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More than software with Agrimaster

AGRIMASTER could be considered the quiet achiever of Western Australian business.

Started by WA farmer Kent Egerton-Warburton as a part-time agriculture software development project 18 years ago, Agrimaster is now part of a development, training and consulting company that includes 50 per cent of WA farmers among its 4000 nationwide client base.

Mr Egerton-Warburton’s son David and daughter-in-law Natalie own a 50 per cent share of the company and have decided this is the year to trumpet Agrimaster’s success, and so have nominated the company in this year’s Family Business Awards.

Mr Egerton-Warburton said the success of the company was that it offered clients more than just software to include training, consulting and continuing software.

“In some ways people would compare us to MYOB, Quickbooks, but we don’t want to just sell software,” David Egerton-Warburton said.

“People don’t get anything out of just purchasing software. We train people and spend time to teach them what the program can achieve ... training sells software.”

David and Natalie Egerton-Warburton be-gan their involvement in the company after Natalie was made redundant from her employer, Challenge Bank, in 1997.

“I saw it as an opportunity. Working at the bank I saw quite a need for effective cashbook set ups,” Ms Egerton-Warburton said.

“People were taking greater control of their finances and when the GST came in people made a big change; they had to do something.”

Ms Egerton-Warburton began working with her father-in-law on the software development and decided to start a separate company, Rural Software Support, to provide technical computer training to support Kent Egerton-Warburton’s soft-ware.

David Egerton-Warburton decided to leave full-time management of the family farm in 2000 after increasing demand for both his father’s software and his wife’s training services, which was largely stimulated by the GST.

“After the GST the business went mad because cash booking became really important,” David Egerton-Warburton said.

“I came into the business in March 2000. We changed the name to Newdew and bought a mobile computer lab. It had 10 lap tops and a data projector and everything needed to train people.

“In the space of a year our client base grew from 80 to 800.”

At that time the training, software and distribution were all operating under different companies so, at the start of 2002, the Egerton-Warburtons decided to amalgamate the companies under the Agrimaster name.

“We decided the way the software was being distributed wasn’t in line with what it should be so we merged the software and training together,” David Egerton-Warburton said.

The family-operated business is currently in the process of signing accredited consultants across the country.

Nominations for the Family Business Awards close on August 15 and the winners, who will compete in the national award program, will be announced on September 12.

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