Leo DenesLeo Denes, CEO & Founder at Australiance,  a company that helps international professionals and entrepreneurs to achieve their goals in Australia. As an expert and an entrepreneur, Leo shares precious insights on doing business in the land down under.

I am from France and came to Australia while I was working for PricewaterhouseCoopers. I have 13-year experience in Management Consulting but I have always considered myself as an entrepreneur. In 2010, I founded Australiance with the objective of assisting other international professionals and entrepreneurs to fulfill their dream of living and working in Australia. We offer a wide range services to companies and startups which want to enter the Australian market. Our mission is to act as your “one-stop shop” to succeed here.


Cultural aspects to consider when setting up a business in Australia

At first sight, the Australian culture is very “laid back” and people are very friendly. The expectations are, nonetheless, very high and it is difficult to get your first leads to trust you and buy your products/services when you don’t have any local reference or case studies.

On the one hand, Australia is very open to disruptive businesses. It doesn’t take long for Uber or Airbnb to become major players, and companies like Rocket Internet have been replicating business models from other countries in Australia for a while. But you stills need to have a good network to gain public recognition.

Australia is one of the most digitized market in the world (rank 4th globally in term of smartphone penetration). Same as traditional business, you should choose your starting point in Australia carefully as the country is huge and the regulations may change from one state to another.


A region open to entrepreneurship

Sydney has become one of the worldwide entrepreneurial hubs, and access to capital is easier than in most developed countries. Even major listed companies finance their innovation through startups or hackathons. Innovation is a big agenda for the new Australian Prime Minister, who declared on December 2015: “Entrepreneurs create jobs, this is why we’re doing so much to encourage new businesses.” There are now numerous tax incentives for small businesses as well as for investors.

The entrepreneurial mind-set is very present in Australia and there are some great success stories coming from Australia like the startup Maestrano that has grown in 6 countries and is now signing with contract with PwC or NAB 2.5 years after their seed funding.

Furthermore, when compared to European countries, it is very easy and quick to set up a business in Australia (if you have the right visa). Getting working visa for your staff may take longer than expected.

Disruption & local partners are key success factors

  • Be disruptive – Australia remains a small market with sometime only 2 or 3 key players per industries. If you come with a proven concept in other geographies and have the right strategy to enter the market, then you are well set for success.
  • Find the right local partners to give you a feedback on your positioning and who can open doors to introduce you to your first clients.

Obstacles to overcome

  • Australia is a very expensive country, so be careful when planning your Year 1 budget, especially the staff costs.
  • If you export products, check carefully the custom duty and conditions (the “Wine Equalisation Tax” is 29% for example and the Good and Services Tax of 10% applies on top of that).

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