Australia Post link in to Aramex

AUSTRALIA POST managing director and CEO, Ahmed Fahour is joining the board of global parcel express delivery and logistics company, Aramex.

The move is part of the strategic e-commerce alliance between Australia Post and Aramex announced in June. 

It is being called “a natural progression in the strategic relationship between Australia Post and Aramex”, which includes a Singapore-based joint venture targeting the global e-commerce market, with a particular focus on Asia.

Mr Fahour’s appointment is subject to Aramex shareholder approval, which will be sought at the next annual general meeting in April 2017.

Mr Fahour said the joint venture would help Australia Post grow the Australian e-commerce market, capturing more inbound parcel volumes and providing a platform for outbound growth.

“This is a critical part of ensuring a sustainable future for Australia Post and securing Australian jobs,” Mr Fahour said.


ImmersaView gets frank about US expansion

WHEN ImmersaView – a company specialising in large realistic screen projection technologies – took the decision to expand beyond its Brisbane base into the US market, it literally took a wider view and went in with eyes wide open.

It seemed like a steady and logical move, five years ago, when ImmersaView opened a US office on the back of apparently steadily rising sales. But there was a lot more to learn and now ImmersaView is keen to pass on those experiences to help other Australian businesses considering a US market move. 

“Our sales in the region had been reasonable and we anticipated a much greater market than we were addressing in Australia,” ImmersaView co-founder Alex Streit said. “Within two years of opening the office, our US sales had plateaued.”

Mr Streit, who has since moved to the US to grow the business, has steadily led a reinvigoration of the US operations. He had a series of valuable lessons to pass on.

“Be niche,” Mr Streit said. “We cover a lot of different markets globally. If someone comes to us with work, we figure out whether we can do it with our given resources.

“In the US, though, we focus on a specific market.  Before we were too broad, offering everything, and people didn’t trust us to deliver. We now focus on one core area and ensure we do it excellently.”

There was also a valuable lesson in the way the US market likes to be approached with information about a company. Mr Streit called it “headlines first”.

“Headlines first … In Australia, we tell people a story to give them context.  In the US, people want the headline first and the story can come later if they’re interested.  

“At first, our marketing collateral was missing the mark because we had the headlines buried after the context.  Be direct.”

There was also a valuable lesson in building trust – you had to be there.

“Relationships matter,” Mr Streit said. “In our market people buy from people they trust.  People trust people they know.  

“It is difficult to do this from Australia. Initially we had set up an office and let someone run it,” he said.

“We’ve since learned that there is no substitute for personally spending time with potential customers and partners as a business owner.  They want to do business with people and not just a company.”

ImmersaView has developed visual imaging systems for the London Fire Brigade Training Centre, Russian National Ballet, the MXJ Formula 1 racing simulator, and even a new Concorde flight simulator for the Brooklands Museum in the UK.




Brisbane companies build South Asia trade via Sri Lanka

SRI LANKA could be the bridge that links Brisbane to new trade opportunities in South Asia, with business links developing through a recent match-making event organised by The Sri Lanka and Australia Chamber of Commerce (SLACC).

As a result of networking through the innovative business matchmaking event, three Brisbane companies invested more than $150,000 dollars into Sri Lankan technology companies, with more links expected to develop. 

The Sri Lanka Australia Chamber of Commerce roadshow brought more than 25 Sri Lankan technology companies to Brisbane. They were given the opportunity to pitch for business and potential investment from Australian delegates from the finance, technology, media and insurance industries.

Australian delegate and Techniche chairman Karl Jacoby said the visit had led to further investment in Sri Lanka’s information communication technology (ICT) sector for his business.

“Techniche has already successfully used a number of Sri Lankan companies in the areas of ICT support, digital marketing, and out sourced services which has led to new opportunities for our business,” Mr Jacoby said.

“As a result of this visit, we will be considering whether we could use some additional outsourced development capability, and I will personally be considering a number of investment opportunities in Sri Lankan businesses.”

SLACC president Kalum De Silva said the visit was an integral part of the chamber’s strategic focus on bi-lateral economic development between Australian and Sri Lanka businesses. 

“We are thrilled with the attendance and result of the mission which aimed to foster greater cooperation and collaboration between Australia and Sri Lanka in all trade related matters,” Mr De Silva said.

“By fostering a close relationship between the two countries, via public and private sector engagement, SLACC aims to increase trade and profitability between Sri Lanka and Australia.

“SLACC has already committed to another business mission for Sri Lankan delegates from October 25-27 which will be held on the Gold Coast and we’re looking for Australian business to be involved.”

SLACC is also calling for Australian businesses in the IT, tourism, manufacturing and specialty food industries interested in a similar mission to be involved in the World Export Development Forum (WEDF) in Sri Lanka from October 11-13.

WEDF brings together more than 600 business leaders, policymakers, heads of trade and investment support institutions and international trade development officials to address international competitiveness for developing countries.

SLACC is an integrated bi-lateral, member-based chamber constituted under the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) to foster commercial trade and dialogue between Sri Lankan and Australian businesses.




Landing pad for Aust. innovators in Berlin

AUSTRALIA’s fourth ‘landing pad’ for start-up companies seeking international business is to be established in Berlin, Germany’s capital.

Berlin is regarded as a leading source of global innovation and disruptive technology and joins landing pads established in San Francisco, Tel Aviv and Shanghai. 

Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister, Steven Ciobo, made the announcement in Berlin, outlining how the landing pads were designed to provide market-ready start-ups with a short-term operational base in innovation hotspots, “helping them develop new markets and sustainable growth on a world scale”. 

“Berlin is a low-cost business centre and the start-up hub of Germany,” Mr Ciobo said. “With its vibrant, creative culture and extensive ecosystem of incubators and accelerators, the city is ideally positioned as a landing pad site for emerging Australian companies.”

As an emerging major technology hub, Berlin has a significant presence of major corporations and world-leading innovation research institutions like the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the Hasso-Plattner Institute School of Design. With US$2.2 billion invested into start-ups in 2014 and some of the world’s highest public and private sector investment in research and development, the city has overtaken London as Europe’s leading venture capital hub.

Germany is also one of Australia’s key science collaboration partners, with 516 active bilateral agreements between Australian and German institutions.

It is the fourth landing pad to be announced as part of the Coalition’s National Science and Innovation Agenda (NISA).

former Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne (now Minister for Defence Industry) said the landing pad would help market-ready startups with access to local partners with expertise, infrastructure and innovation and marketing networks. 

“Berlin is an emerging major tech hub with an increasingly international startup community. Placing landing pads in innovation hot-spots will help entrepreneurial Australian companies access complementary entrepreneurial talent, mentoring, investors and a wider connected network of innovation hubs,” said Mr Pyne.

Mr Ciobo said the Berlin landing pad would help Australian startups think globally, tapping into entrepreneur, industry and capital networks.

“It will also contribute to stronger ties with Europe’s largest economy as Australia seeks to begin negotiations for a free trade agreement with the European Union,” he said.

 “Both our countries see the importance of innovation, science and technology as drivers of economic prosperity,” said Mr Pyne.