The Hon Adem Somyurek MP - travel report - Singapore and India, 15 - 25 September 2019
|The Hon Adem Somyurek MP
Minister for Local Government
|Singapore and India
|Date of travel
|15 - 25 September 2019
|No. of official travel days
(including day of departure and day of return)
|Number of accompanying ministerial staff
|Accompanied by spouse in an official capacity
|Funding for the overseas trip was paid by (list department/s or agency)
|Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions
|Air fares (including taxes and fees)
|Accommodation (including taxes and fees)
|Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances)
|Travel cost for minister and staff
*The above costs are not final and complete
Purpose of travel
The purpose of my travel to India and Singapore was to meet with public officials, peak industry associations and Victorian and international businesses operating in Singapore and India to strengthen stakeholder relationships and develop further trade and investment prospects for Victoria. During my visit, I also had the opportunity to showcase the vibrant Victorian Small Business sector and key flagship initiatives by the Victorian Government to strengthen and support the sector.
Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria
Singapore was identified as a priority market in Globally Connected: Victoria's Southeast Asia Trade and Investment Strategy with significant opportunities in premium food, digital connectivity and innovation, financial services and professional services.
While Singapore's open, developed and transparent economy makes it an attractive place for Victorian companies to do business, Victoria's business friendly environment provides Singaporean companies with opportunities to diversify or expand, particularly in the growing digital economy and industries such as food and beverage, infrastructure, energy and logistics. This was highlighted when I met with board members of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore during my visit.
I met with Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and relevant government agencies including A*STAR, Enterprise Singapore and the JTC Corporation. The shared aspiration of both Victoria and Singapore for small and medium enterprises to succeed in an increasingly competitive global market was reinforced at these meetings. The relationships built during these meetings have created the opportunity for further collaboration and sharing of best practice initiatives in this space.
Meetings with the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) noted that Victorian and Singaporean SMEs share a common focus on quality and innovation. These similarities should provide the basis for mutually beneficial partnerships between Victoria and Singapore.
Meetings with Singtel and the Keppel Corporation in Singapore provided the opportunity to connect with parent companies and larger corporations, with existing investment or interest in Victoria to explore their vision for further investment in Victoria. Singtel highlighted the new technologies and future trends it will be pursuing into the future and how Victoria will benefit through their future investment. Keppel, parent company of Victorian Keppel Prince Engineering in Portland, highlighted future growth opportunities in renewable energy, waste-to-energy, smart grid technology, property development, digitisation and data centre construction technology.
Victoria's India Strategy provides a ten-year plan to strengthen Victoria's relationship with India, with the vision that Victoria is a valued knowledge and business partner to India, supported by India capable businesses, strong ties to leaders and sustained connections with the community and public sector. It was in this light that the states of Tamil Nadu (Chennai) and Karnataka (Bengaluru) were selected for my Ministerial visit in September 2019.
Tamil Nadu (Chennai):
Tamil Nadu has risen to the top of India's economic and human development rankings and is considered the 'Detroit of India', being one of the world's top 10 automotive hubs. Like Tamil Nadu, Victoria's economy depends on small businesses, which make up around 98 per cent of all businesses in our state and generate 35 per cent of our economic output.
I commenced in Tamil Nadu with a visit to the Ology Tech School, to celebrate and learn more about the partnership between Victorian company Kids Unlimited and the Velammal Group in providing a comprehensive experience in educating the next generation.
Meetings with officials of the state of Tamil Nadu included the Minister for Industries and Minister for Municipal Administration, Rural Development and Implementation of Special Programs. These discussions focused on the opportunities and challenges for SMEs in both Victoria and Tamil Nadu as well as Tamil Nadu's water management issues, with opportunities to collaborate in this space through Victoria's expertise. This was reiterated in a meeting with the Tamil Nadu Water Investment Company (TWIC) Limited.
I hosted a networking event held with the Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Chennai Chapter, where several entrepreneurs with an interest in Victoria were able to gain insight and expertise through their peers with established links through the Melbourne chapter of TiE. It also showcased the diversity of current and potential investment and interest in Victoria.
The visit to WT Partnership's Chennai office was planned to coincide with a significant announcement of a new project contract for the fast-growing Melbourne based company in India.
Karnataka is the fourth largest economy in India, the second fastest growing technology cluster in the world and home of the Commissioner for Victoria to South Asia. It is a significant source of technology investment into Victoria and presents opportunities in tech, liveability, health, education and manufacturing.
Key highlights of my visit to Bengaluru were the launches of premium Victorian products into the Indian market by two of Victoria's leading small to medium businesses. The first was the launch of the partnership with Savannaah Hotels and Resorts, Alchemy and the Melbourne Gin Company, with the prospect of Melbourne Gin Company's product being distributed more widely across India through the Savannaah Hotels and Resorts Group:
The second was the launch of Melbourne based family owned and operated 'Goat Soap' to the Indian market through the partnership of one of India's premier beauty and wellness networks nurtured through the efforts of the Victorian Government Trade and Investment (VGTI) office in Bengaluru and the Global Victoria team.
Victoria's knowledge partnership with India was also a highlight with the potential for growth particularly in the educational technology sector with Victoria's first ever trade delegation to the 11th DIDAC India conference. This is the Asia Pacific's premium EdTech conference and I was delighted to provide an address at the conference as well as inaugurate the Victorian stand with the EdTech delegates.
I launched the Bengaluru Chapter of the Indo-Australian Chamber of Commerce (IACC) which showcased the attractiveness of Victoria for both small to medium enterprises as well as the diversity of investment opportunities.
I met with NASCOM - the National Association of Software Services - a non-profit organisation that seeks to make India a global leader through the greater use of technology. This meeting highlighted potential opportunities for Victoria to collaborate with their extensive strategy in supporting start-ups and their sustainable growth into the future.
The valued friendship with the city of Bengaluru and the state of Karnataka and opportunities for collaboration was discussed at a meeting with the Commissioner of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). The BBMP's vision to instil participation at citizen level through ward committees and the strong participation of women at this level of government, and potential shared interest in the effective management of solid waste was also part of the discussions.
A visit to the Ecotech Unit at the Karnataka Pollution Control Board showcased the success of another Victorian company, Ecotech, establishing a reputation as a leader in pollution monitoring in India.
Next Steps / Follow Up
Building on Victoria's close and enduring relationship with Singapore, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, remains a priority for the Victorian Government. Small Business Victoria, Global Victoria and the Victorian Government Trade and Investment offices in Singapore and Bengaluru led by their respective commissioners, will continue to work closely with the relevant stakeholders into the future:
- Continuing discussions with key public officials and their relevant agencies in both Singapore and India to gain further insight into how they develop and deliver programs to support SMEs and learn from their international best practice model initiatives. This will in turn also provide an opportunity to develop closer ties with these government agencies in understanding the value of collaboration and partnership with Victoria.
- Create further linkages with peak industry associations and enterprise bodies in Singapore, Chennai and Bengaluru, to gain insight into their strategies for identifying and supporting high value/high growth businesses and innovative ventures as well as promote Victoria's value proposition as a preferred destination for doing business. Continue to work with local Victorian businesses such as Goat Soap, Melbourne Gin Company and others to support them to achieve their best export outcomes.
- To increase the flow of trade with Singapore, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, the Victorian Government will continue working to facilitate more Victorian small businesses to expand globally and attract more international businesses to invest in Victoria
Page last updated: 16 December 2019