Grants for Grabs: Asian Century Business Engagement

Published 21 December 2012 11:27, Updated 04 January 2013 14:14

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Grants for Grabs: Asian Century Business Engagement

“It’s up to business to develop the commercial bonds which drive trade and provide jobs,” Trade Minister Craig Emerson says in a statement. Photo: Andrew Meares

The federal government has opened its $6 million Asian Century Business Engagement grants program up for public comment, in preparation for the awarding of grants of up to $300,000 next year.

Member-based business organisations will from late February be able to apply for grants of between $25,000 and $300,000 to help develop networks and establish links that will make it easier for their small and medium-sized member companies to expand into, and win business in, Asia.

Draft guidelines published for the federal government’s Asian Century Business Engagement (ACBE) plan, are open for comment until January 31, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says.

The program will award a total $6 million in grants over four years.

Funding will be awarded from July.

“It’s up to business to develop the commercial bonds which drive trade and provide jobs,” Trade Minister Craig Emerson says in a statement. “We are calling on the business community for their views on how this scheme could be best run.”

Much of the opportunity coming from Asia’s rapidly growing middle-class population is open for smaller companies. Smaller ones can respond more quickly and adapt faster than their large counterparts.

Sydney-based payment technology company Pure Commerce, found that Asian clients were more willing to do business with him than Australian ones.

“It was about size and maybe it was ‘Invented here syndrome’ as oppose to [invented] overseas,” says Pure Commerce chief executive Daniel Lavecky. “Most banks in Australia deal [mainly] with very large overseas service providers, whereas we haven’t got that issue in Asia at all. Asia has a culture more open to small operators.”

The grants program seeks to help more companies identify the opportunities.

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