Top tips for startups: eleven ways to start local and go global

Two people walking siide-by-side in a city street.

Melbourne’s international networks are stronger than ever, despite the current travel challenges.  

During the pandemic, we’ve been busy fostering global relationships and creating a welcoming environment for visitors, workers, students and investors, to help make Melbourne the best it can be.  

Here are some of the ways we have continued to promote multicultural exchange and international collaboration during COVID-19, and how you can get involved. 

1. Scale your startup overseas

Check out the services we offer to help startups grow and go global, like this five-day program designed to help people test their products, explore business opportunities and connect with experts from Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam. Delivered in partnership with HEX, the program will offer full scholarships for 20 startups.

2. Discover Melbourne’s sister cities

Take a virtual trip through our sister cities around the world: Osaka, Tianjin (where we have an office), Thessaloniki, Boston, St Petersburg and Milan. Did you know that Swanston Street and Midosuji Boulevard in Osaka are officially sister streets?

3. Feel uplifted by the global scrub choir

Watch frontline healthcare workers from Melbourne, Japan and around the world raise their voices in Scrub Choir Plus, led by Royal Melbourne Hospital. This collaboration is a continuation of connections we facilitated through our sister city relationship with Osaka, which have led to RMH and Osaka City Hospital working together in music therapy, mental health and wellbeing.

4. Connect to a supportive student community

Make new friends, get support, and experience Melbourne to the max through our services for international students. Subscribe to the newsletter for updates as restrictions evolve and – to hear first-hand experiences of student life in lockdown – check out the short film LIMBO.

5. Explore creative connections in China

Check out the recent Suzhou Design Week, where we presented an exciting Melbourne Guest City program, including an exhibition, digital fashion runway, pop-up shop, and youth mural project to showcase our city’s design capability and facilitate creative engagement with China. There’ll be a follow-up virtual event soon, so stay tuned for details.

6. Be inspired by global innovators

Meet the big thinkers from Melbourne and Indonesia who we’re supporting to develop award-winning projects designed to make our cities more inclusive and flood-resistant. The recent Melbourne-Bandung Innovation series brought together more than 1000 bright minds.

7. Follow international efforts towards net zero

Find out how we are taking action on climate change, alongside leading cities around the globe. Late last year, Lord Mayor Sally Capp shared Melbourne’s net-zero goals with a panel of mayors from the UK, Europe and USA, as part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). Find out more on LinkedIn.

8. Celebrate Chinese Australian identity 

Immerse yourself in the 200-year journey of Chinese migration to Australia through the One Million Stories exhibit, which toured to Nanjing in China late last year. Watch the trailer, and a message from Lord Mayor Sally Capp, on the Museum of Chinese Australian History webpage.

9. Be inspired by local entrepreneurs with global dreams

Check out the bright ideas being developed through our Nexus FinTech Competition, a joint venture designed to help local entrepreneurs fast-track success in China. Recent winners are developing platforms for crowdfunding, ratings and reviews, and wealth and investment.

10. Work with talented international students to grow your business

Tap into international students’ business skills and knowledge of international markets – including China, Indonesia and Japan – to explore commercial opportunities for your businesses through NexStar, a structured internship program that pairs companies with students, to develop an international market pitch, with support from mentors and industry experts.

11. Review global sustainability goals

Read about the City of Melbourne’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We are the first Australian city to conduct a Voluntary Local Review, which measures our progress against these goals, to be presented to the UN High Level Political Forum in July. Councillor Kevin Louey also recently shared our progress on the health, wellbeing and clean energy goals with Asia-Pacific leaders at a virtual Business Partner Cities event.  

For more information, visit International business opportunities.

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