Belfast Telegraph

Expand into Australia, Ulster companies told

By Clare Weir

Northern Ireland companies are being encouraged to expand into Australia by a trio of Sydney entrepreneurs promising jobs, export opportunities and a springboard into Asia.

Tony Eades, John Glover and Bill Elmer run Your Australian Business, a non-Government organisation which hooks up firms in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland with key business contacts and provides a series of packages to help people set up shop on the other side of the world.

The three men staged a cross-sector information event in Belfast during their first ever visit to Northern Ireland on Wednesday before heading to speak to businesses in Dublin.

Rather than enticing small numbers of individual workers to Australia or encouraging existing businesses to shut up shop and move, the agency offers a series of packages to help people to start, build or expand businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth.

Mr Eades said that with 10m people needed in Australia over the next 20 years - including 35,000 professionals needed from next year onward in the IT sector alone - the possibilities for growth are endless.

"We have a strong, robust economy, we have a low interest rate, the Australian dollar is strong, the country has been relatively unaffected by the downturn, our banking sector is strong, we need skilled workers and entrepreneurs and Australia is hugely SME friendly," he said.

"Australia also offers a great springboard into Asian markets, so businesses can expand to Australia, and then explore further onward expansion."

Mr Glover added: "In the UK and Ireland there is no more land - but we've still got plenty of scope.

"We are building whole new towns and business centres and everything that goes along with that, and we need people to help build that infrastructure."

Mr Elmer said that people should not be put off by the geographical distance of Australia.

"The world is a smaller place now. People don't need to be scared of the distance," he said.

"Technology makes things so much easier and rather than firms going off and doing their own fact-finding, which can take years, we can connect you to the right people, take you straight to the top and link you to credible expertise."