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The Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, has launched a $20 million program that will help small and medium businesses grow, export and generate local Australian jobs. The Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Export Hubs Initiative, announced in the 2018–19 Budget, will fund successful applicants to develop local and regional hubs that will help local firms begin to export.
“Beginning to export can be challenging but there are massive opportunities for Australian firms to take their products, processes and services to big markets in our region and around the world, increasing revenue and creating new jobs,” Minister Andrews said. “Export hubs will help Australian companies overcome these challenges and begin to export. We know that this sort of practical assistance can be invaluable for local businesses.
“For example, FIAL – the Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre – helped Melbourne business Crazy Dragon to create contacts and networks across Asia. It has started to export dumplings to China and now forecasts to double its revenue in twelve months. The hubs will help businesses team up with other firms and through activities such as developing collective brands, take advantage of local infrastructure to boost business operations, and position regional businesses to participate in global supply chains. The Coalition Government is committed to supporting businesses of all sizes to take their products and services to the world.”
The program will fund new and existing export hubs in the priority Growth Centre sectors: Advanced Manufacturing; Cyber Security; Food and Agribusiness; Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals; Mining Equipment, Technology and Services; and Oil, Gas and Energy Resources. The SME Export Hubs Initiative will complement existing initiatives, including the Industry Growth Centres Initiative, the Entrepreneurs’ Programme, and services and programs delivered by Austrade, including the Export Market Development Grants scheme.
The initiative will provide matched funding of up to $1.5 million for up to four years from 2018–19 to 2020–21. Matched funding can come from sources other than the Commonwealth, such as state and local governments and industry.
The SME Export Hubs are part of the Taking Local Business Global initiative announced by the Coalition Government to help businesses to maximise opportunities – using their resources, skills and networks to improve their productivity and grow exports and jobs.