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40 Under 40 winner of the day: Deborah Davidson


Deborah Davidson is striving to make South Australia a more sustainable city, one space at a time.

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South Australian-based businesswoman Deborah Davidson and co-director Paul Davy founded design company dsquared in 2012 in a bid to create more sustainable spaces, places and communities.

When setting up the company, Davidson hoped not only to help people understand how much of an impact they had on the environment but also to break down the perception that sustainability needs to be expensive.

Dsqured has since worked with companies including Adelaide Airport, UniSA and SA Health to reduce their environmental impact.

While dsquared assists other businesses in becoming more sustainable, in 2018 it became a certified carbon neutral organisation.

This project required understanding the company’s carbon footprint, finding ways to reduce emissions and examining the best carbon offset options.

Dsquared now helps the administrators of the National Carbon Offset Standard for Organisations to understand the best ways for small businesses to become carbon neutral.

This month, Davidson was named one of InDaily’s 40 Under 40, which recognises the best and brightest young business people in South Australia.

What is the single most important lesson you have learnt in your business career so far?

I believe strongly that one of the key strengths in my career has come from doing what I say I am going to do and simply delivering on promises. Clients have learnt that they can trust and rely on me and the team at dsquared, which has helped to position me as a trusted adviser. This has really helped my business to grow and led to many referrals for new work from existing clients.

What do you believe are the strengths of doing business in South Australia?

Being a smaller industry makes it easier to identify and collaborate with the best people to achieve results for each project. I regularly work with other local SA businesses and find the support network stronger than in a big city.

What do you believe are the weak points of conducting business in South Australia?

At times the smaller economy can cause instability for smaller businesses. I think it’s important to establish a national presence to smooth out the ups and downs of the local economy. For our staff, this also provides an opportunity to work on varied, larger and more complex projects than we often get to see in SA.

Do you see your future in South Australia? 

The future for dsquared is for Adelaide to be the headquarters of our operations, growing and strengthening our team here, while continuing to grow our national presence.

How can the state encourage more of its young leaders to stay?

More people will want to work in SA when it’s a welcoming place to do business, focused on offering opportunities for young people to have mentoring and make connections. This makes it easier to form a network of people to help develop a career. Another focus should be celebrating and promoting the successes of SA companies.

To see the full list of 40 winners, go here.

InDaily is profiling each of the winners – go here to read more.

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