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Small business, big technologyWe usually think of cutting edge technology being the domain of the huge multinational electrical companies, but it’s really not true. Some Australian SMEs are doing great things in the tech space.

TheFARM (thefarmdigital.com.au) is a digital agency based in Surry Hills, Sydney.

Single-handedly started by Chris Pile, managing director and owner, in 2004, TheFARM has become one of Australia’s leading digital agencies. Very much believing in biting off more than he can chew, Chris has always had a penchant for saying yes.

Chris says his career highs include growing an amazing team, being named among BRW’s Fast Starters and working on award-winning campaigns for a wide range of high-profile clients including Air New Zealand, Lion Nathan, Virgin Mobile and Mitsubishi Motors Australia. Despite being an expert in his field and having achieved great success in a relatively short time, Chris is by no means resting on his laurels or showing signs of young gun arrogance.

Pronto Software

Pronto Software has its finger on the SME pulse.

For many growing SMEs, finding the right IT system can be a challenge as they outgrow existing systems such as MYOB or Excel and need to take the leap to an integrated IT system to help their business grow, which is what Pronto provides.

Its flagship software system, PRONTO-XI, essentially provides a technology platform for a company by linking key business functions including financials, sales, CRM and manufacturing on to one system. It’s a fully integrated real-time solution that eliminates paper trails and turns data into action.

Selling directly to its customers without a third party, Pronto offers a streamlined ‘one system/one vendor’ approach. As an SME itself, Pronto has a solid understanding of the market’s needs.

MD David Jackman attributes the company’s success to its customer-centric attitude. “You don’t solve a problem by throwing technology at it, but by listening and understanding. We are driven by our customers’ needs and providing a solution with strong ROI.”

Pronto has proven staying power, averaging 15 percent annual revenue growth. According to David: “It’s a myth that you can’t survive if you’re not big. Our success is based on commercial pragmatism, not marketing fluff.”


Netsolutions (www.netsolutionsIT.com.au) is a leading provider of IT infrastructure solutions and works with many SMEs and niche businesses across Australia. Theo Dimopoulos set up the business—initially from home in 1995—aged just 25 and with a passion to provide a quality IT service to customers.

The vision for the company is to be the market leader in technical and professional services for emerging data centre, networking and security solutions. Netsolutions has formed enduring partnerships with leading technology vendors through solid technical expertise, successful project delivery and excellent post-implementation support services.

The company is a Juniper Networks certified, Elite Partner, JNASC/Operate Support Partner, Implementation Specialist and an IBM Business Partner. It was awarded Juniper’s 2007 Advanced Technologies Partner of the Year.

Netsolutions has supplied and integrated well over 600 Juniper Networks products and successfully deployed some of the largest Juniper Networks projects in the world. Indeed, some of Netsolutions’ projects are used as global case studies and reference sites for analysts conducting ICT research.
An expansion in the managed services offerings to provide real core value to customers is tabled for the coming years along with a national presence in the Australian market. Netsolutions currently employ 23 people in Port Melbourne.

Prime Digital Media
Prime Digital Media (www.primedigitalmedia.com) is Australia’s number one Out-of-Home Digital (OOHD) media company, providing end-to-end solutions to its clients. The company provide retailers and marketers with innovative ways to target and engage the new, media-savvy consumer.

PDM controls Australia’s largest, centrally managed OOHD network, delivering dynamic, relevant, visually appealing messages to retail environments via plasma and LCD screens. The company’s in-store retail networks showcase The Home Electronics Network, The Lifestyle Network and The Wellbeing Network.
PDM centrally manages and produces content for Telstra’s in-store T [life] and T-shop retail network, TelstraTV. Fireback Digital, PDM’s subsidiary content agency, produces the most digital screen content in Australia and has collected the most awards for doing so.

PDM’s OOHD network is the first Quick Response (QR) enabled network in Australia.
PDM is also the first Australian OOHD media company to completely offset its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to become carbon neutral.

Catalogue Central
Robert Wong is the founder and CEO of Catalogue Central (www.cataloguecentral.com.au), Australia’s first online catalogue business.

Catalogue Central’s story and rapid growth highlights Robert’s entrepreneurial nature, recognising a business opportunity to translate the success of printed catalogues to online.

He started the business in 2006, personally determined to reduce the 216,000 tonnes of paper used on junk mail each year. He combined this idea with his extensive knowledge in digital marketing and analytics.
At 47, with a young family to raise and bills to pay, Robert took the risk to create a company out of a concept that wasn’t tried or tested anywhere else. Fast forward just two years, and the company is achieving 80 percent year-on-year growth, employs 16 staff and lists some of Australia’s retail elite among its clients.
According to Robert, 88 percent of Australians now compare goods and services online prior to purchase, so online advertising is an important component in the marketing mix.


Digislide Holdings Australia (www.digislide.com.au) is an Adelaide-based R&D technology company, specialising in miniature pocket projector technologies suitable for mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras, gaming devices and portable media players.

Headquartered in Adelaide and with personnel in Singapore and the States, Digislide has spent the last ten years developing digital convergence technologies encompassing video projection and telecommunications merged solutions.

The company anticipates becoming only the second South Australian company to list on the ASX in 2009, after raising $3 million from a $1.25 a share offer. The company is in the final stages of commercialising a series of innovative pocket projectors including Digivision a pocket-sized portable companion projector. Digishow, a consumer hand-held projector (VGA projector) is currently being manufactured and will be initially rolled out to consumers in Thailand, Malaysia, India and Singapore.

Digishow and Digvision cater for both professional and consumer applications across numerous industries and will be available in Australia later in 2009.

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Jen Bishop

Jen Bishop

Jen was the publisher at Loyalty Media and editor of Dynamic Business, Australia's largest circulating small business magazine, from 2008 until 2012. She is now a full-time blogger at The Interiors Addict.

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