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Connecting business migrants with SA councils


Connecting business migrants with local government is helping to foster trade success in South Australia.

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Earlier this month, almost 200 prospective overseas migrants visited a regional trade expo at Adelaide Town Hall for a showcase of regional South Australian businesses.

Guests were able to network with regional councils and more than 35 local business operators.

It was an opportunity to sample South Australian produce and products, with a view to exporting to their home countries.

The group also looked at possibilities to do business in Adelaide and nearby regions, to invest in real estate and commercial projects, and consider schools for their children.

It was an opportunity to showcase South Australia as a destination to live, do business and invest, along with the opportunity for their families to study and travel.

Online investment and trade platform, SASD Connect, was a key feature at the showcase with a presentation on the website delivered to delegates before the fair opened.

It was designed to facilitate business between South Australia and offshore markets, particularly China.

Local Government Association president Dave Burgess said the website was an effective method of connecting smaller businesses to councils, which is an important driver of economic development in other cultures.

“As a driver of economic development, local government can play a key role in assisting small and medium businesses to enter the Chinese market,” he said.

“The SASD Connect website is part of the sector’s commitment as a partner in government to facilitate trade and investment.”

Introducing mayors and councillors to their counterparts in South Australia’s sister state of Shandong has helped boost high-end exports of the state’s clean, green fresh produce, sustainable technology and premium wine.

The strategy recognises that mayors of other major cities and provincial capitals such as those in China, hold much more influence than in Australia so small international businesses feel more comfortable entering into trade agreements when the local mayor is engaged.

The website also aims to reduce the language, cultural and logistical barriers to doing business.

Sean Keenihan, the South Australia President of the Australia China Business Council, said the migrant expo was a successful introduction between potential migrants and local businesses as well.

“The buyers are all pre-qualified to pursue trade and investment in SA while the businesses are part of a program led by Local Governments, RDA and the ACBC to build the skills and experience to become successful exporters,” he said.

“Building on the SASD Connect platform, local governments worked with Immigration SA to support direct discussions between existing and intending business migrants and regional South Australian businesses.

“The Town Hall expo introduced the 200 strong buying group to a cross section of the State’s regional produce supported by the producers and their local councils and RDAs.”

A number of South Australian companies have already had trade success through the website including ELWA Energy Savers that sells its digitally controlled instantaneous water heaters in Shandong.

Other companies like Ambersun Alpacas are using SASD Connect to export live alpacas to China to supply the local luxury clothing industry.

Immigration SA hosts an exploratory visit every November, inviting overseas business people and investors interested in migrating to South Australia.

More than 50 business people who have already made the move to South Australia managed to attend this year’s regional trade expo, further increasing export opportunities for South Australia’s regional producers.

Potential migrants have been encouraged to use the website after the event to view potential opportunities and keep in contact with businesses.

Solstice Media has partnered with the South Australian Government to provide information about our state’s international connections and engagement.

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