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  • 02 Mar 2018 1:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Last week the CACC’s SME Committee hosted another successful roundtable event (21 Feb) which focused on advice for Australian businesses looking to expand into Canada.

    Moderated by Chris Beal from RFC Ambrian, panelists included Josh Khoddami from Neu.Capital, Angela Rossi from Altios International, and Kane Bourke from OMF Markets, who hosted the roundtable in their Sydney office. 

    The discussion covered a range of topics relevant to Australian businesses looking to enter Canada including incorporation, financial considerations, as well as legal and administrative matters.

    So what do you need to know? Let’s start with the basics:

    First, on average it takes between 1-3 months to set up a business in Canada. While finding the right advice can make the process more efficient, the amount of time required is also largely dependent what the nature of your business is.

    Second, Australia and Canada operate very different national models for doing business, with Australia (generally speaking) being a much easier environment to set up a company in, while Canada is a bit trickier in terms of incorporation, tax, grants and other considerations as these vary widely from Province to Province. If your company doesn’t need to be based in a specific location within Canada, make sure you evaluate the pros and cons of setting up in each province to ensure the location you are incorporated in is the best possible fit.

    Third, get the right advice and advisers. While this may seem commonsense, one panelist made the point that his business found it difficult to find a lawyer (even from a global firm) who could work seamlessly across multiple Provincial regulations. Finding a bank who can work across both borders easily (NAB for instance) can also make the transition process much easier. And while working out the myriad of decisions for yourself can seem like you are saving money, paying for the right advice will ultimately be quicker and allow you to focus on running your business.

    Three other points worth sharing:

    • If you are looking to enter the US market from Australia, in many cases using Canada as an entry point is the best option rather than going direct for a few reasons, including instant ‘North American’ credibility (perception is important), ease of cross border business, and depending on the Province you are incorporated in, favorable benefits for your company. 
    • Don’t overlook potentially setting up your business in a smaller regional town which is geographically strategic. One example provided was Cornwall, Ontario which is conveniently located between Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto, as well as key US cities. While this location may not benefit all businesses, it is worth considering as a way to limit logistical costs and bring you closer to your customers.
    • In addition to professional advisers, the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service in Australia can also provide helpful advice to Australian businesses looking to expand into Canada, so don’t be afraid to contact them and ask how they can be of assistance.

    For more information on any of these topics, or to discuss other subjects about expanding your business in the Canadian market, feel free to contact the SME Committee at SME@cacc.com.au 

  • 19 Feb 2018 11:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    PICTURE: Alan McCallum - Chairman of Cann Group Ltd, Lesley Gillespie - Chair of CACC Melbourne Committee, Matthew Cantelo - CEO of Australian Natural Therapeutics Group, Peter Crock - CEO of Cann Group Ltd, The Honourable Mrs. Jaala Pulford, Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Regional Development, Elaine Darby - MD of AusCann, Erik Dennison - Melbourne Committee and Chris Kommatas, Innovation Manager & Accelerator Program Director, Melbourne Health and Founder & Organiser, Startup HealthTech Australia.

    If the balance of the New Year is anything like the Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce’s (CACC) Melbourne Committee’s first event of 2018, it’s going to be a fascinating year.

    On Tuesday 13 February 2018, Victorian investors, producers, regulators and the Minister for Agriculture came together in Melbourne to discuss the rapidly growing medicinal cannabis industry, an industry that is quickly following in footsteps first forged in Canada.

    This event, hosted by the Melbourne Committee of the CACC featured a keynote speech by Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford followed by a panel discussion with: Elaine Darby, Managing Director, AusCann; Peter Crock, CEO, CannGroup, Matthew Cantelo, CEO, Australian Natural Therapeutics Group; and, Chris Kommatas, Director, Amplify Health.

    Following Minister Pulford’s speech, in which she stated, “What we are doing here in Victoria is ground-breaking,” the panel shared their own perspectives and engaged in Q & A with the audience.

    When it comes to the cannabis industry, Canada is regarded as a pioneer, having legalised the use of medicinal cannabis in 2001 and its very progressive move to legalise recreational cannabis is set to be available later this year. With this latest move, Canada is tagged to be the largest developed country to end a nationwide prohibition on recreational marijuana.

    The Canadian cannabis market is currently estimated to worth upward of $10 billion annually. In comparison, the newer Australian market is valued to be worth approximately $100 million per year.

    As in most industries, every challenge requires a solution, and the cannabis industry is no different. Case in point: it is estimated that Canada will only be able to meet 15% of its domestic demand. Thus, creating a significant export opportunity for Australian producers such as AusCann and Cann Group to fill gap.

    It is interesting times particularly as Australia’s Federal Government recently announced that it is to allow exports of cannabis-based medicines. As well, the Government of Victoria recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Canadian company, Canopy Growth Corporation, to further develop research and technical capabilities in the production of medicinal cannabis. 

    Consequently, Australia, which is believed to have some of the world’s highest standards for the production of medicinal cannabis, is strategically positioned to export to its trade partner, Canada.

    With regard to Victoria’s role in this export opportunity, Minister Pulford said, “It’s important we act quickly, but even more important that we get this right – we won’t get a second shot at being the national leader in this sector.”

    Moderating the event was CACC member and volunteer, Erik Denison, a multi-award winning journalist formerly with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

    “The quality of tonight’s event is a testament to the CACC Melbourne Committee’s commitment to delivering timely events that are of great interest to the Canadian and Australian business communities,” said Mr. Denison.

    Photography provided by: Will Linstead (www.wlpevents.com)

    The Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce (CACC) is a not-for-profit organisation whose focus is to build and strengthen trade and business connections between Australia and Canada. The CACC maintains relationships with senior and operational level resources of Government in both Canada and Australia as well as providing members with access to an extensive and growing network of individuals and organisations with an interest in the Canada-Australia business relationship.

  • 01 Jan 2018 10:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    PICTURE: Natasha Smith, Australia’s next High Commissioner to Canada

    The responsibility for advancing Australia’s interests in Canada will be handed over in February 2018 to Natasha Smith (GAICD), Australia’s next High Commissioner to Canada, as announced by the Hon Julie Bishop MP on 30 November 2017.

    “On behalf of the Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce, I congratulate Natasha Smith on this significant appointment which is so meaningful to both of our countries,” said Brian Hansen, CACC President and Director.

    “Ms Smith brings a wealth of diplomatic experience to her new role, having most recently served as First Assistant Secretary, Multilateral Development and Finance Division with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT),” he said.

    A senior career officer with DFAT, Ms Smith has also served as Assistant Secretary, Humanitarian Response Branch and Assistant Secretary, Integration Task Force. Previously, Ms Smith has served overseas as a Counsellor (Development) at Australia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York and First Secretary (Development) at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta.

    Recently, Ms Smith made a point of meeting with members of the CACC’s leadership team including Brian Hansen in Sydney as well as directors Lesley Gillespie OAM and Mike McGrath in Melbourne.

    “It was a pleasure to meet Ms Smith and to learn how she is focused on continuing to cement the relationship between our two countries,” Lesley, Chair of CACC’s Melbourne Committee said.

    “In particular, Ms Smith recognises that while the two countries have strong ties and are similar in custom, law and history, it is important to not become complacent,” she said.

    “Australia and Canada have a history of trade that spans more than one hundred years and it is a relationship that continues to expand and strengthen,” said Mike McGrath, CACC Director.

    “With regard to Ms Smith’s views of the CACC, it was encouraging to learn that Ms Smith views the CACC as an organisation that can work well with both government and the business community to facilitate strong ties between Canada and Australia”.

    In 2016, two-way investment between the two countries totalled $85 billion. Again in 2016, Australian merchandise exports to Canada grew by some 14 per cent while Canada’s services exports to Australia increased by 15 per cent.

    “Our two great countries enjoy substantial trade and investment links and this is in large part because of the integral role that our High Commissioners play,” Brian Hansen said.

    “Today, we pause to both congratulate and welcome Natasha Smith as she assumes the position of our next High Commissioner to Canada.

    “And at the same time, we thank Tony Negus AO, for his contribution as our Australian High Commissioner to Canada since 2015 and wish him great success with his next endeavours.”

    The Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce (CACC) is a not-for-profit organisation whose focus is to build and strengthen trade and business connections between Australia and Canada. The CACC maintains relationships with senior and operational level resources of Government in both Canada and Australia as well as providing members with access to an extensive and growing network of individuals and organisations with an interest in the Canada-Australia business relationship.

    Written by:

    Angela Smith, CACC Copywriter

    Communications & Member Engagement Committee

  • 03 Dec 2017 5:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Canadian Australia Chamber of Commerce (CACC) congratulates corporate sponsor, Air Canada, on its inaugural non-stop flight from Melbourne to Vancouver at a special event at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport on Sunday, 3 December 2017.

    Among those officially celebrating Air Canada’s non-stop flight between Melbourne and Vancouver were representatives from the CACC, Canada’s High Commissioner to Australia, dignitaries from the Government of Victoria, executives from Air Canada, Melbourne Airport and Vancouver Airport – as well as the many passengers about to board the flight.

    The greatest commonality between the CACC and Air Canada is its shared interest in bringing Canada and Australia closer together. And with Air Canada now flying to its newest destination in Australia, two of the world’s most livable cities just became a little closer.

    The CACC welcomes this new route as it stands to simplify trade and travel between the two countries.

    Forthose who travel, or have products shipped between Melbourne and Canada, the journey between the two countries is shortened by several hours as transiting via another major Australian hub is no longer necessary.

    Currently, direct flights between Melbourne and Vancouver are operating seasonally, four times weekly until 4 February 2018 with year-round service commencing 1 June 2018.

    For those who travel beyond Vancouver, seamless connections are expected through in-transit pre-clearance facilities for Air Canada’s extensive domestic networks within Canada and the US.

    Supporting investment between Australia and Canada, the CACC acknowledges the significant investment that Air Canada has made with over $1 billion in capital assets in Australia.

    Travelling more than 13,000 km, this direct flight between Melbourne and Vancouver is the longest non-stop flight presently flying out of Melbourne.

    Air Canada’s st ate-of the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner now directly connecting Melbourne and Australia, really is a dream come true.

    The CACC and Air Canada, bringing Canada and Australia closer together.

    Written by:

    Angela Smith,CACC Copywriter

    Melbourne Committee

  • 26 Nov 2017 6:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Lesley Gillespie (CACC Director), Dr. Stewart Gill (Masters, Queen's College), Professor Joanne Tompkins (Australian Research Council), Zac Hatzantonis (PwC), Misha Ketchel (The Conversation), Dr Tim Gravelle (University of Melbourne) and Erik Denison (CACC Melbourne Committee)

    How to build bridges and take down the silo walls that separate academics from the business community was the topic of lively discussion at the most recent event hosted by the CACC’s Melbourne Committee.

    One of the strengths of the CACC is to foster connections for business and trade. The Building Bridges event went one step further in an effort to include the world of academia in these important connections.

    Hosted by Master of Queens College, Professor Stewart Gill, OAM, academics and business leaders came together to discuss how the two could improve the ways in which they could work together. Further details on each of the panelists can be found here

    “It’s terrific that Canada is able to lead the way…and that the CACC is bringing the two sectors together to look at how we inform one another and, how we help one another,” said Professor Gill.

    Throughout the course of the discussion it was very clear: both the business sector and academia are very willing to work together.

    They key theme of how to build the bridge between academia and business is ‘relationships’.

    Professor Joanne Tompkins spoke about the importance of “brokering relationships”, effectively meeting a range of people with whom to get to know and in time exchange ideas.

    Agreeing with Professor Tompkins was Zac Hatzantonis, Partner with PwC, “Our firm’s purpose is to build trust in solving complex problems. Having partnerships in place with experts means that we can collaborate instantly and prepare our reports within the time lines that we are given.”

    Dr Tim Gravelle who has straddled the corporate world and academia also spoke about the importance of personal networks. Having reached out to academics in the USA whilst he was working for Gallup in Canada he highlighted the importance of having international networks as well.

    Event moderator, researcher, former journalist and CACC member Erik Dennison said, “We know from the research that having relationships is critical to collaboration. Academics work in research so how do they build those relationships? Being Canadian or having Canadian connections is a pretty good starting point to collaboration, talking and building a network.”

    When it comes to creating one’s network, Misha Ketchel encourages academics to “get out there anyway that you can.” The academics who stand out for him are those who “wrote blogs and who are genuinely interested in sharing their ideas. Engagement is sharing of ideas.”

    Erik concluded the event in summing up, “Be passionate about what you’re sharing and how you’re sharing it.”

    Build your network and connect with The Conversation https://theconversation.com/au

    Written by:

    Angela Smith

    CACC Copywriter

    Melbourne Committee

  • 20 Oct 2017 4:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In late November 2017, Export Development Canada (EDC) will officially open its Australian operation in Sydney with a special event featuring Peter Hall, Vice-President and Chief Economist, EDC. The Sydney operation marks EDC’s 20th international representation.

    A Crown corporation that operates at arm’s length from Government, Export Development Canada is Canada’s export credit agency. EDC supports and develops Canada’s export trade by helping Canadian companies respond to international opportunities.

    With a formal presence in Australia, EDC will be well situated to build and strengthen bilateral trade between Canada and Australia. EDC will do so by offering financing to Australian companies and project owners that have, or are considering, business with Canadian companies or their affiliates in the region.

    Export Development Canada has a history of supporting a number of Australian companies such as Origin Energy, Woodside, GoldLinQ and Optus, to name but a few.

    The role of the Sydney-based EDC team will be to connect Australian and Canadian companies while providing financial solutions to both. In addition, EDC will facilitate introduction to make doing business with one another as easy as possible. Export Development Canada also helps by matching Australian companies with strategically selected Canadian companies that have the specific capabilities the Australian company is seeking in its supply chain.

    Export Development Canada can be of support to Canadian businesses currently operating in Australia that may require various contracts in Australia.  And, EDC may be of further support to Canadian businesses seeking to expand beyond Australia into the greater Asia-Pacific region.

    An important aspect of EDC is that it partners with local and international financial institutions to increase the reach of its support. EDC proactively seeks lending opportunities and/or participation in syndication transactions in Australia.

    Heading up the Australian operation of EDC is Chief Representative, Teri Nizzola. Ms Nizzola is responsible for EDC’s overall international business development in Australia. Ms Nizzola will be focused on trade creation between Australian and Canadian companies, and as such, the facilitation of financing transactions with large corporates, multinationals as well as strategically aligned government entities within Australia.

    A special event to officially launch EDC’s presence in Australia will take place on Wednesday, 29 November at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney. EDC Vice-President and Chief Economist, Peter Hall, will present his Economic Perspective. Tickets will be available on 25 October via CACC website.

    With more than 25 years of experience in economic analysis and forecasting, Mr. Hall is responsible for overseeing the EDC’s economic analysis, country risk assessment and corporate research groups.

    Prior to joining EDC, Mr. Hall directed the economic forecasting activities of the Conference Board of Canada. Mr. Hall has served as President of both the Canadian Association for Business Economics and its largest local chapter, the Ottawa Economics Association. Mr. Hall earned degrees in Economics from Carleton University and the University of Toronto.

    To learn more about Export Development Canada’s presence in Australia, please contact EDC in Australia directly at the Consulate General of Canada, Sydney on (02) 9364 3055 or visit www.edc.ca

    Written by:

    Angela Smith

    CACC Copywriter

    Communications & Member Engagement Committee

  • 12 Oct 2017 12:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Honourary Consul General of Canada in Melbourne, Mr. Rene Lalande

    The Melbourne Committee of the Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce (CACC) fêted René Lalande on his appointment to Honorary Consul of Canada in Melbourne at a gathering of business leaders at PwC, Riverside Quay, Melbourne on 3 October.


    In a show of support for Canada’s newest Honorary Consul in Melbourne, the CACC’s Melbourne Committee hosted its inaugural event by congratulating René Lalande, CEO of Transdev Australasia on his recent appointment.


    Lesley Gillespie, OAM, CACC Board Member and Chair of its Melbourne Committee, launched the event by introducing Mr. Lalande to a gathering of approximately 40 members from Melbourne’s business community.


    Also in attendance were dignitaries Charles Reeves, Deputy High Commissioner of Canada and Myriam Boisbouvier-Wylie, Honorary Consul-General of France in Melbourne.


    “On both sides of the Pacific, René is a recognised business leader,” said Mrs. Gillespie.


    “We, the CACC, and the Melbourne Committee in particular, are very excited about working with René to advance economic opportunities between our two countries and of course, doing our part to support him in his role.”


    Mr. Lalande, having moved with his family from Canada to Melbourne four years ago, presented a keynote address on the topic of living in the world’s most livable city, after having lived in one of the world’s most livable countries.


    “Australia and Canada share some deep similarities – high quality of education, good infrastructure and other positive factors – which make them great places to live and great places to do business, “ said Mr. Lalande.


    Mr. Lalande also spoke to the great relationship shared by Australia and Canada. “We have strong mutual respect and shared values such as ‘having a fair go’, a passion for sports and an unshakeable desire to maintain our democratic, inclusive societies.


    “There is much scope and opportunity to strengthen ties between Australia and Canada; much scope to learn from each other…and much scope to strengthen the business ties for the mutual benefit of our most livable cities.


    “Geographically, there’s a great distance between us, but by our societal values, we are very near.


    “I look forward to playing my part, as Honorary Consul of Canada in Melbourne, and working with you to bring our two livable countries that little bit closer together, merci beaucoup,” concluded Mr. Lalande.

    Before the official proceedings concluded, Managing Partner at PwC, CACC Director and host, Mike McGrath, personally acknowledged Mr. Lalande.


    “Congratulations to René as he weaves together his commercial expertise with his consular appointment.


    “As a diplomatic businessman, René personifies the CACC’s mission, which is a commitment to driving growth between two of the best countries in the world.


    René, we are excited about what you’re going to do in your role and we are committed to supporting you wherever we can,” he said.


    In closing, Mr. McGrath invited Melbourne’s business community to lend its support, assistance and counsel to the CACC’s Melbourne Committee.


    “This is a committed team, driven by Lesley Gillespie, that is going to bring something special to Melbourne’s business community. I invite you all to participate in the committee’s events, especially as we support our new Honorary Consul, René Lalande.”


    Article Written By:

    Angela Smith

    CACC Copywriter, Melbourne Committee

  • 27 Sep 2017 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    More than 1,000 business leaders and chambers of commerce members from 100 countries descended upon Sydney 19-21 September for the 10th World Chambers Congress, held at the International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour.

    Under the theme “Where Business Connects” delegates had the opportunity to discuss some of the world’s most pressing challenges. It was also an opportunity for members to meet and strengthen existing business relationships.

    New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian officially opened the Congress noting that in this time of disruption and rapid economic change, “chambers of commerce were vital as partners for governments and the community in pursuing economic opportunities and generating investment, innovation and jobs.”

    Chambers must promote global stability

    How can businesses with limited time and resources make a difference when it comes to peace-building efforts? This was a question raised in the first plenary session of the Congress which focused on business, conflict and terrorism. Session moderator Steve Killelea, president of the Institute for Economics and Peace, honed in on the interplay between business, peace and economic development and urged chamber members to be pivotal in communicating this relationship to governments.

    Delegates also attended sessions on infrastructure, changing chamber business models, and alliances on day one. The second day, presenters turned their attention to sustainability, global mobility, tourism as a driver for economic growth, workplace diversity, SME finance and working with media.

    Enlightening the audience with ways to attain sustainable business models, author and ZERI founder Gunter Pauli called on delegates to ditch business planning in favour of taking concrete action, which got delegates going on Twitter. “Scan for opportunities to implement new business models that will transform economies,” he urged.

    Chambers members need to encourage refugees

    In a talk about how protectionism around migration is leading to missed opportunities delegates were called upon to give refugees a chance to integrate and contribute as this makes good economic sense.  Volker Treier, deputy chief executive officer of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce, said chambers could take the lead on informing and advising business on the benefits of migration, identifying and assessing refugee skills, and providing training.

    Meanwhile, day three’s themes focused on leadership and also technology.

    In the opening plenary session, Umit Subasi, president of Campbell Arnott’s Asia-Pacific business, told members that “leadership isn’t about our egos, it’s about our ability to learn, then unlearn so that we can re-learn again. If we want to keep growing, we have to let go of the ‘achieved’ and move on to the next thing.”

    Also talking leadership was Esko Aho, the former Prime Minister of Finland, who made the points that…“good leaders are conceptual but are able to change concepts quickly in times of crisis” and “political leaders really needed to understand the business environment.”

    Mr. Aho quoted hockey great Wayne Gretzky on leaders: “A good skater goes where the puck is. But a star is skating where the puck is going to go.”

    In an afternoon session on human-centered leadership, Anthony Howard, CEO of Confidere Group, said research showed organisations that focus on ‘people and purpose’ outperform organisations that focus purely on profit.

    He called profit-driven companies with dysfunctional cultures “caterpillars” while companies that honed in on people were more likely to be “butterflies.”

    In the second plenary session, Cedric Chehab, head of global strategy for BMI Research, talked about global trends with a particular focus on China’s rising economic star. He noted that with rising urbanisation during rapid population growth there could be huge business challenges but also opportunities in countries like Ethiopia, Nigeria and Pakistan.

    In a session called the 4th industrial revolution, Robert Wickham, regional vice-president, innovation and digital transformation at Salesforce, told the audience “we’re moving from reactive to proactive to predictive processes, otherwise known as intimate computing” and “we’ve entered the spring of artificial intelligence.”

    Fellow panelist Ken Kroeger executive chairman of Seeing Machines, talked about driverless cars noting they will change the way cities work, how governments take in and spend money, and that “full automation, while we don’t know how long it will take, we know it will change our lives.”

    In his closing remarks, International Chamber of Commerce First Vice-Chair John W.H. Denton AO called on chamber and business leaders to champion cross-border commerce and communicate the benefits of trade, leveraging ICC’s #TradeMatters campaign. Mr. Denton also urged Congress delegates to engage and collaborate to an unprecedented degree to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

    During tea breaks and at lunch time, delegates were able to visit the exhibition area to meet sponsors like the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture; NSW Government; Qantas; the University of Sydney and Torino Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Crafts and Agriculture. Iconic firms like Akubra Hats were also doing a brisk trade with delegates.

    This was the first time Sydney had hosted the Congress. In 2019, the baton passes to the Brazilian Confederation of Trade and Business Associations who will host the 11th World Chambers Congress in Rio de Janeiro.

    Written by:

    Kim Carter

    CACC Communications Committee

  • 14 Sep 2017 8:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    PICTURE: Jack Cowin, CACC Patron and Michael Bacina, Chair of SME Committee

    A lifetime of business success in Australia hasn’t taken the quiet Canadian out of Jack Cowin.

    As icy winds battered the windows of KPMG’s Sydney offices, the Chairman and Managing Director of Competitive Foods Australia was quietly reflective and self-deprecating as guest speaker at a recent CACC lunch.

    Touching on his frugal, but warm-hearted upbringing by Depression-era parents, his experience selling plants as an enterprising teenager and the highs and lows of business life, the 75-year-old got laughs from the 70 people in attendance when he joked: “Life is like a football match. We’ve got quarters and unfortunately I’ve just entered the last one.”

    Last quarter or not, he’s not planning on retiring just yet because the myriad of business opportunities that have come his way continue to keep him “occupied and entertained.”

    An Australian Financial Review Rich Lister and CACC’s Patron, Mr Cowin is best known for his fast food investments, including Hungry Jack’s, KFC and Domino’s Pizza. This is where the bulk of his wealth has been created.

    But after his initial success in the industry, he wanted to diversify his holdings to see if he could make money outside of the fast food sector. This started with shares in Network 10 where he was an investor, buying the television station out of receivership in 1992.

    Mr Cowin invested $4.5 million and sold his shares in the TV network for $72 million just five years later. He remained a Network 10 director for 20 years until 2015.

    Today, Mr. Cowin has shares in Fairfax Media, investment bank Moelis Australia, technology firm Bailador and Sydney’s BridgeClimb.

    At one time, he even invested in the largest cattle company in the world, but after a disagreement with one of his partners he sold his shares, causing the Australian Financial Review to dub him “Australia’s shortest-lived cattle baron.”

    Born in Windsor, Ontario, Mr. Cowin’s parents encouraged their son to work hard and be frugal. Like many entrepreneurs, Mr. Cowin started earning money from an early age, mostly through paper routes, shovelling snow and selling Christmas cards. As a university student, he sold trees and shrubs door to door to farmers each summer to fund his studies.

    “My parents gave me the confidence that I could do whatever I wanted to if I worked hard enough. Even if it wasn’t true, it gave me the confidence to have a go at things,” he said.

    “I developed an interest in selling and found I was good at it. It annoyed my professors when they learned I was making more money in my summer job than they were teaching,” he added.

    He was also good at sport. Mr. Cowin was a champion wrestler at university and even had a short stint playing football with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Realising the professional athlete’s life wasn’t for him, he applied to take an MBA at the University of Western Ontario, but was rejected.

    Not long after, a job at an insurance company beckoned and the 22-year-old learned he was just as good at selling life insurance as he was at selling plants. “You don’t have to stay there for 35 years to get a gold watch. You’re measured from day one for your results,” he said of the insurance sector.

    Go to the land of milk and honey + (money)

    But after five years, he wanted to do something different. His dad, a lifelong Ford employee had visited Australia for work and told him that this country was “the land of milk and honey, and if he was young again that’s where he’d go.” And Mr. Cowin didn’t hesitate.

    Along with some friends who worked at KFC in Canada, he began exploring the developing fast food industry in Australia, thinking he could make his mark there. Working up a pitch, he borrowed $10,000 each from 30 fellow Canadians to form his privately held Competitive Foods Australia Ltd (CFAL) business.

    “I’m not sure how many 26-year-olds with no experience and no collateral would get $10,000 each from businessmen today to go off and start a business at the end the world. Seriously, how long before you would throw him out of your office? Thank goodness for those people who backed me with venture capital,” he said.

    He noted those investors got their money back with plenty of interest as the business soared from a single KFC outlet in Perth in the late 1960s to more than 60 outlets. CFAL later sold the KFC business in 2015.

    Today, CFAL has ownership of the Australian Burger King franchise trading under the Hungry Jack’s label. There are currently 420 stores producing $1 billion in sales.

    In addition, CFAL owns a manufacturing business with five plants producing hamburger patties, steaks and pizza toppings as well as a vegetable processing salad business. The manufacturing business has sales of $500 million and exports to 27 countries. CFAL total sales are currently $1.5 billion.

    In addition to his CFAL interests, Mr. Cowin owns shares in the publicly listed Domino’s Pizza Enterprises operations in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, France, Holland, Belgium and Germany, (worth $1 billion). He has also invested $150 million in the Domino’s USA franchisor.

    He admits he has made and lost millions on his Domino’s shares, noting at that level it’s just “paper”, but his Domino’s shares are still worth a cool $1 billion today, up considerably from a 1986 investment of $440,000.

    It is now almost 50 years since Mr. Cowin followed his father’s advice and moved to Australia with his family, although he still holds some tourism assets in his native land.

    In Canada, he has invested in both the Lone Star Texas Grill and Jack Astor’s restaurant businesses. He owns 60 per cent of RCX, an American company in the business of crew transportation servicing the railways. He is also a controlling shareholder in Apache Ltd., an industrial services business based in Houston. These two companies have revenue of $500 million.

    In all, Mr. Cowin has had a lot of business success, but he’s mindful of other things: Importantly, all of this been an adventure. Best of all, my wife and my four kids still talk to me and to each other.”

    And what of the University of Western Ontario which turned him down for their MBA program back in the 1960s? He became the university’s chancellor in 2015.

    Jack Cowin’s lessons of life

    Mr. Cowin wound up his talk with his top lessons for life. From keeping your integrity to being nice to your kids.

    Written by: 

    Kim Carter

    CACC Communications Committee

  • 14 Sep 2017 5:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    1.     If you lose your health, nothing else matters, regardless of your success. How much money would Kerry Packer have paid to get a new kidney? Include techniques such as meditation or physical training into your life to maintain your mental and physical health.

    2.     If you lose your integrity, no amount of success will be meaningful and it will produce a hollow feeling when you look in the mirror. What would Alan Bond, Eddie Obeid, and Rodney Adler say on this subject? What would they say is important to them today if they were around?

    3.     Control your own destiny – most satisfied people I know have control over their own lives and affairs. We are probably all seeking the independence to do what we want to, when and where we want to do it. How many unhappy people are there? Ninety percent of the population are in jobs, activities or relationships out of economic necessity? They stay in a job they hate. Have a vision or dream of where you want to go. Develop your passion / work and play.

    4.     Be prepared to take some risks. Life is an adventure and a challenge. When you are young, you can afford to fail because you can start over again. When you are old, you need the stimulation.

    5.     Caveats to risk:

    a.     Don’t bet the farm. Things go wrong with the best-laid plans. Spread the risk. In cricket terms, you don’t have to swing for a six on all occasions. Singles and doubles will get you there. Don’t underestimate the power of compound interest / 50 yrs.

    b.     There is no shortage of good deals or ideas. Don’t fall in love with a business. Don’t put yourself in peril chasing something / Ego Dangerous.

    c.     The number one priority of a CEO is to make sure that the company stays in business and survives. What threats can take you out of the game? What decisions, if wrong, could be terminal? What is your margin of error?

    d.     Think through the worst-case scenario action plan. Accept that without risk, and the possibility of failure, maybe success will be limited.

    e.     Don’t wait until the dogs are barking at the door to do things. Banks don’t give out umbrellas when it's raining. When they pass around the bickies ($) take some, as they probably won’t be passing them when you want or need them.

    6.     Get some money out of a business that is risk or market adverse. Counter balance the existing investment in your business. You will sleep better at night.

    7.     Keep some powder dry: / $1,000 start

    a.     So that you have an opportunity fund, or the capacity to raise money when the right deal presents itself.

    b.     Be prepared to model / test / prove that people will pay real money for the product prior to a boots-and-all commitment. Take a step-by-step approach rather then putting it all on the nose to win.

    8.     Family:

    a.     Find a tolerant wife/ husband who can appreciate your search for success and fulfilment.

    b.      Be good to your kids as they will be the ones checking you into the nursing home.

    c.     It can be very unfulfilling trying to enjoy yourself when nobody else likes your company.

    9.     Never, ever give up if you think you are right. Big companies operate on the basis that the little guy will fold. Showing up eliminates 85% of the competitors who won’t go the distance. The flip side of this is don’t die on your sword in pursuit of mission impossible. Be prepared to cut your losses. As Kenny Rogers sang – you got to know when to hold them and when to fold them.

    10.  Don’t get caught up on your own self-importance. Try to be humble even if you don’t believe it. Be able to laugh at yourself.

    11.  Life is about dealing with people. You can solve the biggest problems if you can maintain a smile and a sense of humour.  Try and surround yourself with smart people who complement your skills.  Pay attention to the big stuff.  Delegate the mundane.  Delegate, but don’t abdicate.

    12.  Focus: / Warren Buffett : Bill Gates

    a.     Get a mainstream business that produces cash flow.

    b.     Be a rifle not a shotgun.

    c.     The tax man helps share in losses instead of capital.

    d.     Beware of new girls/ prettier theories and diversions.

    13.  Understand the business.  3 great bubbles: The paper deals of the mid-80s; the dot.com boom; and mid-2000 USA housing fiasco. Greater fool theory defied logic. Understand the fundamentals.

    Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain but all the happiness and growth occurs while you are climbing it. It’s all about the journey / not the destination.

    Richard Branson / via Hunter Thompson – Journalist – Rolling Stone Magazine

    “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a ride!” 

    Life is an adventure.

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