- Wednesday 28 September 2016
Health bars, bean bags, software, health equipment and meat products – these are just some of the locally produced products and services that could soon be in hot demand internationally thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Export Development and Global Capability Program.
The second instalment of the two-month program starts on October 5. Twelve local businesses have registered to participate and limited places are still available.
Ten Sunshine Coast businesses completed the 10 week course earlier this year, including Ryan Marketing, whose Group Manager James Robertson said it provided the tools, advice and contacts to help develop export strategies and understand Free Trade Agreements, logistics and pricing.
“It helped us develop the right strategies for exporting our unique range of meat products, finding the right product fit for different markets and ultimately turning those concepts and ideas into an actionable plan,” he said.
“We’ve learnt things we didn’t know before we came into it like the implications of the free trade agreement and the opportunities they present with some of our key trade partners overseas.
“International pricing strategies and the opportunities and pitfalls to look out for and also entry into the market strategies and how we can give our brand and product we’re taking into the market the best chance for success.”
“It’s definitely a program we’d recommend to other businesses particularly on the Sunshine Coast and particularly in the food and agribusiness space.”
Smartline Machinery Manager Ross Norman said despite being Australia’s leading manufacturer for capital medical equipment, council’s export program was an invaluable experience, even second time round.
“This was our second year in the program because we wanted to focus on learning how to make sure our intellectual property was covered and make sure our products are covered internationally and also domestically so that was a particular interest around our marketing and IT,” he said.
“I’ve already put a lot of what I’ve learned from this program into the business plans and strategies that we employ now so I’d recommend it to anybody.”
‘At One Foods’ Manager Andrew Terlich said having opportunities to export their superfood bars into Asia made the Export Development and Global Capability program a must-do.
“We had done some investigation into how to do that ourselves but as we did that we realised it was a lot more involved that simply putting a product on a ship and waving it goodbye so it’s been really beneficial to come and do this course and learn about lots of information and pitfalls that are out there,” he said.
The council-run Export Development and Global Capability Program is in its second year and now counts 47 company graduates among its ranks.
Export Council of Australia Deputy Chair Paul Cooper attended the graduation event earlier this year and was overwhelmed by the local businesses who had participated in the program and their future prospects as exporters.
“Absolutely blown away. We had pitching sessions from some fantastic companies, they came through and described their businesses and what they were trying to do and how they were going to grow internationally,” Mr Cooper said.
“I was super impressed with the passion people they had for their own business but also the focus they had on exporting and how their product was going to translate into the global market.
“I think it was absolutely stunning the variety of businesses and I’m so impressed with the local business community here and the exporting future I think it’s very healthy too.
“They have a responsibility not just to their own company to be successful in exporting but when they’re going away they’re ambassadors for Australia, they’re ambassadors for Queensland they’re ambassadors for the Sunshine Coast.
Economic Portfolio Councillor Stephen Robinson said the Export Development and Global Capability Program was a key to stronger economy in the future.
“The Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Strategy 2013-33 aims for 20% of our locally produced goods and services to be available for export outside the region,” Cr Robinson said.
“Council’s export program includes a range of face to face networking events, we have an online LinkedIn group with some 400 members and we also offer education and coaching programs.
“A lot of exporters need help now and what we’re trying to provide is that hands-on experience with people who’ve been out in the workplace doing it themselves, negotiating and battling their way through entering different export markets and I’m delighted we’ve got people of such a high calibre provided by the Export Council of Australia able to assist our local business exporters.
“I would encourage anyone who’s thinking about exporting or even an experienced exporter to get in touch with council and really understand what programs and support we can offer.”
The key benefits for businesses who export include:
- Access to new sources of revenue
- Helps reduce risk by broadening customer base
- Assists with recruiting better quality staff
- Can be a catalyst for innovation