A grow­ing wave of suc­cess

Tweed busi­ness­man set to thrive south of the bor­der

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS - Daniel Mcken­zie daniel.mcken­zie @tweed­dai­lynews.com.au

A TWEED busi­ness owner is no longer con­tem­plat­ing re­lo­cat­ing across the bor­der and is in­stead ready to ride a grow­ing wave of suc­cess.

A re­cip­i­ent of a $300,000 loan via a New South Wales Gov­ern­ment-backed Jobs for NSW ini­tia­tive, Tweed-born surf­board man­u­fac­turer and owner of The Glass Lab Adam Wes­sel said he could now re­main south of the bor­der.

Mr Wes­sel, who em­ploys 13 staff and has just moved to a big­ger fac­tory on In­dus­try Dr, Tweed Heads, said his pri­or­ity was al­ways to grow the busi­ness lo­cally, de­spite Gold Coast City throw­ing “up a bone” to make the shift.

“I started mak­ing boards when I was 16 and slowly built the busi­ness to 40 boards per week,” he said.

“Now at 40 years old, I’m ex­port­ing to Queens­land and Vic­to­ria, and once the fac­tory is up and run­ning, I’ll also ex­port to New Zealand and Japan.”

Mr Wes­sel said the NSW Gov­ern­ment loan would al­low the busi­ness to in­crease pro­duc­tion from 7000 boards to about 12,000 per year at its Tweed base, with plans to in­crease staff num­bers to 30.

“Busi­ness is good and the flood gates are open be­cause peo­ple know we now have a big­ger fa­cil­ity and greater ca­pac­ity, so we are pick­ing up ex­tra clients left, right and cen­tre,” he said.

Min­is­ter for Re­gional NSW and Small Busi­ness John Bar­i­laro vis­ited the Tweed on Thursday to an­nounce the ini­tia­tive, which will tar­get small and medium sized re­gional busi­nesses like The Glass Lab.

Mr Bar­i­laro said the three new loan prod­ucts rang­ing from $200,000 to $1.2 mil­lion would pro­vide emerg­ing and grow­ing busi­nesses with cap­i­tal to ex­pand op­er­a­tions and drive job cre­ation.

“This new suite of loan prod­ucts will be a ma­jor boost to fast-growth busi­nesses in re­gional NSW,” Mr Bar­i­laro said.

“This will give NSW busi­nesses the great­est po­ten­tial to suc­ceed by pro­vid­ing tar­geted loans across each stage of the busi­ness growth cy­cle.”

Mem­ber for Tweed Geoff Provest said the loans were aimed at in­no­va­tive busi­nesses that showed real po­ten­tial.

He said Mr Wes­sel could now dou­ble the ca­pac­ity of his home-grown busi­ness, which in turn would cre­ate more jobs for the Tweed.

“Any time a busi­ness ex­pands, there’s go­ing to be a cash flow is­sue.

“This just gets them over that hur­dle and stops them hav­ing to go to fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions,” Mr Provest said.

“A key com­po­nent here is that surf­ing is a big in­dus­try – this comes on the back of the an­nounce­ment last week of $5.5 mil­lion for the up­grade of Surf­ing Aus­tralia – and it’ll be sup­ported, so that en­cour­ages peo­ple from the surf­ing world to come and have a ca­reer.”

Mr Wes­sel re­cently in­ducted the first group of TAFE ap­pren­tices fol­low­ing a pi­lot pro­gram to make surf­board shap­ing a qual­i­fied trade through the NSW De­part­ment of In­dus­try.

He said pro­vid­ing sus­tain­able jobs fit­ted in with his long-term aim for the in­dus­try.

“I just wanted to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that’s safe for work­ers and the en­vi­ron­ment,” Mr Wes­sel said.

“It’s been a back­yard cot­tage in­dus­try – I wanted to le­git­imise it (and) pro­vide longevity and en­joy­ment for work­ers.”

PHOTO: SCOTT POWICK

SHAP­ING FOR SUC­CESS: Mem­ber for Tweed Geoff Provest, The Glass Lab owner Adam Wes­sel and Min­is­ter for Re­gional NSW and Small Busi­ness John Bar­i­laro in­spect a newly man­u­fac­tured surf­board.

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