants out there for small business if you know where to get it,” she said.

“Getting out and networking is vital.  When you are working from home it can be isolating and a lot of problems seem to be related only to you, but when you talk to other business, even if it is not the same area, you realise they are the problems that all businesses have.”

The Sprout Factory’s expansion into the business of export was pre-empted by a best potential export award at the 1997 West Australian Foodfest.

Other awards on the mantelpiece include the 2000 Fremantle Business Awards Business of the Year and Business with less than 50 Employees gongs. The company has also been a finalist in the Prime Minister’s Access Awards and won the Food Centre’s Most Nutritional Product Award.

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