Launched in April 2008, EFIC’s annual Global Readiness index (GRi) is a comprehensive study of the current drivers, decision-making processes, risks and barriers that Australian exporters and offshore investors face in an increasingly globalised and, at times, uncertain business world.
In 2008, almost 500 Australian businesses across the country responded to the GRi. At the time of the survey Australian businesses seeking to expand onto the global stage were enjoying generally sound balance sheets and high-levels of profitability. Together with the strong dollar it was the perfect opportunity for Australian companies to fuel their growth by investing offshore. Yet wavering levels of business confidence and tightening credit markets threatened to act as a brake on otherwise sound growth plans.
There was and continues to be widespread recognition of the imperative for the Australian economy to continue to globalise. Australian businesses seeking to grow overseas need a comprehensive understanding of the strategic drivers, decision-making processes, risks and barriers they could encounter when expanding their global operations.
At the time of the 2008 survey, there was also good news: offshore investments by Australian companies were now almost equal to foreign businesses’ investments in Australia – a gap that is closing rapidly. But with some three quarters of survey respondents using retained earnings to finance their export business and offshore growth, and over half stating that access to additional funding would enable them to grow faster in current markets, there remains great opportunity for the Australian business community to make further and faster strides on the globalisation journey.