(Australian Associated Press)
As top athletes prepare to converge on the Gold Coast for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the business world is warming up for its own event.
And while there is no vying for gold medals on Queensland’s Trade 2018 program, many attendees will be aiming for a share in any spoils on offer, in the form of new business deals, trade partnerships and unique insights.
Trade 2018 is a range of forums, business matching sessions, formal events and receptions, networking opportunities and site visits on the Gold Coast, and across Queensland, coinciding with the Games.
It will play host to a vast network of entrepreneurs, investors and exporters from at least 40 different countries in Asia, Africa, South America, North America, Europe and, of course, Australia.
The program will begin with The Commonwealth – Business Advantage and Opportunities event on April 4 (coinciding with the opening ceremony), when The Economist’s executive editor Daniel Franklin is due to explore the Commonwealth’s key business prospects, challenges and future trends and forecasts.
“Changes in politics and technology make this a challenging time for trade, but are also prompting a search for new opportunities,” Mr Franklin says.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the program aims to ensure a lasting legacy for the delegates of all countries involved.
“This is a testament to the fact that the Commonwealth Games isn’t just about sport – it’s about making sure Queensland, and in particular the Gold Coast, is forefront in the minds of the world’s decision-makers,” Ms Palaszczuk says.
“We have one of the best line-ups of speakers the business world has ever seen and we’re bringing them all to Queensland.”
Also at the launch event, prominent thought leaders from the public and private sectors will discuss what the Commonwealth means to them and their organisations.
These leaders will also share their insights on how delegates can take advantage of doing business within the organisation.
Following that, a Global Entrepreneur and Investor Exchange will allow delegates to meet, match, and learn about the challenges of building businesses to global scale, of raising capital and of seeking global investment.
Delegates will also get to hear from tech luminaries like The Shark Tank Australia’s Steve Baxter and trailblazing home-grown app developer Luke Annear.
There will be a Retail Commerce Forum for food buyers, wholesalers, distributors, exporters and manufacturers to discuss trends and hear the latest insights from business leaders like Simon Lee, chief executive of Malaysian pharmaceuticals firm TIGAS Berjaya, and Chris Morley, global commercial manager of Australia’s Retail Global.
Queensland’s Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones is urging locals to get involved, saying the program is designed to help companies in the state leverage the Games to stimulate business growth and investment.
“The Games will generate around $4 billion for Queensland’s economy but the sky is the limit when it comes to using this great event as a springboard to more opportunities,” she says.
One roundtable event is set to feature Australian leaders and innovators discussing trends driving change in farming, food and beverage processing and marketing – an extremely timely topic given Australia’s exposure to Asia’s growing middle class.
Other roundtables on the potential power of sport beyond entertainment and the advantage of globally diverse workforces are on the agenda.
As well as fostering new diverse partnerships, it’s anticipated Trade 2018 will help international investors, collaborators and innovators discover novel opportunities on the Gold Coast and in Queensland.
Open and invitation-only business matching events and site visits are set to give participants a chance to invest in and collaborate with the dynamic sectors of innovation, health and knowledge, international education and training, food, sport, agribusiness and film and television production.
Three briefing and network events will promote Australia’s trade and investment opportunities with India, Canada and the Pacific Islands and offer the opportunity to forge collaborations.
For the Gold Coast, the most important part of the Trade 2018 program is the opportunity to reveal the potential of its Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct, a collaborative space for learning, research, knowledge creation and the commercialisation of newly developed technologies.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate wants Trade 2018 to create lasting legacy for his city, and all the international and local participants.
“In many ways, Trade 2018 is as important as the Games program itself,” he says.
“To drive the legacy well beyond 2018 we must build long-term partnerships in commerce, trade and investment.”
The Trade 2018 program will run from April 3 to April 16 on the Gold Coast and in cities and regions across Queensland.
For more information head to http://commonwealthhouse.com.au
AAP, in collaboration with the City of Gold Coast and Gold Coast Tourism, is publishing a range of newsworthy content in the lead-up to the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.