AT age 26, and with limited skills in IT, Patrick Ng, the founder of telecommunications carrier Global Dial, saw an opportunity to create his own business.
In 1994, after only three years working in BankWest’s graduate program, Mr Ng established Internet service provider Global Web.
Setting up shop with only $5,000 in savings, Mr Ng enlisted a tech-savvy neighbour as his partner and worked two jobs, seven days a week and 18 hours a day.
The partner sold his share of the business in the first year but Mr Ng persisted, selling residential real estate in Perth’s expensive Western suburbs on the weekends to feed the business and keep it cash positive.
After four years the company began to grow quickly, thanks to the technology it had developed to provide cheap long-distance calls and phone cards sold through company’s nationwide, 3000-strong distributor network.
The company was able to raise capital through institutional investors, with the tech bust ironically working in the company’s favour.
“We raised a bit of capital in the boom days, however after the bust there was more opportunities because prior there was a lot of hype,” Mr Ng said.
Mr Ng later bought back the equity he sold in the company and now he and his wife, Joanne Salim, who is the company’s finance director own 80 per cent of the business.
In 1999, the business, now Global Dial, entered the corporate market and firmly established a market niche by providing telecommunications to corporate clients at a much cheaper rate than was available from the major carriers.
By 2000 Global Dial had expanded, establishing a presence in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane with revenues that had started to almost double each year.
Today the company is a fully licensed telecommunications carrier in Australia and Singapore that specialises in Internet, data, voice and mobile services. Global Dial has also entered a joint venture in China with plans to further expand internationally to countries such as New Zealand.
Global Dial concentrates predominantly in the corporate arena with clients including Westpac Banking Corporation and the Nine Network, but also offers voice services to the residential market.
Mr Ng said the company was now ready to launch a mobile gaming and gambling division that could be worth up to $A200 million in the first three years.
“We’ve got a lot of new projects on the go,” he said.
Global Dial was ranked 10th on Business Review Weekly’s Fast 100, with 162.72 per cent growth and a revenue of $5.3 million for 2002-03.
BRW Fast 100 recognises Australia’s fastest growing small and medium enterprises and the people behind them.
Mr Ng is a WA Business News 40under40 winner. The company remains based in Perth, where it maintains a call centre.
- Alison Birrane