The Australian government intends to offer grants ranging from $25,000 to $300,000 to “assist member-based business organisations harness commercial opportunities in Asia for small to medium sized Australian businesses”.
The Asian Century Business Engagement (ACBE) plan is a four-year program that will run from 1 July 2013. Final guidelines have not yet been released but the key goals are to expand the capability of the business groups to
- assist Australian firms access in-market business networks more effectively and develop relationships with business contacts in Asian countries;
- identify and secure more opportunities for Australian firms in regional value chains in Asia;
- strengthen business links between Australia and Asia;
- influence corporate Australia to initiate closer engagement with Asia;
- raise the profile of Australian business capability in Asia; and,
- increase awareness of Australia in Asia, and of Asia in Australia.
However, eligible participants may also be, in their own right, “Australian business chambers based in Asian cities [which are] appropriately registered with local business authorities and provide a letter from the relevant Australian diplomatic or consular mission confirming that the organisation in question is actively involved in promoting networking and business promotion among Australian members and local companies.”