As Australia gears up for Chinese New Year, the three NSW winners of the NBNco, Glocals Academy mentorships have their sights set on launching their businesses into China.
With recent research suggesting China is the most attractive market for Australian business expansion, Kemu Café on the Central Coast, Screen Weaver in Wollongong and Koala Eco in Edgecliff, hope to capitalise on China’s love for Aussie products.
After completing a six-month mentorship under the guidance of Cross Border Management MD, CT Johnson, the three businesses are ready to begin their Glocals (staying local and expanding globally) journey.
The businesses were trained to up-skill on everything from processing overseas payments to finding a purchasing agent for successful expansion into the market.
With an estimated 46 percent of Australian businesses hoping to expand into China in the coming twelve months, understanding the market is essential.
“The Chinese market is not monolithic as it’s made up of many small niches with varying customer needs, interests and socio-economic groups. For example, China’s organic market is growing rapidly as a result of domestic food scandals so there is a huge demand for overseas products,” Johnson explained.
Glocals Academy winner, Andrew Cox, founder of Kemu Café, an organic café based on the NSW Central Coast hopes his vegan product range will appeal to the market.
“With our business now well-established on the Central Coast, we are now looking to take our wholefood vegan product concept to a whole new level by selling it overseas,” he tells KBB.
“The Chinese market represents a fantastic opportunity for us to raise awareness of the planetary benefits of veganism and plant-based living while at the same time tapping into a large international market.”
While overseas expansion can come with risks, Cox is excited by the prospect of expanding glocally.
“It’s amazing to think that we can be marketing our products to China while operating on the Central Coast – having the nbn access network will enable us to reach global customers at a fraction of the cost and time,” he said.
Partners Jessica Bragdon and Paul Davidson, founders of the environmentally friendly cleaning product, Koala Eco, tell Kochie’s Business Builders they had always hoped to expand their sales to include the overseas market.
“Koala Eco was always developed with the intention to expand further and the Chinese market is one we are excited to venture into as we see a demand for eco-friendly Australian products,” says Davidson.
The pair cultivated their eco-friendly range after discovering there was little in the marketplace that was affordable, chemical-free and that actually worked. Spurred on by the fact they didn’t want their young children to have to “hold their breath” every time they cleaned, the couple set about creating their own natural alternative and turned to Australian botanicals to find their solution.
“As we were, effectively, our own first customers, we had some pretty specific and sophisticated aims in mind,” Davidson says.
Describing the Australian bush as an extraordinary ‘treasure trove of botanical secrets’, Davidson suggests Koala Eco products not only clean well, they smells great and use sustainable native products, to boot.
With more and more of our Eastern neighbours exploring environmentally friendly product options, Davidson Koala Eco sounds like a winner.
Still, Campbell says any business contemplating expansion can be faced with tests and the Glocals Academy hopes to equip its winners with the tools to face challenges head on“
Any overseas business expansion inevitably comes with its challenges from language translation to online payment systems. I will work with the winning businesses to set weekly challenges, online mentoring sessions and reading material to make sure they are prepared and set up for success.”
“We hope the nbn Glocals Academy will equip us with the much-needed knowledge and tools to expand our networks, overcome challenges and launch into China in the coming months.”
“Since connecting to services over the nbn access network, we’ve already seen communication with suppliers in Australia become much easier – now our internet connection and the mentorship will enable us to expand into new markets without leaving our Edgecliff office.”
Glocals Academy winner, Karen Pouye, founder of Screen Weaver, a video platform/app whose aim is to make painful written instruction manuals obsolete by providing easy to understand video alternatives is excited by the opportunity to expand her business.
With its large population of tech lovers, Pouye sees the Chinese market as the perfect fit.
“China is our long-distance neighbour,” she says, “and it makes up for the customer base we lack here in Australia.
“We can offer the Chinese the missing ingredient they lack in their exported products: customer confidence. Our video-based customer support is extremely inexpensive when applied on a large scale, and China does everything on a large scale!” she says.
Pouye says when developing her product for China, language has been her biggest barrier.
“We concluded that we would need someone on the team with Chinese language skills to assist us. We also realised after talking to several Chinese business people that if we wanted to go global, we needed to raise our bar somewhat. The Chinese brands want to raise the credibility of their products so we need to prove that we can offer quality ourselves in our videos.”