Selling the South West

THE South West Development Commission is in the midst of a push to promote the State’s South West region to overseas markets as a great place to live, work and invest.

The SWDC is positioning the region as a centre for excellence, not only in the boutique wine and food industries with which it is already associated, but also in a range of other industries including horticulture, engineering, education and major project servicing.

SWDC CEO Don Punch said the commission had been successful in becoming a TradeStart partner with Austrade, meaning greater cooperation with government and increased access to Austrade’s resources and expertise.

Mr Punch said the SWDC hoped to assist more small and medium businesses enter the export arena.

“The core aspect of TradeStart is for 20 companies to move into export on a 12 month basis,” he said.

Mr Punch described the SWDC approach as a three-fold strategy.

The first was to work through the Austrade networks to develop future networks for the commission, to build relationships and facilitate international delegations in visiting the region and to run trade clinics where local business could get assistance for the purpose of international trade.

The second was to create a broader awareness of WA’s South West in international markets.

Thirdly, Mr Punch said the SWDC was interested in importing overseas capability by attracting more business migrants to the region.

TradeStart adviser Tristram Travers has been working with the SWDC since November last year as part of a plan to provide the same level of Austrade service in the South West as is available to businesses in metropolitan areas.

“It’s good government,” Mr Travers said.

“It gives Austrade access to the region and allows and assist the SWDC to be more involved.

“The partnership at a regional level has been driven by both sides because they both have vested interests.”

Mr Travers said Austrade and the SWDC had been busy showcasing the best of what the region had to offer through a series of international trade shows and by utilising Austrade’s overseas network.

“We operate on a one-to-one basis with a range of companies through the Austrade overseas network where we have positioned a range of companies in the South West with overseas buyers, partners, importers and distributors depending on the nature of the business,” he said.

“We also get live opportunities, as they are called, export opportunities where an overseas company has approached one of the overseas Austrade offices with a specific request and we marry that opportunity with a suitable local company.”

Mr Travers said this system allowed greater access and knowledge of companies in the South West region.

TradeStart is a national network of export assistance offices in partnership between Austrade and a range of local private and public sector organisations throughout Australia.

Austrade and TradeStart offer a package of free services designed to assist small and medium sized Australian companies develop their business overseas and make their first export sale.

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