Family business success spurs Murraylands economy

Family businesses are a key contributor to the Murraylands economy.

Whether they’re run from a boardroom or around the kitchen table, these businesses are enjoying success both locally and abroad.

And from little things, big things grow. Some of the Murraylands’ biggest food producers remain family-owned and operated to this day. Thomas Foods International (TFI) has grown from a small family company into Australia’s largest 100 per cent family-owned meat processor.

Swanport Harvest was established in the 1960s by Italian immigrants as a small market garden. Their son, director Don Ruggiero and wife Kathy, took over the business and has grown it into an innovative, quality-assured horticultural company.

Their lettuces are picked, wrapped, cooled, and on supermarket shelves around the country within 24 hours.

Longridge Olives in Coonalpyn is a truly family business. Husband and wife Jim and Lisa Rowntree, and their four children, all work there managing nearly 90,000 trees and produce award-winning olive oil.

Bowhill Engineering is a family-owned Murraylands engineering firm founded in the 1970s by Brendon Hawkes and has evolved into a successful structural steel fabrication business.

Under the leadership of Jeremy and Jodie Hawkes, the business employs 30 staff and is involved with high profile projects, including bridges for the Darlington Southern Expressway extension.

These are just some of the excellent examples of the impact family businesses can have on our local workforce.

These businesses are also a significant employer of local jobs. They provide employment opportunities and a boost to the local economy by stimulating spending.

They demonstrate the “anything you can do, I can do better” attitude and an insatiable hunger to be at the top of their game.

A family business survey, by KPMG, found that 72pc of family businesses believe the business successes are the employees’ successes. RDAMR has worked with many of the region’s family-owned businesses over the years, helping them to realise their full potential. If you need help taking your family business success to the next level, contact our Murray Bridge team on 8535 7170 or visit 137 Adelaide Road, Murray Bridge.

By Jo Podoliak, CEO

Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland