5 thriving businesses you didn’t know started in Perth

Managing my business | 2 October 2018

Historically, Perth has always received a bad wrap for being slower paced than its east coast neighbours. Despite this, there’s a lot to be said for our locally grown businesses. In fact, you may be surprised at which businesses started in our humble backyard.

From living room to boardroom here are five Perth based businesses that began as a great idea, and are now achieving incredible things on a national and global scale.


Every business has to start somewhere, and in the case of Canva it was in Melanie Perkins’ mother’s living room in Perth. Back in 2008 Melanie was a full time uni student, while also teaching design programs part-time.

Fed up with clunky desktop design tools, she wanted to develop design software that was online based, easy to use, collaborative and which didn’t require years of training to master. So began Fusion Yearbooks – a way for schools to easily create professional looking yearbooks, through its simple and affordable online design program.

The success of Fusion later paved the way for Canva – a design platform that anyone can use to seamlessly create everything from presentations to social media graphics and marketing material.

Canva’s initial journey to success didn’t come easy. Hundreds of pitches and rejections later, Melanie and her co-founders finally had the backing they needed to get their startup off the ground in 2012. Today it is growing gangbusters and used by over 10 millions users around the globe.

Health Engine

Australia’s number one online health appointment booking system Health Engine, is another Perth based startup that has experienced astronomical growth, setting a new standard for how health professionals manage their practices.

Health Engine also began as a living room project in 2006, designed to improve the healthcare experience in Australia. It provides users with a convenient way to book appointments 24/7 with a GP, dentist or other health provider, without having to pick up a phone. It also lets you compare fees, set up calendars and reminders.

This WA startup has gained huge momentum across Australia with 1.5 million users accessing its service via the website or smartphone app every month.

Cash Converters

Cash Converters has been a household name since 1984, but did you know it was founded in WA? From just a single store in Perth, to now over 700 stores across 21 countries, what began as a humble family business has shaped the second hand industry worldwide.

The retailer also recently launched Webshop, to rival the likes of other similar online platforms that enable you to buy or bid on second hand goods.


You probably wouldn’t think twice about it, but your daily coffee ritual at Dôme started out right here in Cottesloe back in 1991. Not bad considering there are more than 130 Dôme cafes in six different countries around the world.

Dôme has a colourful history behind it, with one of its founders Phil May, a former Olympian turned master coffee roaster. What started off as a specialty coffee roasting business in the 1980s later expanded into the café space, which is now synonymous all around town and beyond.


Formerly Betts & Betts, this family run, iconic shoe chain dates back as far as 1892. The very first retail store opened in 1912 on Hay Street and soon became the biggest shoe store in Australia, and later the Southern Hemisphere. The 70s saw a massive expansion across the nation, and today there are 90 stores Australia wide. With over 125 years experience in the shoe industry, Betts may have recently downsized, but remains a family run business with its headquarters still based in Perth.

Perth has a lot to be proud of, and we’re only going to see more great things happen. The high-tech sector in WA is growing at a rapid rate, and it is predicted that 3,000 to 5,000 startup companies will launch annually, creating over 150,000 new jobs in WA by 2025.

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