International education one of SA’s top export earners

The value of international students to the South Australian economy continues to grow – last financial year generating $1.62 billion and positioning international education as one of the state’s top export earners.

Almost 38,000 international students were enrolled in SA universities, education institutions and schools in the 12 months to November last year, and with universities opening their lecture theatres for the new semester later this month, thousands more students are set to arrive.

Karyn Kent, CEO of StudyAdelaide, the main organisation marketing Adelaide as the learning city, says Adelaide has always had a solid reputation as an education city, but the number of enrolments and the value of the sector are on the rise.

She says international student enrolments have been climbing by about 6% since 2014, with the majority of students coming from China and Hong Kong, followed by India, Nepal, Malaysia, Korea and Kenya.

“The value of the sector has been growing by about 10% (each year),” she says. “It’s estimated by Deloitte that around 43% of that ($1.62 billion) is spent on education fees, and the other 57% is spent on living expenses, housing, food, entertainment and things like that.

“That’s the ongoing daily impact that international students are having on our economy. It’s certainly generated some big investments. We’re about to do some research with city businesses to try and get a feel for the retail sector in the CBD and whether they’re noticing it as well.”

Karyn says a large proportion of SA’s international students in the vocational and higher end education sectors study business, accounting and finance degrees, while engineering, health and IT are other main areas of study, followed by hospitality and education.

Adelaide’s three main universities, the University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia and Flinders University, have various campuses across the city and regional SA. The University of Adelaide is the oldest, established in 1874.

Adelaide is home to dozens of other education institutions including TAFE SA and campuses of Carnegie Mellon University and Torrens University Australia.

So what makes Adelaide attractive to international students?

“Lifestyle is definitely one of the key benefits,” Karyn says. “International students can afford to live close to their campus here in Adelaide, we have a really diverse and welcoming environment and I think we give the impression that we’re a team and a family here.

“But if you look at other drivers of destination choice it’s ‘does the city have the course I want to study?’, ‘is it a nice place to live?’ and employability opportunities are all really important.”

SA is already home to a number of international student success stories, people who have gone on to stay in SA and pursue business ventures.

Web design and app development studio PixelForce was born from a university assignment that became one of SA’s fastest growing businesses. One of its most high profile clients is fitness guru Kayla Itsines, who tasked PixelForce with generating her Sweat app.

Another success story is Harbour Bottling, a wine bottling plant exporting up to 400 shipping containers of locally produced wine a year, mostly to China. Both these companies were established by international students who now call SA home.

It is unknown exactly how many international students end up calling SA home, but a 2018 report released by the Australian Treasury and Department of Home Affairs called Shaping a Nation estimated that 16% of international students in Australia eventually transitioned to permanent residency.

“The SA Premier (Steven Marshall) has been very upfront about migration as a way to address low population growth and international students are a big part of that story,” Karyn says.

“If we get the settings right, it makes it more attractive and easier for international students to stay.”

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway says the State Government has demonstrated its commitment to growing international student numbers by increasing StudyAdelaide funding to $2.5 million.

A Ministerial Advisory Committee for International Education has also been established, bringing together education institutions, peak bodies, government and private providers to develop a strategy to sustain further growth in the sector.

“International students make an enormous contribution to the state, not only economically, but also socially and culturally and become invaluable tourism ambassadors for SA among their friends and family back home,” Mr Ridgway says.

“Graduating international students become young professionals with a global outlook and we have seen countless examples of them joining or creating local businesses to help drive economic growth across industries in our state.”

Industry in focus: Trade and Investment

Throughout the months of January and February, the state’s trade and investment industry will be explored as part of I Choose SA.

South Australia is in a prime position for trade and investment opportunities as we have a 24-hour connection to international markets and a prime reputation for our premium products and services.  Read more trade and investment stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Diversification the name of the game for Daryl

Port MacDonnell’s Daryl Prunnell is a man on a mission.

He wants to improve the economic growth of South Australia’s South East and encourage the next generation of critical thinkers to stay in the region.

Daryl has a plan to transform a redundant crayfish factory and adjoining land into a fish and rock lobster farm, with additional plans for complementary accommodation, a restaurant, research and development and educational facilities on the site.

Recently, his entrepreneurial thinking and enterprising spirit have seen him win silver at the inaugural Limestone Coast eNVIe Awards.

The win will take him and fellow eNVIe Award winner and Mt Gambier headwear accessories design Ashlee Kalantarian, to Silicon Valley, Austin and New York City to visit other innovative thinkers, learn how to pitch business ideas, and take part in networking opportunities.

Member for Barker Tony Pasin, left, with Limestone Coast locals Katie Fox of Little Pink Box, Ashlee Kalatarian of Ashlee Lauren Designs, Daryl Prunnell and Professor Clare Pollock of Flinders University.

The award marks Daryl’s completion of the Venture Dorm program, a course that provides hand-on training for people who want to build and market new ventures.

The Venture Dorm program is run by Flinders University’s New Venture Institute on the Limestone Coast and aims to foster early start-ups and business innovations.

Daryl, who moved back to Mt Gambier from the Northern Territory with wife Irma in 2012, sprouted his aquaculture idea three-four years ago.

“We bought the old factory about four years ago, and when the blocks of land next door came up for sale we bought those as well,” he says.

“During winter, the blocks get inundated with rainwater and groundwater, and I made a comment one day that it was so wet you could grow fish in there.

“Then I started to think – well, actually we could do that…”

Daryl Prunnell has a plan to develop a fish farm featuring rock lobster and Atlantic salmon that would showcase local produce to tourists. Photo courtesy of The Border Watch.

Daryl has been undertaking a diverse range of farming practices on their 40ha property, including running pasture-fed free-range chickens for eggs, as well as cross-bred lambs, Black Angus cattle and bees.

“The fish farm is another diversification for us,” he says.

“Back in Darwin I was a very keen fisherman. I was up there during the boom construction period, where everyone had the big toys and the big salaries and the charter companies had enough business to run two charters a day.

“At this time I saw the incredible damage that was being done to the fish populations and the waterways, so I feel like a sustainable fish farm with an educational facility would be popular and beneficial.”

Heading to the US in March 2019, he says he’s looking forward to “meeting and spending time with people who think outside the box”.

Until then, he is hoping to keep the train moving, with funding and investment opportunities coming up.

“Our next step is to commission some concept drawings and have costings completed for the first stages of development,” he says.

“I hope that by March we will be progressing very well, and I would like to think we will be up and running by Christmas 2019.”

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New pool of talent for Adelaide’s fashion scene

Emerging fashion designer Brian Yambao could have picked anywhere in Australia to scratch his creative itch and study fashion.

But after falling in love with Adelaide during a work trip, the young designer who is originally from the Philippines, settled on honing his craft in South Australia.

This month Brian will watch his label Maelstrom glide down the runway as part of SA Fashion Graduate Parade, Unbound.

He is one of 27 TAFE SA and Flinders University fashion graduates who will show off their final collections on Thursday, February 8 on the grounds of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Brian will showcase six outfits under his label Maelstrom.

Brian says the parade is the culmination of three years of “learning, hard work and fun”.

“It also marks the beginning of our careers in the fashion industry as we look to the future with hopeful eyes, armed with newly developed skills and brimming with inspiration,” he says.

Brian is among the second lot of students to graduate from the three-year Bachelor of Creative Arts (Fashion), the highest fashion-related education course offered in SA.

Prior to 2014, fashion could only be studied through an Advanced Diploma at TAFE SA.

Brian says he sees “exciting things happening with the fashion scene in SA”, with the help of the rising popularity of the Adelaide Fashion Festival every year.

“It’s going from strength to strength with new designers and everyone is becoming more recognised,” he says.

“There’s no shortage of talent here, we have the capacity to be a big player, so it’s a very exciting time.”

Emerging fashion designer Brian Yambao.

In recent years Adelaide has seen many of its homegrown fashion talents become global businesses, including Australian Fashion Labels and Paul Vasileff of Paolo Sebastian.

Brian was recently mentored by Paul, an I Choose SA ambassador, through four weeks of work experience.

“I have the utmost respect and admiration for Paul as a designer and the way he conducts his label,” Brian says.

Growing up in the Philippines, Brian moved to Australia in recent years and has lived in Alice Springs and WA.

He visited Adelaide for work when he was a graphic designer and was taken by the city’s accessibility and the lifestyle.

His move into fashion was prompted by his love for sketching.

“I never knew how to sew but have always sketched,” Brian says.

“So this (the TAFE SA/Flinders degree) has opened me up to new skills.”

Brian says his graduate collection of six outfits explores striking colours and textures.

“My main muse was a triumphant woman … and the metaphor for a phoenix rising from the flame.”

Tickets for the SA Fashion Graduate Parade are on sale here.

New entrepreneurship hub to boost innovation on the Limestone Coast

Entrepreneurs and businesses in South Australia’s second largest city – Mount Gambier – will be given a leg up when a $1.5m innovation incubator opens in 2018.

The hub called eNVIsion Limestone Coast will be delivered through the eNVIsion accelerator program led by Flinders University’s New Venture Institute (NVI) at Tonsley.

To be located in Mount Gambier’s town centre, the regional incubator will give emerging entrepreneurs and business people “the tools to get started”, while creating jobs and increasing exports.


eNVIsion Limestone Coast is expected to open in Mount Gambier’s town centre in early 2018.

The hub will feature co-working spaces, workshops, and access to acceleration programs, large file sharing, video conferencing, and content streaming technologies.

It will also be connected to the high-speed broadband GigCity network, helping to “break down regional barriers to create a thriving business ecosystem”.

While supported by Flinders University, eNVIsion Limestone Coast also received funding from the three tiers of government.

Overall investment in the project, expected to launch in early 2018, is about $1.5m.

NVI director Matt Salier says the innovation incubator will help entrepreneurs, business leaders, researchers and industry professionals to compete in national and global economies.

The regional innovation hub will be a place for business owners and emerging entrepreneurs to connect with industry leaders and launch their ideas.

The regional incubator will be a place for business owners and emerging entrepreneurs to launch their ideas.

He says innovation incubators generally have links to angel investors and global ‘launching pads’, like those NVI has in Austin, Shanghai and Singapore.

“We have been talking to the local council about the needs of the community and all of the wonderful opportunities down there and where they see growth,” Matt says.

“The agriculture and seafood industry – these industries are already there and very much having a global focus.

“We are confident our incubator can assist more from these and other industries to succeed in the same way.”

Matt says interest from potential eNVIsion tenants is already strong.

“We have networks all over the world whether it’s in Asia, the US or Europe, we are bringing that capability to local businesses and working with great people already, like (local design studio) Hello Friday,” he says.

“These are the types of businesses that are able to compete from wherever they are.”

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