Local no more: Australian medium-sized companies are going global in unprecedented numbers

Only 9% of Australian mid-market companies expect to be operating in their home country alone by 2015.

Once they grow to $20 million in revenues per year, Australian companies are charging into the world, their break-neck expansion bringing them into competition with the far larger multinational companies that tend to dominate global trade.

That’s one of several startling insights from a recent report by the Oxford Economics Research Program, sponsored by enterprise software provider SAP.

The global research found Australian medium-sized businesses were far more globally minded than most. According to the results, by 2016 the proportion of such businesses expecting to generate between 21-40% of their revenues from overseas will rise to 54%, which is well above the global average of 36%.

“The Australian market is very small,” says Jeanette Corley, the COO of medical manufacturer Grifols Australia.

“If you want to stay as a two or three person company and deal in a specific niche, that’s fine, you probably don’t need to go overseas. But if you want to expand, research and development is very difficult. You need [bigger markets] to be able to fund that.”

The survey was conducted in April with 100 Australian businesses, representing the manufacturing, professional services, consumer products, retail and wholesale industries. Most had revenues between $100 million and $249 million, while 30% had revenues between $20 million and $99 million.

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