Sunday, June 08, 2008

Why I Remain a New England New Stater 11 - capturing local talent

Note to readers: This post is one in a series using personal examples to illustrate why I continue to support both agitation for New England self-government and self-government itself. Agitation, because its very existence forces forces the Sydney Government to consider New England interests. Self-government, because there are some things that we cannot achieve without this.

In the middle of 1987 we established a national consulting business in Armidale. We grew rapidly to a million dollars fees base with major international and national clients. Then we were forced to close in the 1990-92 recessions when our fees collapsed.

Many things contributed to the business closure, including our own business inexperience. But we were not the only business to go.

Over the mid-eighties Armidale saw a number of business starts. At their peak, the collective group employed more than 100 professionals. With rare exceptions, Petals was one, all those businesses closed, were sold and relocated, or relocated themselves.

In our case, we struggled with the conservatism of the Australian marketplace.

Government was a major revenue source in our field. Yet in every case, State Governments favoured businesses located in the respective state capitals.

There were many reasons for this, proximity being a major one. The practical effect was that we had to compete against major national and international firms for that slice of the Government market place not locked up by local capital city firms. Compete we did, but our pockets were simply not as deep when it came to loss leaders.

Would we have benefited had there been a New England Government? Yes, clearly we would, because then we would have had the local advantage.

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