Are you an exporter? Canberra businesses step up for local and national awards

Genevieve Jacobs7 August 2019

Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Aspen Medical CEO Bruce Armstrong with other winners at the ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards in 2017. Photo: Supplied.

Canberra is not immediately apparent as a major export centre. We’re a small city with little manufacturing. But in the world of 21st-century exporting, being nimble and clever is a very big asset especially where you’re trading knowledge.

The ACT annual export awards give business across the Territory a chance to show what they’ve got on a local and national stage.

Last year Aspen Medical, one of Canberra’s biggest quiet achievers, won the Australian Exporter of the Year award, after several years worth of local awards.

It’s a salutary example of what being an export industry now means. Aspen is a health care provider whose projects have ranged from medical evacuations for oil and gas companies to fitting out an Ebola treatment centre in Africa – essentially, projects requiring knowledge and strategic planning.

As the closing date for entries in the Export Awards nears, Canberra Business Chamber CEO Dr Michael Schaper says that similar innovative vision is shaping Canberra’s export industries in 2019.

The economic value of exports for the ACT is around $2.2 billion of products and services, a 10 per cent increase over the previous year.

“Canberra has a growing export sector, with a lot of successful stories emerging in the agriculture, defence, technology, healthcare and education sectors,” Dr Schaper says.

“These businesses are generating new job opportunities, career growth, income and additional skills to Canberra and the capital region. They’re helping to diversify our economy and turn our city into a truly entrepreneurial community.”

That’s part of an essential transformation taking place as the ACT’s private sector continues to grow, working in synergy with, but now often outpacing the economic value of government as a whole.

It’s also a good match for the ACT government’s intentions to create a Capital Region economy that stretches beyond our state borders, harnessing the capacity of a regional population nearing one million, and an international airport.

The Canberra Business Chamber says that we need to champion our exporters with recognition on a national stage.

“We know that there are plenty of other businesses out there who are also exporting but their achievements aren’t being publicised. We want to encourage them,” Dr Schaper said.

ACT finalists automatically proceed to the National Export Awards. Now in their 56th year, the awards are presented by Austrade and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. As one of the longest-running business award programs in Australia, they bestow considerable business value on winners and finalists.

The Canberra Business Chamber can assist with applications for the ACT awards, which are due on August 9. The Chamber says that submissions shouldn’t take too much time and they have experts on hand to help. There are 15 categories covering every industry sector and business type.

Interested businesses can contact the Canberra Business Chamber on 02 6247 4199 or submit applications online.

Original Article published by Genevieve Jacobs on The RiotACT.

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