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Landing Pads’ program: Australian government support for taking startups overseas

If you are an Australian startup and are looking to scale up by going global, here’s your chance to get access to an Australian government support for startups program that will help you.

As uncertain times continue to stay as the norm, we see in the Australian Budget 2021, that the Australian government is pumping more various forms of funding into providing their local Australian startups with grants and assistance programs. This is in hopes to give assistance to the new businesses, so as to grow the Australian economy and recover from the tough economic times. These forms of assistance vary from industry to industry and taking into consideration other factors like location and the nature of the business activity.

So, what better way to do so than to introduce one of the Australian government support for startups programs: Landing Pads Program. This program aims to help market-ready startups and scale-ups to dive into expanding into global innovation hotspots.

Venturing into a new market is risky and can be very costly for your startup company. As such, it is essential that your company has sufficient funding, resources, and tools to run your business as it expands globally.

Who is Austrade?

The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) is Australia’s government agency for trade and investment. Their job is to connect Australian businesses to the global audience by supporting businesses through international education and training.

Additionally, Austrade advises the Australian government in her trade and investment policies whilst also raising awareness of contemporary Australian capabilities.

What is Landing Pads?

Landing Pads is an initiative and government support kicked off by the Australian government as a part of Austrade’s global service for Australian startups, in 2016 to help local small businesses and entrepreneurs run their businesses and bring growth. This is especially to “…support Australian Fintech, Insuretech, and Regtech scale-ups looking to expand globally” as stated in Austrade Submission in 2020.

What is the Landing Pads’ Program?

The Landing Pads Program helps market-ready Australian startups with a workspace to gain access to resources that will help them with their global expansion goals into a new market.

As of September 2020, there have been 254 Australian startups that have accessed this program and gained educational and market testing elements.

The Australian startups under this program will be able to access these resources:

  • 90 days residency at a coworking space
  • Tap into Austrade’s network to meet potential clients and investors
  • Mentorship opportunities
  • Introduction to government agencies and the programs and funding available
  • Referrals to professional services and advisory firms
  • Learn the negotiation of local business culture

Landing Pads Program is essentially a point of departure whenever your startup is ready to be in the market.

Why apply for the Landing Pads’ Program?

This program was crafted for founders, like yourself, to receive all the resources and opportunities to make your expansion a successful and easier one.

Not only will you be able to gain access to a dedicated Landing Pad manager who will help you one-on-one with the assistance you need but also a co-working space for 90 days, access to in-market entrepreneurs in residence, connections to local founder communities, and be introduced to Austrade customer networks, partners, and contacts.

You will also be able to receive assistance beyond the program when you become Landing Pads’ alumni, which includes continuous access to a network of corporate service providers, programs, and other stakeholders that can provide assistance.

An Austrade Landing Pad Manager

As the program is supported by Austrade, they will combine the knowledge and resources across 81 offices in 48 markets to help your startup go global.

Therefore, you will have a Landing Pad manager who will help guide you individually with anything business development and how to step into the world of the global startup ecosystem.

You can be sure to expect that they will help in:

  • Identifying and targeting your ideal customer profile
  • Learning how to increase your connection to build relationships with communities
  • Accessing potential investors like venture capitalists or angel investors
  • Making referrals to service providers to help in professional services
  • Understanding the local business culture and what it means for your business

Landing Pads’ Alumni

Landing Pads has a vibrant network of alumni from all the 5 cities they are strategically located at.

Here are some of the companies who have graduated from Landing Pads in each city:

  • San Francisco: Agridigital, Gruntify, Quantify Technology, Sellcrowd, Tekuma
  • Tel Aviv: 99starts, myInterview, MPAL, SWAN Systems, Theatrix VR
  • Shanghai: Ailytic, BAI Games, CrowdfundUP, Language Your Way Pty Ltd, TwoHands
  • Berlin: 2thinknow, CADwalk, LexX Technologies, Universal Site Monitoring, Vivify Textiles
  • Singapore: Bricks + Agent, Codebots, Freight Exchange, GreenSync, Prosple

They are the community with whom you will also be able to continue connecting even after your own graduation from Landing Pads!

What are the eligibility and requirements for the Landing Pads’ Program?

Landing Pads have 5 characteristics of a startup that they are looking for:

  1. Vision
  2. Scalable
  3. Traction
  4. Differentiation
  5. Market relevance

These are Australian startups who are not only ideating about going global but should be able to answer the questions posed under each aspect.

Some questions to consider are:

  • How would 90 days in a Landing Pad make a difference to your startup?
  • What are your startup’s objectives?
  • Do you have existing investors, funds, partners, or sales and customers?
  • How many customers can your product or service serve?

These are questions that you will have to also answer when filling up the application form, so it is crucial and will save you time if you have them prepared.

On their website, they have also helpfully listed 11 steps to self-assess if your company is ready for expansion. Succinctly encapsulated in 3 main actionable steps: Know, Access, and Grow, and when further broken down into the 11 steps:

  1. Determine whether you’re ready to go global
  2. Select an overseas market that’s right for your product or service
  3. Understand your target customer
  4. Get to know your competitors
  5. Consider your customer acquisition strategy
  6. Determine your mode of entry
  7. Set your pricing model
  8. Evaluate possible business structures
  9. Understand the legal and regulatory environment of your target market
  10. Identify grants and funding opportunities
  11. Scale your business

It is helpful to know intrinsically if your company is ready for expansion because it is going to be a different ball game altogether. Then, be searching for tangible ways like equipping yourself and your international team with the knowledge necessary to make it a smoother transition.


Where are the Landing Pads’ locations?

The 5 strategic locations Landing Pads have been selected as they have a good status of being a global innovation hub.

They are:

  • San Francisco: Located at WeWork
  • Tel Aviv: Located at South of Salame (SOSA)
  • Shanghai: Located at coworking space XNode
  • Berlin: Located at coworking space betahaus
  • Singapore: Located at JustCo at UIC Building

How do I apply for the Landing Pads’ Program?

The application process is simple and straightforward.

All you need to do is to apply online through the link here and submit the following information:

  • Contact information
  • Business description
  • Questions based on their selection criteria (Vision, Scalability, Traction, Differentiation, Market Relevance)
  • Additional information like team and pitch deck

If you are accepted into the program, you will be notified according to the cohort you have applied for. If you are not accepted into the program, you are still encouraged to continue applying as the program is competitive.

What costs are covered by the program?

Austrade will provide the coworking space in an existing accelerator. They will also cover the costs for the services as stated under “What is the Landing Pads’ Program?”.

Therefore, the representative of your company present for the program will have to cover the following costs on their own and will not be covered by Austrade.

These are:

  • Return flights
  • Accommodation for the duration of your stay
  • Visas
  • Insurance

Are there any financial support schemes that my startup may be able to access?

Austrade also offers the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) which helps Australian companies grow exports in global markets. There have been some changes that take effect from 1 July 2021, as such do click the link here to find out the eligibility requirements and process of application.

You can check out more of their Frequently Asked Questions on the Landing Pads’ Program here.

What business opportunities are there outside of Australia?

There are many booming opportunities your startup can be exploring, especially in Southeast Asia and English-speaking markets like the United States or the United Kingdom.

Here are some that we think might be of interest!

Business opportunities in Southeast Asia

With 11 countries here in Southeast Asia, and 10 being a part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), there are many business opportunities to consider expanding your startup to.

Starting from Indonesia and the Philippines, the two largest archipelagic countries in Southeast Asia, there is a huge opportunity for e-commerce and manufacturing. This is also one of the top 3 fast-growing industries in countries like Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia as well.

This part of the world is also known for its huge digital economy, where super-apps like Tokopedia, Grab, and Gojek originated. In Southeast Asia, the use of mobile phones, in especially the emerging markets, is why ride-sharing and delivery services to be popular.

In more developed markets like Singapore, the top industries are in the fintech and cybersecurity industries. Singapore, as well as Malaysia and Thailand, are also lauded for being the top 3 countries on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index. Find out more about other business indexes for the above-mentioned countries in our recent article: Business Opportunities and Challenges in Southeast Asian Markets: What you need to know

Business opportunities in the US and the UK

The US is the world’s largest economy and it helps that the most common language spoken is English. Business opportunities are mostly also in the e-commerce and cybersecurity industries. Additionally, the US has a huge domestic market. Hence, if you think that your product or service is a great market-product fit, it could really boost your business with a huge population present.

As of 2020, London is ranked second on the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking. London has become increasingly attractive to the tech scene, with over 50,000 tech employees and £7.6B venture capital investment raised last year in 2020. Therefore, you don’t want to miss out on being in one of the hottest places for tech startups and grow alongside some big companies.

If your business wants to have a global brand and presence, starting in both the US and Uk will position you well for global expansion.

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