Business Connect helps new Australians bolster NSW’s small business sector

26 January 2018

Three people in business meeting

The NSW Government’s multicultural Business Connect advisors are helping new Australians shake up the state’s small business sector as a new report shows high levels of innovation and ambition among migrants.

The CGU Migrant Small Business Report found 83% of migrant business owners started their first business after moving to Australia.

Of 900 businesses surveyed, 23% of migrant owned businesses launched their business with an innovative idea compared to 16% of non-migrants.

The report, released on 22 January 2018, also found high levels of ambition and growth, with 47% of migrant business owners aiming to generate higher revenue in the next five years, compared to 38% of non-migrants.

Also, one-third of migrant business owners are planning on growing their business with new hires.

However, starting a business in a new country is not easy and the NSW Government’s multicultural Business Connect advisory service, delivered by the Community Migrant Resource Centre, has helped hundreds of businesses navigate what can be a difficult process.

Felicia Fan, an Australian citizen originally from China, started her wedding photography business, Clover Image, in 2012 when she was an international student.

Clover Image has since recorded considerable success in both Australia and overseas with more than 140 prizes in well-known international competitions.

Last year, after winning more awards and being selected as the 2016–2017 ASIA WPA Top 20 Wedding Photographer, Felicia decided it was time to expand and called on Business Connect multicultural advisor Michael Xie to help set up new branches in Asia and across Australia.

Xie helped Felicia with their three to five year business plan and marketing plan as part of the business expansion process.

He also suggested social media as one of the most effective marketing channels for the Chinese market where potential customers are heavily engaged.

With Facebook not available in China, Michael suggested Felicia use Wechat, one of the largest standalone messaging apps with over 963 million monthly active users.

Similarly, Michael suggested the couple join and promote their business through messaging apps Line for Japan and Kakao Talk for the Korean market.

Clover Images is now in the process of setting up overseas branches.

With a network of local advisors available across NSW, complemented by specialist support, Business Connect provides the advice skills and information to help businesses at any stage – whether they are starting or expanding.

Advisors have the experience and knowledge to tackle a range of issues, from business planning and marketing strategy, how to access finance through to defining the best structure for your business.

Felicia said the support from Michael and the Business Connect program had been fantastic and was crucial to the execution of a successful expansion plan.

'We really appreciate Michael giving us the Expand Business List and assisting us with the three-year and five-year plan,' she said.

'He helped us focus on the long run – to work on the business rather than in the business. We now have a clearer view of our business and are more confident than before.'

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said it was a great result for Felicia who has taken advantage of experienced local business experts to support her businesses growth.

'Business Connect’s multicultural advisory service is a great asset for ambitious Australians who are looking to start a successful business and multicultural advisors are available for Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Korean speakers.

'Business Connect is the NSW Government's personalised business advisory service supporting small-to-medium businesses to start or grow their business.

'We’ve developed Business Connect to address the needs of all NSW small businesses, which can often find it difficult to access affordable, high quality professional business advice and who struggle to compete in the digital economy.

'The 710,000 small businesses across NSW are considered the lifeblood of the state’s economy.

'They represent almost 98% of all NSW businesses, employ almost half the state's workforce and generate $47 billion in annual wages and salaries.

'We are working to ensure NSW is a place of opportunity where businesses choose to invest and grow, and a place where people want to live and get good jobs.'

Find out more

Visit CGU Migrant Small Business Report