Australian Women in Export: A Shared Vision

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Business, and export in particular, is traditionally a masculine discipline. But a tide of change is being brought about by governments, industry associations and at the grass roots level. We’re proud to say that we are joining these efforts, and reaping the rewards.

Women starting business at similar rates to men

Well above the global average, Australian women are starting new business ventures at approximately the same rate as their male counterparts, the 2010 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Global Report found.

However, their business aspirations differ

The GEM study found a difference between the aspirations of the genders to expand their businesses, however. 24 per cent of women (compared with 42 per cent of men) said they wanted to grow their business to more than 5 employees within the next five years, and just 6 per cent of women planned to internationalise their business (compared with 14 per cent of men).

Export expands business growth for women-led businesses, despite less access to funding

According to Women in Global Business (WIGB)’s 2013 report Australia’s Underestimated Resource: women doing business globally, Australian women-owned internationally active organisations were more likely to have staff than women’s businesses on average: 47% employed more than five employees, compared with 13% for all women-owned businesses in November 2012.

This is supported by the results from WIGB’s 2015 report Women, global trade and what it takes to succeed, which details that a third of all Australian women-led businesses which expand offshore make more than half their sales revenue internationally.

It’s important to note here that the WIGB report also found that 39 per cent of female exporters said gender had affected their access to finance options. So there is still work to be done.

Our vision for women in export

As an Australian export consultancy, we have an integral part to play in growing this trend. Our vision is to see a thriving export industry, driven by market opportunities, knowledge and connections; and this can only be strengthened by the integrity, drive and passion of female-led enterprises and female leadership more generally within the industry. We’re working to see as many females as males contributing to this shared vision, and at the same time nourishing their own dreams, developing their own capabilities and reaping the rewards. As we see it, there is so much opportunity out there on the global stage – there is definitely room for us all.  

Our work towards this vision

This vision needs to be addressed at all levels of operation and planning; and we are striving to contribute from within our own operations. As a hub of learning we have the privilege of seeding interest in this lucrative sector in the minds of young business professionals coming through our universities. Of those that have worked with and interned for us, we have had 12 females (currently a clean 50 per cent) – and our intake keeps growing.

Not only that; we make real efforts to provide an enriching experience of the industry to our interns, contractors and staff. We focus on growing the capability of our people as well as our clients. We offer experiential learning through the variety of exposure to different types of work, from market reports to presentations for workshops, coordinating events, financial modeling, video animation; individual client work, and export representation.  

One of our Project Coordinators, Juliana Garcia, travelled to international markets with Najib for Bubs & Wholefields earlier this year. She attended every meeting with Najib and learnt about buyer negotiation and pitching. Read their field notes here.

Project Coordinator Louisa Zhang attended our recent organic tour to Singapore and Hong Kong. Traveling overseas with 6 companies, sitting in on meetings, and of course organising the whole program was a unique and valuable experience in her professional development. Read about the organic supermarket visits here.

On a smaller but more frequent scale, we also strive to create opportunities to attend training workshops and industry events to enrich our team, men and women alike, so that we may all grow together. That’s the vision.

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash