The federal government has launched a $20 million program aimed at helping small and medium businesses grow, export and generate local Australian jobs.
The Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Export Hubs Initiative, initially announced in the 2018–19 federal Budget, will fund successful applicants to develop local and regional hubs that will help local firms begin to export.
Federal industry, science and technology minister, Karen Andrews, said that export hubs would help Australian companies overcome many of the challenges they face in entering export markets.
“Beginning to export can be challenging but there are massive opportunities for Australian firms to take their products, processes and services to big markets in our region and around the world, increasing revenue and creating new jobs,” Andrews said.
“The hubs will help businesses team up with other firms and through activities such as developing collective brands, take advantage of local infrastructure to boost business operations, and position regional businesses to participate in global supply chains.”
The export hubs will consist of business-to-business networks made up of a group of businesses and other organisations – usually based in a specific geographical region – that promote engagement between businesses, information and resource sharing, and professional, strategic and coordination support.
The export hubs will be aligned with the federal government’s national export strategies coordinated via its established industry “growth centres” in advanced manufacturing, cyber security, food and agribusiness, medical technologies and pharmaceuticals, mining equipment, technology and services, and oil, gas and energy resources.
Alongside the Industry Growth Centres initiative, the SME Export Hubs Initiative will complement the Entrepreneurs’ Program, and services and programs delivered by Austrade, including the Export Market Development Grants scheme.