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Local small businesses feature in govt report

WESTERN Australian small businesses. Wild Child and Tradition Stained Glass. were two of the companies showcased in the federal government’s latest Encouraging Enterprise report on small business. The annual report, which highlighted the ways in which the government has improved the operating environment for the country’s 1.88 million small businesses, recognised the significant contribution of small business to the Australian economy. According to the report, small business represents 96 per cent of all businesses in Australia, employs almost 3.7 million people and accounts for almost half of private sector employment. Government workplace reforms, including the exemption from unfair dismissal laws for business with less than 100 employees, alternative dispute resolution, and simpler Australian Workplace Agreements, have improved workplace flexibility, the report says. Other initiatives mentioned include the introduction of the $837 million Skills for the Future package to ease this pressure and increase the supply of skilled labour into small business, and the Office of Small Business’s contribution to industry policy development through key market reforms. Leanne Preston’s Wild Child has grown since its inception in 1997 to now boast more than 20 product lines as part of its natural health care range for children. Available in more than 5,000 pharmacies across Australia, Wild Child Products are also exported to Europe, the US, New Zealand, Japan, and Malaysia. Tradition Stained Glass, a Fremantle-based business owned and operated by master art glass craftsman Kim Fitzpatrick, known for his work commissioned for the WA government, has also experienced export success. Through Austrade’s Hong Kong office, Mr Fitzpatrick landed his first commission to provide screens for the VVIP (very, very important people room) at the Hotel Lisboa in Macau. The company is also eyeing potential business in Las Vegas. The two companies were featured in the report as case studies highlighting growth success stories of a number of small businesses across a range of themes, from exporting to innovation and entrepreneurialism. Federal Small Business and Tourism Minister Fran Bailey launched the report at Wild Child’s corporate head office in Perth. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of employing small businesses grew by 31.7 per cent between June 2003 and June 2006, with the addition of 84,907 new actively trading small business established in that period.

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