Forum showcases online success

THE success story of a rural New South Wales woman who turned one retail outlet in Cooma into an online sensation was showcased at a digital business forum hosted by Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Friday.

Jane Cay started birdsnest.com.au, an online clothing retailer which she has run for just over three years, employing 70 people in rural NSW.

Her story, of leaving Sydney after falling for a farmer, was one of several pointing out that location was no barrier to success in the world of online business.

Ms Cay said in just more than three years since launching online, just 7% of the company's sales were through the Cooma shop-front, with the other 93% of sales all happening through the internet.

The business was one of more than 40 Australian ventures and online organisations which met in Sydney for a digital forum to talk about the challenges and opportunities of business online.

Prime Minister Gillard used the forum to promote the potential of the National Broadband Network, saying the network would see an economic change in Australia of similar magnitude to the tariff cuts of the 1980s.

"Economic activity directly related to the internet contributed $50 billion to the Australian economy in 2010, but the indirect effects are just as important," she said.

"These effects aren't captured in GDP figures but they're worth an extra $80 billion a year."



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