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Success sprouts for organic business

AN organic sprout producer is this year’s State winner of the Telstra Small Business Awards.

South Fremantle-based company The Sprout Factory grows and distributes organic sprouts and took home $15,000 on Tuesday night for its business achievements.

Dieter and Leanne Wesche bought the company in 1997 and have since turned a $120,000 profit into $2.5 million, securing 70 per cent share of the retail market in the process.

Ms Wesche said it has been an exciting few years for the company, during which time they had acquired two competitors and entered the export market.

“We started to export in September 2001 to Singapore and we are now developing the Indonesian and Malaysian markets,” Ms Wesche said.

The company has won several awards over the years and Ms Wesche said the time, effort and team building put into submissions were well worth it.

“It’s good for profile but it’s a really good team building experience. We hired suits for everyone and we booked a limousine to take us [to the awards]. Week to week these guys are normal factory workers. They all participated in putting the submission together,” Ms Wesche said.

The Sprout Factory also won the MYOB Business Owner Award.

Also winning a category was South West Audiology and Hearing Services, which took home the Commonwealth Government Micro-Business Award.

Celebrating its 10-year anniversary this month, the company has had an impressive year at the winner’s podium.

Director and senior audiologist Suzanne Strapp was awarded a WA Business News 40under40 Award earlier this year and is a finalist for this year’s Women in Business Awards.

Her company also won this year’s South West Business Award for Region Service.

Ms Strapp said receiving business awards provided a mechanism to test her business across a broad range of industries.

“For us it has been good to benchmark the business against other industries. We’re basically seeing how well we are going compared to other industries. The hearing industry is very small and it makes it difficult to know how the company is performing,” she said.

“It reinforces our position in the community and shows that a good quality business can exist in Bunbury.”

Other winners from the 22 finalists included The Miami Bakehouse and Imaging The South, which will join The Sprout Factory and South West Audiology in the national Telstra and Australian Governments’ Small Business Awards to be announced on August 16.

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