information for global expats

Business Groups, Associations and Networking for Expats in Australia

Submitted: August 2013

Professional networking is a core ingredient of the Australian business culture. You will find numerous networking groups, clubs and professional associations dedicated to business and individual professions. Typically, you will have to sign up to become a member and pay an annual membership fee. In return, you will get access to the group's networking events, publications, online resources and consultation services. Detailed information on how to become a member, various types of membership and the respective fees can be found on the website of a particular network. Most of these groups also have regional and local branches.

Among the major business groups and networks are:

  • Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) – Australia's largest business association with local chambers located across the country. ACCI provides support to businesses, runs networking events and works with the Government to shape business policy.
  • Business Network International (BNI) – this is the Australian branch of the international business network, organised into various local groups known as ‘chapters’.
  • Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA) – one of the leading networks for small businesses in Australia. It engages in advocacy and offers a range of networking events.
  • SME Association of Australia – one of the largest networks for small and medium-sized businesses in Australia. It promotes the interests of SMEs and organises networking events.
  • The Hive – a non-profit networking group dedicated to entrepreneurs in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane who wish to share advice and make new contacts.

There is also a growing number of networks dedicated specifically to women in business. These membership-based networks offer support to businesswomen in Australia and those wishing to start their own business. They also organise regular trainings and networking events. Some of the most prominent networks include:

In addition to this, there are numerous professional networks and associations dedicated to individual professions, such as the Australian Medical Association, Australian Lawyers Alliance, or the Australian Association of Social Workers. For an extensive list of professional, governmental, and business associations in Australia see the Directorate of Associations on the Australian Government Website.

As elsewhere in the world, online networking sites have also become very popular among professionals in Australia. These networks enable both companies and individuals to create an online profile, and join groups of interest. They can be useful tools for self-promotion, recruitment and making new contacts in your field. The most widely-used networking site among professionals in Australia is LinkedIn. The most popular site for those in the creative industry is The Loop.

Expat business professionals might also be interested in the country-specific business groups in Australia. A good starting point is to approach the respective country's Chamber of Commerce in Australia. Most Chambers run membership clubs directed at both, business professionals from the respective country who are doing business in Australia, and business professionals from Australia who are interested in doing business with that particular country. These clubs offer consultation services and organise networking events for their members.

To find the applicable Chamber of Commerce, have a look at the Directorate of Associations on the Australian Government Website and search for the particular country. You will see the contact details and the link to the respective website, e.g. German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Australian-British Chamber of Commerce, or Australia-China Business Council.

For other expat groups in Australia, see Expat Groups.



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