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Equinor donate USD 500,000 to Norwegian Refugee Council and the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund

Now, more than ever, safety and caring for people comes first. In Equinor, health and safety are always our top priority—but the magnitude of the corona crisis calls for a broader contribution. That’s why we’re announcing donations of USD 500,000 each to Norwegian Refugee Council and the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in support of the World Health Organization powered by Swiss Philanthropy Foundation and UN Foundation.

A number of our employees are working from home offices at present, but certain tasks are more difficult than others to carry out there. So when you can’t use a geology lab onsite at the office, what about bringing the geology lab home? 📲 Our proprietary “Rock’n Log” tool makes it possible for our geologists to study Johan Sverdrup subsurface core samples from the safety of their living rooms and kitchens. “How cool is that? This gives us enormous opportunities 🤩,” says Elisabeth Bratli, who uses the technology in her workday.

 

 

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COVID-19 update from Norwegian Companies in Australia

 

An update on the current situation from a few Norwegian companies in Australia

May 2020

ABSTRACT

This report provides information about eight different companies. Ekornes, Viking Cruises, Nordic Bev, 50 Degrees North, Handelsbanken, Tieto, DNV Global and Q-Free are all members of Norwegian Australian Chamber of Commerce

(NACC). You can read about what the companies do and how they are doing now. Some of the companies have interesting resources, and ongoing campaigns we would like to share. Covid-19 has forced many businesses to make big changes. You can read about how NACC´s members are dealing with the current situation in this Covid-19 update.

 

Ekornes

 

Ekornes is Europe’s biggest furniture producer. The company is best known for its famous brand Stressless, which is sold in over 40 countries, and in several Australian furniture shops like David Jones and Easy Living. They think that a great idea can come from anywhere, and encourage their employees to be a part of a company that creates.

 

Ekornes is a company that cares for the environment. They are experts in reuse of materials, and always avoid using extra resources. Nothing goes to waste in their production process, and left overs from sofas and chairs are sold to other businesses who creates smaller products.

 

The business is currently applying to become a member of the Leather Working Group (LWG) to promote improvement in the leather manufacturing industry by creating alignment on environmental priorities (Ekornes, 2020)

 

They also have a summer intern program, which is a great opportunity for young people to become a part of a big brand. This is advertised on Ekornes Facebook page.

 

Covid-19 update:

  • The Stressless team are helping healthcare workers globally as a way of saying thankyou. The sewing department in Norway and America has turned their skills to producing reusable facemasks to be used in hospitals. As long as there is a demand, the team will continue to do what they can to help.
  • Working from home special offer, 25% off the luxury office collection.

 

 

Viking cruises

 

Viking Cruises is a cruise line, voted the world´s best. Since founded in 1997, they have expanded massively, and are introducing new cruises regularly. On their webpage you can even do a virtual tour of all their cruises.

 

In 2022 they are launching expedition journeys to arctic and Antarctica, as well as North America´s great lakes. The cruise line also recently introduced Viking Mississippi 2022-2023.  Viking cruises continues to introduce new destinations, and is a growing company.

 

Viking Cruises recently partnered with TED, a non-profit organisation devoted to spreading bold new ideas and sparking conversation. Ted talks are now screened on board Viking Cruises.

 

Covid-19 update:

 

  • The business has temporarily suspended all cruise operations until May 1. 2020. Viking Cruises is offering full refunds for bookings or a 125% voucher for a future cruise.

 

 

Nordic Bev

 

Nordic Bev is a small Norwegian business making gins, aquavit, beers, ciders and other drinks. The business is most famous for its Harahorn gin, which was recently awarded number 5 spirit in the world by London Spirits Competition 2020. Nordic Bev´s Harahorn gin has been spotted in several bars and restaurants in Hong Kong, and it is a business with great growth potential.

 

The gin is the best selling premium gin in Norway, and the company´s vision is to start the fairy tail in the rest of the world, and open minds to Harahorn gin and other drinks.

 

The company has a sustainable way to harvest. Their secret and most important ingredient is called einebær and is a berry that grows high up in the Norwegian mountains. It takes 2 years to grow, and gives the spirits a powerful taste.

 

Covid-19 update: Operating as per usual with online sales.

 

 

50 degrees north

 

50 Degrees North is a company passionate about their own home – the Nordic region. They want people to have an authentic experience that creates life long memories. The company has offices in Norway, Canada and Australia. Lapland tour and a tour of the Norwegian fjords 2020 are the newest tours introduced in 2020.

 

The business is active on social media, and while people cannot travel, they want to spread positivity and the Norwegian Term “hygge”. This term is about creating cosy and peaceful environments, and the business is encouraging people to spread hygge in these uncertain times.

 

They want people to have something to look forward to, and just opened up for family Christmas holidays 2021 bookings.

 

Covid-19 update:

 

  • 50 Degrees North is not planning travels at the moment, but will open for bookings again in September 2020.

 

 

Handelsbanken

 

Handelsbanken is the only Nordic bank with presence in Australia. The company has more than 12.000 employees, where 40% are employed outside Sweden. They are also proud to announce that at the moment 40% of all their managers are women. The bank wants to be a sustainable business, and focuses on strong, long lasting business relationships, low risk taking and cost awareness.

 

Looking at the summary for Q1 2020, the operating profit went down by 10%. This was expected because of Covid-19. What they also announced in the report is that their costumer satisfaction was shown to be an index of 72.6 compared to the average of 65.6.

 

Covid-19 update:

 

  • Handelsbanken recently invested SEK 220 million in Covid-19 response bond, and want to contribute to easing the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • All services are available as usual.
  • Handelsbanken offers temporary financial support for individuals who are impacted by the coronavirus.

 

Q-Free

 

Q-Free is a global supplier of class-leading Tolling, Parking, Traffic Management and Connected ITS (C-ITS)/Connected Vehicle solutions. The company is working to maintain and improve the flow in an increasingly complex traffic environment

 

In the first quarter of 2020 Q-Free reported a 10% drop in revenues. This quarter was negatively impacted by delayed purchase orders deliveries in the Traffic Management segment. The company is 6% up from previous quarter.

 

Covid-19 update:

 

  • Q-Free has taken the necessary action across its different offices to ensure that colleagues, clients and the public in general are kept safe. Most colleagues are working form home in countries where this is required.
  • Business continues as usual while respecting the instructions outlined by authorities.

 

 

DNV Global

 

DNV GL is an independent expert in risk management and quality assurance. The company provides customers with facts and reliable insights so that critical decisions can be made with confidence. DNV GL´s purpose is to safeguard life, property and the environment.

 

The business focuses on being safer, smarter and greener, and signed the United Nation´s nine sustainable ocean principles earlier this year. By doing this DNV GL has committed to providing both customers with expertise on how to manage risks while safely exploring further, and setting the standard for future generations.

Covid-19 update:

 

  • Business continues.
  • DNV GL´s employees have limited their business travel to essential only since early March, and are continuing to support customers virtually wherever possible.
  • The business has increased focus on providing remote surveys and audits, online support and training, and continued communication with key contacts at DNV GL.

 

 

Tieto

 

Tieto creates digital advantage for businesses and society, and has a global team of 15 000 employees in almost 20 countries. The company foster an open source culture that promotes respect for every individual, openness, good teamwork, diversity and equal opportunities.

 

Tieto aims to minimise their environmental impact along their value chain. The company´s overall goal is to reduce the global CO2 emissions of their indirect energy consumption by 50% by 2020.

Covid-19 update:

 

  • Tieto has taken strict measures to mitigate the potential financial impact of Covid-19 pandemic to ensure health and safety of employees and ensure critical services to customers.
  • Current guidance, according to which Tieto expects its comparable full-year adjusted operating profit (EBIT) to increase from the previous year´s level, is withdrawn.

 

Resources/links

https://www.stressless.com/nb-no/var-historie/caring-for-the-earth

https://www.afr.com/life-and-luxury/ekornesimg-furniture-expands-market-with-more-affordable-still-as-excellent-brand-20150614-ghnlca

https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/press/press-releases/viking-temporarily-suspends-cruise-operations.html

https://www.facebook.com/VikingAUNZ/?brand_redir=122446663491

https://www.facebook.com/NordicBevAsia/

https://www.handelsbanken.com/en/sustainability

https://www.tietoevry.com/en/newsroom/all-news-and-releases/stock-exchange-releases/2020/03/tietoevry-withdraws-its-guidance-for-2020–uncertain-market-outlook-due-to-covid-19/

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COVID-19 Drives Positive Outcomes for Stentofon

Stentofon, one of our Business Members, is experiencing some impressive and unprecedented positive effects from COVID-19: an incredible influx in inquiries for its Australian operation focused on Waste Sites Resource Recovery and sites with Track Gate, to name a few.

Here are some of the sentiments currently being expressed by Stentofon’s customers which they shared with us:

  • Clients don’t want people getting out of cars and talking to staff face-to-face so Stentofon solved that thanks to their Norwegian Noise Cancelling Intercoms allowing drivers and passengers to remain in the car with their engines still running
  • Since Intercom buttons are a place for COVID-19 transfer, Stentofon solved this customer issue by using its technology so that a Control Room can initiate a call to the driver, providing a hands-free reply
  • As clients did not want people passing things back and forth – Stentofon’s technology has enabled conversations to take place remotely, allowing appropriate dockets to be printed and issued allowing drivers and staff to carry on their work in a safe and hygienic manner

While Stentofon’s technology has existed for years, with its initial deployment in the Norwegian North Sea, it is uplifting to now see it helping Australian businesses and Australian families stay safe and keep working!

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Covid-19: How SEARCHER SEISMIC Reaps Unexpected Benefits and Positive Outcomes

Our Business member, Perth based Searcher Seismic, a geoscience data and technology enabling company in the exploration, geology, petroleum and gas sectors  – and its sister companies Finder Energy, Theia Energy (clean oil fuelling + Great Sandy Dessert Project) and Discover Geoscience (Petroleum Subsurface Consultancy) – like many organisations, have now moved its workforce on to a reduced working schedule and remotely for the first time. This has largely been in response to their clients: major oil companies slashing and reducing their budgets left right and centre.

But as Searcher Seismic’s Founder and Managing Director, Odd Arne Larsen, has observed together with his co-owner Jan Ostby, not only are they learning a lot from the impact COVID‐19 is having on their business so far but also on how their staff and oil companies are rapidly adapting to a new way of working remotely which has resulted in some interesting outcomes for them all.

Some of our senior geo’s believed you had to always go to the office to put in a day of honest work. However after a short period of time they find themselves enjoying the flexibility working from home can give. Staff with small children, especially with schools being closed during the main COVID-19 outbreak, are finding working from home more challenging. However, we are seeing some of these staff now coming back and telling us that with schools opening they would like to be working more from home in the future when things return to normal.

Odd and Jan have also been surprised how fast the oil companies and contractors responded to the changed work environment. Pre the COVID-19 pandemic, you had to meet face-to-face to discuss or negotiate your business. This was the case especially if several technical advisors or managers were involved in the process. The COVID-19 measures have demonstrated that productive meetings can be held remotely via video conferencing which is more time efficient and less costly.  However, it is noted that there will always be the need to meet in person, albeit maybe not that often anymore?

Before the pandemic there was an expectation that if you cared about your business relationships you had to travel, even long distances, to meet with clients and project partners. The COVID-19 measures have reset these expectations and highlighted the effectiveness of video conferencing which will provide efficiency and effective benefits in the future.

This pandemic has forced business to deal with technical challenges associated with video conferencing facilities and be more familiar with the various technologies to be able to participate across the different video conferences applications.

For those members and companies who are targeting and working in the sectors that Odd and Jan’s  companies specialises in, check out their interest publications and resources which provide sector insights and updates on how its technology and technical know‐how are leading the way to unlocking further commercial potential and outcomes. The Searcher Seismic, Finder Energy or Discover Geoscience websites being the central communications hub allowing the oil companies  to browse extensive data libraries, evaluating farming opportunities or looking for subsurface consultancy support. You will also find their technical papers plus being informed on their latest and most recent news and developments. And if you make contact with Odd or Jan you may even get some tips on working remotely!

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COVID-19 and Networking message from Sophia Demetriades

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Nordic Golf Day Slide Show 2020

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Corporate Member – Polygot Group – Shares HR COVID-19 Updates

Our Corporate member, POLYGOT GROUP, who specialise in HR Resources, has stepped forward to share with us some of their HR COVID-19 Updates and FAQs, including some very useful links:

 

If you would like further information or assistance, please contact Laura Pigot at Polygot Group.

Many thanks to the Polygot Group Team. 

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Good Design Awards Australia honors Cinderella Incineration Toilets in two categories

By: Trude B-J Margel

On July 11th, Cinderella received the coveted Good Design Award in two categories at the 2019 Good Design Awards Ceremony held at The Star in Sydney, Australia. On hand to receive the Good Design Awards in front of a festive clad audience of over 1000 were Cinderella Eco Group’s Australian team. The Good Design Awards jury presented Cinderella Incineration Toilets with awards in Best Engineering Design and Best Product Design, Home and Building.

Awarding Good Design since 1958
Good Design Australia is an international design promotion organization responsible for managing Australia’s annual Good Design Awards and other signature design events. Dating back to 1958, the organization is “committed to promoting the importance of design to business, industry, government and the general public and the critical role it plays in creating a better, safer and more prosperous world as the key to increasing social well-being and prosperity through empathy and insight, “ according to the Good Design Awards background information.


Good Design trophies

“Congratulations to Cinderella Eco Group”, writes General Manager Rachel Wye of Good Design Australia upon announcing the awards, “this is a significant achievement and one you should be very proud of considering the very high caliber of submissions received this year across the 10 main design disciplines and 28 sub-categories.”

Winning Good Design Awards in two categories, Best Engineering Design and Best Product Design, Home and Building, is an honor that places Cinderella Eco Group among the leading providers of sustainably designed products and services on the Australian market, among key drivers of innovation, economic growth, export and productivity and an essential link between creativity, innovation and commercial success.

“We are absolutely thrilled about winning this award among so many wonderful contenders,” says Gunhild Sjøvik, Group CEO of Cinderella Eco Group in Norway. “To be recognized in this way, means a great deal to us in our work to provide alternative sanitation to Australia. We launched on the Australian market in 2018 and this is a wonderful lift for the awareness of our products. We have a great team in place in Australia who have already made an impression on the public and our newest consumers, looking for sanitary solutions that provide comfort and sustainability without the use of water or harmful chemicals.”

Made for Australia
“Cinderella’s incineration technology represents an innovative, waterless waste-handling process that has met global attention from areas of the world totally lacking in sewage systems and where water is a threatened resource, to the leisure home owner looking to find comfortable, hygienic solutions for isolated areas close to nature without leaving any ecological footprint,” explains Anette and Darren Helleren, Cinderella’s dealer at Scandinavian Eco Solution Pty Ltd., in Victoria. ”The Cinderella Incineration Toilet is ideal for the Australian market and we’re very excited that they have won this prestigious award.”


Cinderella Eco Group’s dealers at Scandinavian Eco Solution Pty Ltd., in Victoria, Anette and Darren Helleren at the Good Design Awards ceremony

“We are presenting the Cinderella Incineration Toilet in many arenas,” Mr Trent Bichel of AKT Mobile Systems, Cinderella’s dealer in Queensland confirms “There is a large potential for use in the site welfare industry where hundreds of buildings are being built in areas without sewage and where this is currently being transported by road. “

“The Cinderella Incineration Toilet is experiencing a wonderful reception in the Australian market,” Mr. Peter G. Hocking, general manager at the head office of Cinderella Eco Australia Pty Ltd in Sydney agrees, “We look forward to sharing the knowledge and expertise from Cinderella’s 20 years of experience in the Nordic region, Europe and Canada in delighting Australian consumers and making a significant difference to people’s lives. The fact that Cinderella Incineration Toilets is honored with the Good Design Awards in not one, but two categories, confirms the value and potential for the Australian market.”

Full article from:https://www.cinderellaeco.com/au/articles/good-design-awards-australia-honors-cinderella-incineration-toilets-in-two-categories/ 

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Why You Should Join a Chamber of Commerce

By Global Mobility Immigration Lawyers (GLOMO)

“How’s business?” the old greeting goes.  But these days, one might do better to ask: “Where’s business?”

Thanks to advances in technology, we now operate in a global marketplace where Australia is but one small, albeit magnificent, stall. All commerce has become, whether directly or indirectly, international commerce.

It can be a little overwhelming.

Fortunately, where there is commerce there are, more often than not, chambers of commerce, making it easier to negotiate the immense opportunities, and not a few risks, in this big marketplace of ours.

What is a Chamber of Commerce?

In a nutshell, a chamber of commerce is a member organisation that organises and promotes the common interests of a business community.

But what exactly does a chamber of commerce do?

And why should you join one – that is, what’s in it for you?

We decided to interview a number of chambers to get down into the nitty gritty of why you, your business and your staff, can benefit from joining a chamber of commerce.

What do Chambers of Commerce do?

A common misconception is that chambers of commerce are merely organisations that exist solely to promote business.

Yes, business is a cornerstone of any chamber, but the reality is more complex.

Chambers of Commerce work across various sectors: trade, industry, advocacy, as well as national and international mobility.

While actively promoting members, chambers also endorse their local and broader communities. By facilitating relationships, chambers of commerce ensure that businesses are able to collaborate in creating opportunities for themselves, their partners, and their clients.

There is no single model followed by chambers of commerce, and their mandates might be State, National or International. They may also be private, compulsory, or community based. More on this below.

Geographical Chambers

State, National, and International Chambers are defined largely by their physical location and reach. For example, a State based chamber, like the NSW Business Chamber, advocates for business owners specifically within NSW.

Likewise, International Chambers will usually promote relationships and business opportunities between their specific country and Australia. International Chambers may choose to focus on the mobility of business, including the facilitation of resources across international borders. For example, a chamber may assist with the deployment of staff and resources, advising on import restrictions and visa requirements.

Private vs Compulsory Chambers

This article largely focuses on the more common, private model. In private chambers, there is no obligation to join. Companies pay a membership fee in exchange for opportunities such as networking and industry connections.

Conversely, a compulsory chamber is one where membership is obligatory. For example, in Germany, the IHK-Gesetz, or the Chamber Act, governs when ‘enterprises are members’ and are required to be statutory bodies. Two examples of this include the Chambers of Commerce and Industry (IHK, Industrie und Handelskammer) and the Chambers of Skilled Crafts (HwK, Handwerkskammer).

So, What’s in it for You?

The benefits of joining chambers of commerce can be immeasurable. However, no two chambers of commerce are identical, with benefits varying depending on the chamber and the business involved.

Barry Corr, CEO of the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce explains that even within a single chamber, benefits will depend on the individual member and what they’re trying to achieve.

Notwithstanding the above, in our discussions with different chambers of commerce a few benefits came up again and again:

  • Networking
  • Advocacy
  • Exposure
  • Information
  • Mobility

Networking

This is a given. One of the major benefits of joining a Chamber of Commerce is the opportunity to cultivate business though networking, as well as to create lasting relationships with like-minded people.

For example, the Australian Malaysia Business Council Queensland’s (AMBCQ) “primary focus is … on providing opportunities for [members] to engage with others at all different levels and across sectors.” Shona Leppanen-Gibson, president of AMBCQ, recognised the importance of networking, and placed great emphasis on “finding positive connections that lead to business and career opportunities”.

By attending events, and engaging with people in the wider business community, chamber of commerce members are able to make strategic connections. And even where they don’t walk away from a contract, it can be a great way to learn from industry leaders.

For example, the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ANZCCJ), promotes networking opportunities for “meeting government leaders and specialists”, in particular their Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP), “aims to provide young professionals and students in Tokyo insight into various industries in Japan and to learn more about how to pursue a successful career”. Judith Hanna, ANZCCJ Executive Director, explained that “YEP networking events offer a fantastic opportunity to hear from inspiring young professionals who have excelled in their careers, speak with recruiters and business leaders in Tokyo looking to acquire young talent and to mix and mingle with likeminded young people”.

Amie O’Mahony, Government Relations Manager of the American Chamber in Australia (AmCham), emphasised the importance of events, stating that networking is one of the five major pillars of her organisation. AmCham achieves this through their event program, where members are invited to functions for key stakeholders. Within this program, members have access to “preferred seating” so that they can connect with specific individuals.

However, don’t be fooled into thinking this is as easy as exchanging business cards and calling it a day. Shona Leppanen-Gibson highlighted that it is important to remember that networking is not always a “quick win”, and that “it is about the level of involvement and commitment an individual or an organisation would like to have with the business council”. Members that “put in the time and effort and… are consistent… will reap the rewards”.

This sentiment was echoed throughout many of our interviews. Martin Scarpino, CEO of SwissCham Australia, put it quite succinctly by comparing it to a gym membership:

“It’s up to you. It’s like when you go to Fitness First. You sign up and you never go. Or you sign up and you become an active member.”

Advocacy

Having access to, and being represented through, advocacy is another benefit of joining a chamber of commerce. Many chambers and business councils have their foot in the door when it comes to discussing policy. By joining an organisation that reflects your interests, your needs will be asserted when it comes to any form of lobbying.

Unsurprisingly, advocacy varies within each organisation, as specific goals are promoted to mirror philosophy and interests.

For example, the Small Business Association of Australia (SBAA) advocates for small business by promoting policy change. One of SBAA’s major projects is its work on the Small Business Charter of Australia, where it aims to promote signature reforms and “create good policy for small business owners”. Anne Nalder, CEO and Founder of SBAA, emphasised the importance of strong advocacy. Anne suggested that we should be looking at “different initiatives” rather than continuing with “…Band-Aid solutions. When formulating policy, we have to ask, ‘how will this affect small business?’”

Similarly, Nigel McBride, former Business SA CEO, spoke about their advocacy for South Australian business. Tax reforms, ice in the workplace, and climate change, are just some of the topics championed by the Chamber through media campaigns.

Jacinta Reddan, CEO of AustCham Hong Kong, explained that her chamber has been ‘lobbying to recognise the value of [corporate experience] and to look to how we can create a better pathway for members to go back into corporate Australia’. She encourages members to ‘have a say, be involved, and have an influence in key business decisions that will affect you’.

Exposure

Being active in a chamber of commerce or business council can also raise the profile of an individual business.

For example, members of AmCham are able to leverage the activities of the Chamber to increase their visibility. Aime O’Mahony explained that simply by becoming an active member, companies are able to “have their brand associated with some of the biggest names or issues”. Businesses can do this through sponsorship or representation on specific committees.

Similarly, Yachien Huang, Executive Director of the Australia New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (ANZCham Taipei) noted that ‘there are plenty of options for members to increase their visibility in the local market through exposures on our website, social media, e-newsletters and event sponsorship’.

Information & Advice

Chambers of commerce are treasure troves of valuable information and advice for companies and individuals. Usually published online, news updates and publications are given to members as well as the general public.

Some organisations go a step further, creating valuable content that is exclusive to members.

For example, Australian Business Council Dubai (ABCD) is preeminent in educating and disseminating information to its members. Not only does the Business Council’s key players read and share local Australian press, but the Council has created a members’ forum and community hub. Justine Cullen, Manager of ABCD, explained that this hub provides a variety of information. Topics such as obtaining a license and ‘life in Dubai’ make the Council the go-to resource on doing business in Dubai.

Similarly, AmCham provides cutting edge information and resources to members though events, trade missions, meetings with key decision makers, online publications, investment reports, and a trade and investment guide.

Sophia Demetriades Toftdahl, President of the Norwegian Australian Chamber of Commerce (NACC) favours using events to help businesses “stay abreast of what is happening in the community’.

Mobility

Some chambers of commerce will assist or advise in relation to deployment of staff offshore: tax, visa and immigration and so on. Others, for example most International Business Councils, focus on broader aspects of commerce, rather than the nuts and bolts of personnel and their movements.

Nigel McBride, former Business SA CEO, explained for example that his chamber is able to assist with export stamping.

The Australia Zimbabwe Business Council (AZBC) uses an internal legal department. Evans Mukonza, President AZBC, explains that this is particularly useful for assisting with staff mobility. Evans explains that the agency ‘provides employment to young people’ by helping them find a job and ‘get their resume up to scratch’. Evans notes that his organisation is able to match employees with employers, highlighting that they can also handle the visa requirements.

Which Chamber Will You Join?

Chambers of commerce are a great source of support for your growing business. Whether you want to build connections, increase exposure, or promote your core values, chambers can offer unique and worthwhile opportunities for you and your business.

So, what are you waiting for? Go on and join!

Read the full article here.

 

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European Australia Collaboration in the Pacific Forum

On Wednesday, 6 March 2019, members of the Norwegian Australian Chamber of Commerce attended a Forum with Commissioner Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, and Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, Federal Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific.

Following the third Development Dialogue between Australia and the EU held in Brussels last February, the Forum offered an opportunity for the European Union and Australia to confirm their alignment and commitment to the Pacific region, and in particular, priorities for investing in sustainable infrastructure.

Commissioner Mimica spoke about the EU’s development policy, as the world’s largest aid donor, and highlighted efforts to increase funding for the EU’s Electrification Financing Initiative, whose objective is to de-risk private investments aimed at improving access to energy, principally for populations living in rural areas. He also announced the EU’s External Investment Plan aiming to leverage €1 trillion of investments in EU partner countries, including the Pacific.

Assistant Minister Ruston underlined the importance of the Australian Government’s Pacific Step-Up encompassing $2 billion for the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific, along with a $1 billion increase in callable capital to the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation. She welcomed the EU’s increased support and continued focus on the Pacific region, and expressed Australia’s desire to work more closely with its European partners and the EU as a whole.

Both Commissioner Mimica and Assistant Minister Ruston stressed how Australia and the EU share a strong commitment to the UN 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, and commented on the need for renewed cooperation between Australia and the EU. Historic ties of friendship and substantial support to the region should lead the EU and Australia to further align development efforts and work together in better allocating resources.

The panel discussion that followed the keynote speeches addressed the economic outlook of the region opening up opportunities for business. Moderator Dr Sarah Cook (UNSW Institute for Global Development) and panellists Zarak Khan (Fiji Consul General and Trade Commissioner), Adam Bruun (European Investment Bank) and Jean Ballandras (CEO Asia-Pacific, Akuo Energy), discussed the significance of enhanced EU-Australia collaboration in and with Pacific island countries.

The panellists’ comments and interactive session with participants profiled the fast-changing business environment and landscape in the Pacific, underlining the role of the private sector in the region and how technological innovation is driving the emergence of tailor-made, less costly and more adaptable solutions to existing challenges. Panellists also emphasised the role of value-driven stakeholders, committed to making a difference on issues such as climate change mitigation.

See the photo gallery from the event below.

European Australia Collaboration in the Pacific Forum
EABC CEO Jason Collins opens the forum
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