Helping businesses to export and create new opportunities

The Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, has launched a $20 million program that will help small and medium businesses grow, export and generate local Australian jobs.

The Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Export Hubs Initiative, announced in the 2018–19 Budget, will fund successful applicants to develop local and regional hubs that will help local firms begin to export.

“Beginning to export can be challenging but there are massive opportunities for Australian firms to take their products, processes and services to big markets in our region and around the world, increasing revenue and creating new jobs,” Minister Andrews said.

“Export hubs will help Australian companies overcome these challenges and begin to export.

“We know that this sort of practical assistance can be invaluable for local businesses.

“For example, FIAL – the Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre – helped Melbourne business Crazy Dragon to create contacts and networks across Asia. It has started to export dumplings to China and now forecasts to double its revenue in twelve months.

“The hubs will help businesses team up with other firms and through activities such as developing collective brands, take advantage of local infrastructure to boost business operations, and position regional businesses to participate in global supply chains.

“The Coalition Government is committed to supporting businesses of all sizes to take their products and services to the world.”

The program will fund new and existing export hubs in the priority Growth Centre sectors: Advanced Manufacturing; Cyber Security; Food and Agribusiness; Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals; Mining Equipment, Technology and Services; and Oil, Gas and Energy Resources.

The SME Export Hubs Initiative will complement existing initiatives, including the Industry Growth Centres Initiative, the Entrepreneurs’ Programme, and services and programs delivered by Austrade, including the Export Market Development Grants scheme.

The initiative will provide matched funding of up to $1.5 million for up to four years from 2018–19 to 2020–21. Matched funding can come from sources other than the Commonwealth, such as state and local governments and industry.

The SME Export Hubs are part of the Taking Local Business Global initiative announced by the Coalition Government to help businesses to maximise opportunities – using their resources, skills and networks to improve their productivity and grow exports and jobs.

For more information about the initiative and how to apply visit

Additional information - SME Exports Hub Initiative

What are Export Hubs?

  • Export hubs are business-to-business networks that help small businesses harness opportunities in global marketplaces.
  • A hub includes a group of businesses and other organisations, and are usually based in a specific geographical region.
  • They drive engagement between local businesses through developing collective brands and leveraging local infrastructure.
  • Export hubs increase information and resource sharing between businesses, and help them get into global supply chains.
  • Export hubs provide professional, strategic and coordination support for groups of small businesses to export more. 

What will the Export Hubs do?

  • Export hubs will help groups of small businesses to help break down the barriers they face when they start exporting by increasing information and resource sharing.
  • Export hubs will:
    • deliver improved local capability to increase exports, encourage growth and create jobs
    • develop and implement export strategies to build on local competitive strengths and innovation potential, and are aligned with the national strategies of the Growth Centres
    • provide market intelligence about export opportunities
    • help small business access primary buyers and supply chains through export networking and supply chain events.
    • Highlight international market opportunities and identify opportunities for firms in different sectors to work together (e.g. between packaging, food, biotechnology and transport firms)
    • support skills development through training and seminars.

How do Export Hubs relate to Industry Growth Centres?

  • Hubs will need to align with the six Growth Centre sectors: Advanced Manufacturing; Cyber Security; Food and Agribusiness; Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals; Mining Equipment, Technology and Services; and Oil, Gas and Energy Resources.

Media contact: Minister Andrews' office 02 6277 7070