Going from strength to strength

FAMILY Business Australia (FBA) is a national member-based organisation in its fourth year of operation in WA.

FBA national chairman Jason Lea (of Darrell Lea Chocolates) believes that “feeling passion when you work in a family business is easy, communicating that passion to others is infectious, but developing that passion into a future is more challenging”. 

This comment shapes two of FBA’s key objectives – to provide targeted family business learning to assist family businesses plan for the future, and secondly to facilitate opportunities for them to achieve personal, family and business goals. 

Up to 80 per cent of all businesses in Australia are family owned and operated. And they employ more than half the nation’s workforce. Given the contribution family businesses make to WA’s economy, life and culture, the Family Business Awards were specifically designed to give family businesses an opportunity to be recognised, rewarded and celebrated. 

The awards program in WA had humble beginnings in 2001, with a handful of entrants and just one sponsor.

The first winners took to the podium at an awards night held in a small hotel function room with about 60 guests. The entrants in that first year showed great excitement at their involvement in the awards and the winners were delighted at their success. With almost 200 guests attending the 2003 gala awards night, it’s obvious the program has grown in popularity to become the benchmark for other FBA award programs around Australia. 

Those who attended the gala awards night on July 16 will no doubt agree that the stage area at His Majesty’s Theatre was a most unique and fitting venue to celebrate the success of this year’s award winners. Guests were treated to a classical music trio on arrival, gourmet platters of delicacies and superb Western Australian wine, which continued throughout the night. 

Once our convivial MC, Tina Altieri, had welcomed everyone on to the stage, another highlight was revealed – the most spectacular ‘Phantom’ performance by young WA opera singers Rechelle Carter and Vincent Hooper, who dazzled guests from the stalls and then joined them on stage for their final performance.   

As far as WA family businesses were concerned it was truly their night of nights.

 Working on the awards program with the committed team at WA Business News has meant that FBA WA has been able to rapidly grow the program to new and almost dizzying heights.

The contribution and participation of all the major and strategic alliance partners involved to date has been pivotal to the program’s outstanding success.

However, the question remains … where to for the FBA Awards in 2004? 

You won’t want to miss it, so keep your eyes open for impressive WA family businesses and watch this space.


Kate Gorce-Macham is the executive officer, Western Australia Chapter, of Family Business Australia

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