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Australian exporters overcome financing challenge

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Three of Australian exporters shared their experience and wisdom and with a business audience in Sydney yesterday, at the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) Breakfast Panel, "Financing exporting success in good times and bad". 

On the panel were the 2008 Australian Export Awards winners: 

  • Chris Vonwiller from Appen, the Prime Minister’s Australian Exporter of the Year
  • Dr John Russell, from Russell Mineral Equipment, a three time Award winner, and soon to be inducted into the Australian Export Awards Hall of Fame
  • Doug Austin, from Divex Pacific, winner of the Small to Medium Manufacturer Award
The Hon. Anthony Byrne MP, Parliamentary Secretary for the Prime Minister and Parliamentary Secretary for Trade opened the event and said it was a great honour to meet with such distinguished and successful exporters. 

"We are amongst the leading innovators in the world in the work that we do. And it is time this country understood this. We’ve got to acknowledge the resilience and the strength, the innovation and the durability of our export companies in these very difficult times." 

"We make much in Australia of what happens with our sporting champions – and so we should. But, given the contribution that our exporters make in terms of the national interest, we’ve got to give them appropriate recognition, and the Australian Export Awards do that. 

Representatives from the event’s two sponsors, Michael Reidy from the Commonwealth Bank and Andrea Govaert from the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation were also on the panel. The difficulties and challenges of exporting in the current financial climate were discussed by the panel, but they also focused on the positives. 

Chris Vonwiller spoke about the emerging economies of India and China and said that Appen had come out of a difficult year stronger and was also optimistic about the coming year. 

Dr John Russell spoke about the rewards of exporting and said one of the most interesting aspects was learning the cultures of each market. Dr Russell also spoke of the benefits of embracing risk. "The entrepreneurial flare is a constant tension. You accommodate an exposure to risk more when you’re a small company. You can know too much and get swamped by it," he said. 

Doug Austin’s tip for budding exporters was to know your market, talk to your buyers and be aware of the risks. He also praised Austrade’s Export Market Development Grants. 

The 2009 Australian Export Award winners will be announced at a National Awards Ceremony on 20 November in Canberra.

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