A cookbook for dogs, designer camping equipment, boutique bottled water, trampolines and skincare products using native plant ingredients – these are just some of the local products and services that could soon be in demand internationally.

Sixteen more Sunshine Coast businesses have just completed council’s Export Development and Global Capability Program.

The 10-week course provided the skills, advice and contacts to help these businesses develop export strategies and understand Free Trade Agreements, logistics and pricing.

WandsPro general manager Chris Wands said his local company, which designs and manufactures outdoor camping equipment, had benefited enormously from participating in the program.

Chris Wands, WandsPro

“We’ve introduced a range of clip together crockery for outdoor eating and we’re looking to sell out products in the future across America, Canada and Europe,” Mr Wands said.

“America spends over $120 billion a year in the outdoor camping market and I came into this course having no export experience whatsoever.

“What we’ve learnt over this 10-week course is about marketing strategies within different countries and we’ve also be able to learn and hear from around 20 experienced exporters about best practices.

“We’ve learnt everything form the best way to get investment, the best way to distribute, how to work with in-country agents and marketing channels to use within the exporting arena.

“Having a stable platform that governs pretty much the basis of all exporting is the biggest crux that we’ll be building our business on.

“Council really has put on a course that in my opinion is one of the best I’ve been on.

“It’s not just practical in the sense that it offers you the information, but it is personable in that we’ve actually met the people who will help us to export.

“I’ve met up with actual  individuals from this course who will help me export in other countries.

“Having the knowledge base and the  networking skills has really made this course standout from any other course I’ve been on.”

Chair of the Export Council of Australia Dianne Tipping attended this week’s graduation event in which participants pitched their products and services to an expert judging panel.

She was highly impressed by the quality of ideas and innovation an show from local business participants.

“There are a number of very successful exporters already on the Sunshine Coast, but we need to continue to grow exporters, we need to continue to develop the information that exporters need to be aware of to get into the global market,” she said.

“There were some great ideas and some great products for the future on show today and we need to develop them and offer competency and expertise to these exporters so they can grow into well-developed exporters going forward so they sustain their capabilities.

“Less than a third of Australian companies export. We need to encourage and show and grow more businesses how to export to ensure Australia maintains the level of economic development that we’re used to and want to have.”

Economic Portfolio Councillor Stephen Robinson said the Export Development and Global Capability Program would continue in 2017 and was a key to stronger economy.

“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.

“There are a growing number of very successful exporters here on the Sunshine Coast, including Typefi who recently took out the Queensland and Australian Small Business Exporter of the Year Award, Co-Yo, Gourmet Garden and Empyrean Lighting just to name a few.

“Council’s export programs aim to help more local businesses broaden their horizons by providing a range of face to face networking events, along with the 10-week Global Capability Program, and 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.

“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

For information about Council’s Export and Global Capability Program or to register for the 2017 intake, visit council’s website or click here.

Article by: Sunshine Coast Council