The Export Council of Australia (ECA) believes that with the right encouragement and tools, more Australian businesses, particularly Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSME), can take on and succeed in the world of international trade.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were more than 2.17 million actively trading businesses in Australia in June 2016, an increase of 2.4 per cent from June 2015, primarily driven by growth in small businesses (those with fewer than 20 employees).

With 60.7% of actively trading businesses in Australia operating as Sole Proprietorships, with no employees, 27.6% had 1-4 employees, 9.2% had 5-19 employees and 2.3% had 20-199 employees. Only 0.2% of businesses had 200 or more employees. This means that the overwhelming majority of businesses currently trading in Australia can be defined at MSMEs.

Despite the growing number of Australian businesses, in 2014-15 fewer than 52,000 were actively engaged in exporting goods and services.

ECA CEO, Lisa McAuley said the ECA has worked closely with Australian businesses for more than 60 years, helping them to take their place on the global stage through world-class education and training.  We understand the value of face-to-face training, but also acknowledge the difficulties faced by particularly small businesses who are time poor and often under resourced.  For this reason, we have developed our Online Going Global program, aimed at those businesses and individuals who are wanting to upskill before they embark upon their international business journey.”

“The ECA’s Online Going Global program has been developed on the award-winning Open Learning platform.  On this platform, participants not only get access to word-class information and skills training, they become part of an online community that shares ideas, collaborates, and together solves learning problems.  Participants also have online access to a network of trade professionals and proficient international businesses who will answer questions and share their experience,” Ms McAuley said.

Founder & CEO of OpenLearning Adam Brimo said we are excited to partner with ECA to give Australian companies the skills they need to thrive in international markets. The Online Going Global program has been built on the concepts of flexibility and engagement to offer busy SME owners the best chance to grow as business leaders.”

“This is a very natural partnership for us. ECA as an organisation places the same value on education and lifelong learning as OpenLearning. In creating these courses, we are looking to take an innovative approach to up-skilling beyond the traditional educational options available to businesses,” Mr Brimo said.

The Online Going Global program consists of 11 Modules, covering all the basics of international business, from selecting the right market, to building staff capacity and pitching for international success.  Upon completion of the 11 modules, participants will have a full body of knowledge, including the capability to complete an international business strategy.

“The ECA is extremely proud of this program.  We have no doubt that companies completing the program will start their international business journey on the right foot and be able to achieve global success,” Ms McAuley said.

Enrolments for the Online Going Global program are now being accepted via https://learnonline.export.org.au/. Government and industry stakeholders are also encouraged to explore the various licensing options available.

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