Author – Theresa Manning


Les Brown once said that ‘You are never too old to set another goal or dream another dream.’


If you’re a recent migrant who has arrived into Australia and finds the task of starting a business in Australia daunting, then you aren’t alone. Settling into a foreign country and building an SME from scratch involves a range of components, some simpler than others. Financing your business and deciding which avenue is ideal for what you’d like to achieve can be tricky. See below for a list of tips for recent migrants who wish to start a business in Australia.


1.   Choose the Business / Working Visa


As of November 2016 the Australian government has introduced 4 new work visas for migrants wishing to work in Australia, as well as simplifying the visa structure.

In an article published by SBS, Michael Burke, Assistant Secretary, Planning, Design & Assurance said ‘applying for the temporary Activity visa online would now be simpler for sponsors and applicants.’


“The changes reduce red tape for business, industry and individuals by streamlining sponsorship requirements and removing the nomination stage for a range of activities.” [1]


Immiaccount is an easy way to reach information on Australia’s visas and citizenship application requirements.


2.    Financing Your Business in Australia

Financing your business is of the greatest importance in order to kick start your future in Australia. SME’s, otherwise known as Small to Medium Enterprises, need funding in order to establish themselves and become a player in the market.

The three basic principles to consider when evaluating finance are your ability to be able to secure a loan, speed to access funds and the fees and interest you will pay. Finding a reliable financing stream that works with your current business model and promotes business expansion will help facilitate growth in the ability to pay staff, purchase real estate or buy equipment.

3.     Apply for an ABN, TFN and register your business name

One of the key steps to starting a small business in Australia is creating an Australian Business and tax file number.

Depending on your product or service you may also need to apply for other licenses and register for GST. If you’re unsure about which licenses are required head to the Australian Business Licence and Information Service website for clarification.

4.    Networking

They say it takes a village to raise a child. The same goes for building a business. Networking with like-minded individuals in your chosen industry will help to build a support network to assist you in gaining advice from local businesses like yourself.

Meeting people and making a network of friends can often be difficult in the early stages of moving to a new city. There are plenty of support groups run by individuals and local businesses such as the Meet Up group ‘Better Business Ballarat’ sponsored by several local businesses.

5.     Have a clear business plan

“Let your hopes not your hurts shape your future” – Robert H. Schiller.

Creating realistic, measurable and clearly defined business goals will help give you some direction as to where you’d like your business to grow. Tim Reed, CEO of MYOB recently spoke of business plans and their benefits for The Daily Telegraph.

“Make sure you have a clear plan. So many business owners have ideas, but lack plans. Plans need to include some detail about not just what is to be done, but how it will get done. Know the three or four key drivers of your business and measure them.”[2]


Without a business plan and a set of objectives you and your employees may struggle when seeking guidance on ‘next steps’ as your business begins to grow.




Starting your business in Australia is all about taking the first step. Investing time and energy into building the foundations of your new business will be beneficial in the long run. Doing your research and listening to advice from other entrepreneurs who have built businesses will be invaluable to you in the early stages of transitioning into the Australian market.


Having a plan, applying for the appropriate licenses as well as ensuring your business is financed correctly are the key components of creating a healthy and profitable SME. Finding a community of like-minded people who can support your goals and back your trade will help set you on the path to success.


“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” – Martin Luther King Jnr.