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Born in the GFC: Revenue of 2012 Smart50 soars despite patchy conditions

The winners of this year’s sixth annual SmartCompany Smart50 awards may have been born out of the worst financial crisis in recent history, but have managed to deliver impressive revenue growth of 35.5% to $484.7 million in the past year despite tough economic conditions

The SmartCompany Smart50 awards, sponsored by accounting firm and financial services WHK, recognise Australia’s top 50 fastest-growing small and medium-sized businesses.

Despite the ongoing turmoil in the retail market, wholesale company Audio Active Australia took the top spot on the list, with its founders Jeremy and Richard Bouris having founded the company in 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis.

In a testament to their success, it took the business less than a year to reach $1 million in revenue.

To be eligible for the list, companies must have revenue of more than $500,000 and must produce revenue growth in each of the past three financial years, with companies ranked on average annual growth over that period.

You can see the full list here and read the top 10 trends from the class of 2012 here.

Consulting group Velrada Capital maintained its second place position for the second year in a row, having maintained its success among the mining boom in Western Australia – with revenue growth of 228%. Transport and logistics training group Foresite Training came in third with growth of 160%.

The Smart50 are opportunists, with the average age of companies featured being five years old, placing them in the middle of the financial crisis. Many also started up in 2008 and 2009, when the economy started to take a turn and consumer confidence dipped.

And while average growth is slightly down on last year, the Smart50 grew 93.2% in the past year – an impressive result in an otherwise tumultuous economy.

The Smart50 added 428 jobs last year, compared to the previous year when they added 892 jobs.

Just under two-thirds (64%) of the businesses started from home, with 34% using less than $25,000 to get up and running.

The average age of entrepreneurs has remained the same at 37, although four founders are starting young at just 26.

Surprisingly, many founders say they’re not concerned by the Federal Government’s Fair Work scheme, with 59% saying it has no impact, or no substantial impact, on their business.

Private Media chief executive and SmartCompany publisher Amanda Gome says the impressive performance of the winners shows how the best small businesses and entrepreneurs can thrive even in difficult economic environments.

“This is the sixth annual Smart50 awards, and yet again businesses have shown they are able to create jobs and grow revenue even when small businesses are doing it tough.”

“The impressive revenue growth also comes just a few years after many of these companies began during the middle of the global financial crisis, and shows how entrepreneurs can achieve success even during difficult times.”

Other award winners included website marketplace Flippa.com, which took out the Top Exporter award; Jetts Fitness, which won the Top Franchise award; and BioPak, which took out the award for Top Innovator.

Two companies were recognised with the Smart and Lasting award for being on the list for four years in a row: Marble Group and Amblique.

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