Getting into exports sounds like a big call for many regional businesses. There is no doubt there are challenges, but the potential is huge and next week in Young, Yass, Bega and Moruya there’s advice to help your business rise to the opportunities.
The Canberra Region Joint Organisation (CRJO), representing eight neighbouring local government areas, says the Capital Region is richly blessed with export possibilities. Often all that’s lacking is confidence and know-how.
The CRJO is co-presenting a series of free interactive workshops, designed for regional businesses of all sizes starting out on their export journey.
The NSW and ACT governments have both identified Canberra as a gateway city, with its airport and ready access to domestic and international freight capabilities. The prize for proactive Capital Region producers is easy and fast access to markets, particularly in Asia.
“The main reason for people to get involved with the workshops is to gather information and meet other like-minded people,” says CRJO chair and Yass Valley mayor, Rowena Abbey.
“The process could be daunting for you as an individual or small business but might look much more achievable as a team effort.
“People will tell you stories about how hard it can be, but the workshops are a way to find out some actual facts so you can make informed decisions about the next steps in establishing an export business.”
Sam Burton Taylor’s family business, Kenny’s Creek Angus at Boorowa, runs a successful meat export operation into Asia and the Middle East.
“Really, we had to just dive in and send our first container of boxed beef to Zhuhai (China). It was one step at a time,” he says.
That first transaction showed them how immense the export potential was. Burton Taylor says that in a single week, they did more trade than a year’s worth in his butchers’ shop.
These days the Kenny’s Creek export focus is on processed lamb going to the Middle East, but the potential to streamline their exports through Canberra’s international airport is an attractive one.
Rowena Abbey points out that the Pakfresh operation at Canberra Airport can now provide those critical export services, short-circuiting a lot of frustration.
“As a collective, we have a better voice and more say over how we are dealt with too. As a small operator you can get pushed around a bit, but speaking on behalf of a bigger crew gives you more traction in the export market,” she says.
Daniel Murphy, Economic Development Manager at Bega Valley Shire Council says emerging technologies are making it easier for regional businesses to tap into markets beyond previous thinking.
“Existing industries exporting beyond Bega Cheese, include seafood and aquaculture but there are emerging businesses in smaller horticulture and food/beverage products that can take advantage of our links to Canberra and especially with fresh produce opportunities through Pakfresh,” he says.
“Our clean and green image matched with innovation can help create sustainable local industries providing employment, a more diverse local economy and prosperity.”
Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Business Development Manager Sarah Cooper says its no far fetched to think a local business can sell into the global market.
“If a producer can build enough capacity for a product to fetch a good price overseas and the cost to freight whether by sea or air is not prohibitive, why not?” she says.
“The potential exists in both fresh produce and high value-add products, such as sea urchin, mullet roe, cosmetics using local ingredients, speciality cheeses.
“We also have successful exporters in the engineering sector working out of our industrial parks that have been exporting products around the world for many years.”
Next weeks workshops are aimed at aspiring export businesses and existing exporters who want a refresher.
The sessions will cover an introduction to exporting from the Export Council, panel discussions on the keys to successful exporting and networking to learn more about the potential freight opportunities available through Canberra Airport.
The Young workshop will be held at the Town Hall, Boorowa St, Young on Monday, August 19 from 9:15 am to 1:30 pm. Register here to attend.
Yass Soldiers Club, Meehan Street Yass, is the venue on Tuesday, August 20, from 9 am to 1:30 pm. Register here to attend.
The Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre in Zingel Place, Bega, hosts a workshop on Wednesday, August 21 from 9:30 am to 1 pm. Registrations can be made here.
Moruya Golf Club, on Evans St is the venue for a Thursday’s (August 22) workshop, from 9 am – 1 pm. Register to attend.
Original Article published by Genevieve Jacobs on The RiotACT.