Page 3521 - Week 11 - Thursday, 24 September 2015

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The government, through Invest Canberra, also supports local businesses to expand into new international markets by providing trade connect funding. This funding enables ACT businesses to apply for up to 50 per cent of their activity-based trade development expenditure within certain caps. In the 2014-15 fiscal year we provided 25 development grants totalling approximately $200,000 in funding to ACT businesses.

Ms Fitzharris asked about the range of programs that the ACT government provides, and it would be remiss of me not to mention the ACT Chief Minister’s export awards which are another example of the ACT government supporting local businesses to expand into new markets, again delivered in partnership with the Canberra Business Chamber. The awards’ key objectives are to highlight and celebrate the achievements of our ACT exporters, to promote the territory as an exporting region and to provide the opportunity for ACT exporters to display their success to a national and international audience.

The government also supports the successful application by the Business Chamber to deliver the Australian government’s tradestart program. This is a network which is effectively an extension of AusTrade’s own offices and is delivered in partnership with state, territory and local governments, industry associations and chambers of commerce. The prime objective of the tradestart network is to assist small and medium-sized exporters to achieve long-term success in international markets.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.

MS FITZHARRIS: Minister, what are some of the outcomes you expect to achieve during your upcoming trade mission?

MR BARR: Nineteen Canberra based businesses are participating in an extensive program in San Francisco and San Jose, and a further 13 will be travelling on to Austin. The businesses are from our ICT and renewable energy sectors. The sector-specific programs in both cities will focus on building networks, demonstrating technologies, gaining insights into US industry best practice, exploring opportunities to access the US market and exploring opportunities for investment. We will also have elements of equity attraction and commercialisation of innovation.

The program includes targeted business matching events, investor interactions and opportunities to boost entrepreneurial capability, capacity and pathways. This will support start ups and innovative ACT companies to grow and access international markets and supply chains.

It is important to note that our support for ACT exporters who travel on trade missions does not stop when they get back from the trade mission. Invest Canberra continues to work with each exporter to support them to continue to develop their networks in the US and where possible support them to maintain a positive and productive relationship with their network in the United States. I am anticipating that the trade missions to the US with our local ACT exporters will become a regular activity in the years to come, particularly when the ACT has such a strong and positive message around innovation and entrepreneurship.

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