North Wollongong businesswoman Irene Latoa has been recognised for tripling the growth of her business just days before the Illawarra hosts its own regional business awards. First Class Accounts North Wollongong was awarded the First Class Account’s Best Emerging Franchisee Award for achieving such significant growth in 2016.
Ms Latoa never imagined receiving such an accolade so quickly when she started a year ago and thanks Illawarra Women In Business and Business In Heels for helping her get her name out. “I was a ‘corporate refugee’, having returned to Australia after seven years working with Nespresso in Singapore. I had little experience with small business – which is why the award came as such a delightful surprise.”
Ms Latoa said the achievement of such impressively rapid growth was made by carefully following systems and networking, networking, networking.
“I’m relatively new to the Illawarra so I’ve been very busy joining as many networking groups as I can in the region. Quality referrals are worth so much. You really have to have faith in the person looking after your books – it’s a big investment of trust. This is why I think networking is so important. People can get to know you in a relaxed setting and you can build genuine relationships.”
Ms Latoa is also a committee member for SCARF, a not-for-profit organisation helping refugees settle into the Illawarra community.