Export hub grants help businesses through crisis

The federal government has said in a press statement that it is backing small and medium sized Australian businesses to tap into new markets around the world, with support for a series of export hubs across the nation.

Ten export hubs from five states will receive more than $4.9 million under the SME Export Hubs Initiative and include industries where Australia has large growth potential including food and agribusiness, energy, advanced manufacturing and mining services.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the grants would help SMEs to harness opportunities in international markets, which will be an important part of helping them bounce back and create jobs after the coronavirus pandemic.

“These grants will help get businesses back on the front foot after the disruption caused by this unprecedented pandemic,” Andrews said.

“I’m confident demand for Australian goods and services will be even stronger when we come out the other side of this pandemic, and the government is committed to helping businesses develop export opportunities and connections.

“These export hubs help SMEs take advantage of opportunities around the world, which will drive economic growth here at home and create new Australian jobs.

“We want to put Australia in the best position possible so we can thrive after this pandemic is finished.”

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham welcomed the funding boost to help Australian SME exporters get moving again.

“We recognise the current COVID-19 crisis has placed immense pressure on our exporters and in many cases has hindered their ability to enter new markets or reach their existing overseas customers,” Birmingham said.

“This funding boost will help our SME exporters get more exposure in international markets allowing them to establish supply-chains as well as form new relationships with potential customers, that we know is so critical to export success.

“Getting our exporters back on track will be crucial to reducing job losses throughout this crisis and a critical part of the ultimate economic recovery.”

The SME Export Hub Initiative provides each successful hub with matched funding of up to $1.5 million for projects up to two years in length.

Export hubs can operate in six key industry sectors: advanced manufacturing; cyber security; food and agribusiness; medical technologies and pharmaceuticals; mining equipment, technology and services; and oil, gas and energy resources.

One of the successful grant recipients is Food South Australia who were part of round one of the initiative. They have been allocated $194,467 in round two to further expand their activities including servicing businesses on Kangaroo Island, which was devastated by the summer bushfires and are now hurting through the coronavirus pandemic.

Food South Australia CEO Catherine Sayer said, “The world has completely changed with the effect of COVID-19 having impacts on all businesses.

“Now more than ever, it is so important for businesses to look at their market diversification strategies and export is one of those. COVID-19 has added much more complexity to export and the SME Export Hub will assist food and beverage businesses navigate the challenges.”