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Latrobe Local News:
Encouragement given to women to go into business

Industry observers predict that, within the next five years, over 70% of small businesses throughout Australia will be owned-operated by women.

By Latrobe City Council - 3rd April 2001 - Back to News

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With some industry observers predicting that, within the next five years, over 70% of small businesses throughout Australia will be owned-operated by women, it is little wonder then that Karen Mowat describes opening her own business as a ‘leap of faith’.

Karen is one of many women who have decided that owning and managing a small business is not necessarily just something that men do.

“Overseas research suggests that women may be achieving better survival rates than men, because they keep debts and overheads low, prepare more thoroughly before going into business, and are more likely to seek professional assistance,” Ms Mowat explained.

Karen owns and operates i-Support, specialising in computer and office administration support services to clients throughout the Latrobe City and Baw Baw Shire.

With over 20 years experience in this industry, Karen has brought a wealth of teaching and administration experience to her business which is based in the LEAD Centre Business Incubator, Newborough.

“People who have taken the big step of starting a small business, must be flexible in their thinking and approach to meet customer needs. They must do what they are best at doing and in my case, this was the provision of a range of services encompassing administrative services, bookkeeping, word processing, web pages and computer training,” Ms Mowat said.

As a way to seek greater job satisfaction or even as an alternative to unemployment, Karen says she offers encouragement to all women to consider operating a small business.

“In the last two years, I have achieved a high level of personal satisfaction and my business is developing to the point where now, I am enjoying the reward of repeat business.

“I have autonomy being my own boss, there are personal and business goals to be achieved and I am able to establish a flexible work pattern,” she added.

While full of praise and encouragement for more women to establish their own small businesses, Karen is also a strong advocate for first establishing a business in an incubator.

Drawing upon her own experience, Karen believes that the LEAD Centre gave her plenty of encouragement and guidance within an in-built support structure where she could draw on the experiences of other small business operators with similar goals, to achieve business stability and profitability.

According to Latrobe City Mayor, Cr Brendan Jenkins, the small business sector can only benefit from more local initiatives such as shown by Karen and her business, i-Support.

“A commitment to successfully organise and operate a small business will generate job and income growth, further encouraging others to do likewise,” Cr Jenkins said.

“The growth in small businesses is vital to the future of Latrobe, and as such, the LEAD Centre is providing a springboard for citizens to get into business, and manage those businesses in a sustainable way,” Cr Jenkins added.


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