Small to medium-sized businesses in the Illawarra have an opportunity to receive help to get their products on Chinese shelves with the help of the NSW Business Chamber's new Export Growth China program.
A seminar was held in Wollongong last week to reveal more about how Illawarra businesses could break into that large market.
Illawarra Business Chamber chief executive Debra Murphy said the importance of networking and leveraging connections in Australia and China was highlighted during the breakfast seminar. She said the meeting was a chance to not only provide information about the new program but hear from businesses that were being innovative and brave enough to enter the huge Chinese market.
"Many local businesses are already doing great things in China and the chamber is providing a platform for more to join them," she said.
Garry Pinch, of Accounting Professionals, spoke of the importance of having a plan.
Tim Lewis, of the Kollaras Group, emphasised how all fine detail had to be correct in any documentation, and Bill Feld, of Big Fat Smile, spoke about the importance of being flexible to make the most of opportunities.
Daniel Rowan, of Internetrix, talked about the value of connections and networks in both countries.
"There are many things to certainly learn from today's session," Ms Murphy said.
"China's growing appetite for high-quality products is an exciting prospect for Illawarra business, but navigating the complexity and costs of the world's biggest marketplace can be daunting."
Ms Murphy said the new program was important because there was so much opportunity for Illawarra businesses beyond the escarpment.
"China has a GDP of more than $9 trillion and GDP growth of 7.7 per cent," she said.
"The new free trade agreement will make Australian products more competitive and reduce many barriers to servicing China. China's consumers are showing high demand for Australian products, including food and beverage, health and lifestyle products as well as homewares and jewellery.
"In addition, services in high demand include education for children, aged care and professional services."
The Business Chamber's program is designed to reduce the risks associated with export.