Australian agency Market Equity has been named as Western Australia's 'Small Business of the Year'. The independent MR company won the high-profile Telstra WA Small Business of the Year Award as well as the AMP Business Award for businesses with between 50 and 100 employees.
Market Equity, one of Australia's largest independent MR agencies, received the awards in Adelaide the weekend before last. The 2004 Telstra Small Business of the Year Awards are organised by the Aussie telecoms giant in association with the Australian Government, to showcase the success of Australia's best small businesses and to promote their achievements to the wider community. This is the first time a research company has won the award.
Founder Brent Stewart started the company in 1992, working from home, with Julie Beeck joining soon after and setting up a first office. Today Brent is the National Chairman & CEO and Beeck is MD of the Perth Office, with Julie Cole and Dean Harris the other Directors. Market Equity has more than 60 permanent employees, 2 new business units (Neo Knowledge and Spectre), and offices in Perth, Sydney, Adelaide, and Darwin.
The company has a flat management structure and invests considerable effort in recruiting, nurturing and retaining its people. Features include weekly continuous improvement sessions - where staff share knowledge on how they are currently servicing their clients and adding value and any problems are brainstormed for solutions - flexible working hours and funding for education (the company has 5 part-time consultants combining work and mothering), and an intensive induction program. It aims for a $100 million turnover in 10 years time.
Stewart says he is delighted with the honour: 'Much of this success can be attributed to our foundation business model - combining research and strategy to service what we perceived to be a gap in the market for commercially-oriented, results based information and advice. Market research continues to be an integral part of our business offering but we have always been much more than a market research company. By also providing marketing planning, market intelligence, data mining and knowledge management we have been able to provide a much broader value proposition to our client base along with more tangible and actionable outcomes'.