The Victorian Government has launch Globally Connected: Victoria’s Trade Statement to better connect local businesses with overseas markets  boost jobs and strengthen Victoria’s economy.

The statement, launched by Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, includes a range of initiatives to drive trade and investment in Victoria.

Globally Connected is Victoria’s first trade statement in more than a decade. It sets out a vision and strategy to help local businesses tap into new markets in Asia and across the globe.

The statement outlines plans to strengthen Victoria’s international presence, support priority sectors and help local businesses go global – whatever their size or location.

Victorian exports rose to nearly $44 billion last year and the more than $125 million has been invested in international offices and trade missions.

As part of the trade statement launch, Maggie Zhou, Australia and New Zealand Managing Director of Alibaba Group, was announced as the first Victorian Business Ambassador under a new program that will enlist business leaders to support trade and better connect Victoria with global opportunities.

Maggie Zhou is a long time employee of Alibaba Group having joined the company in the early 2000s and has been a key part of globalising Alibaba Group’s business.

Alibaba Group now has 529 million mobile monthly active users on its retail marketplaces in China, and Ms Zhou’s  experience will help Victoria better understand the tremendous opportunities available in China.

Also announced was $1.5 million of Asia Gateway Program funding that will be used to help local companies tap into the huge opportunities on Victoria’s doorstep in the fast growing economies of Asia.

The program is designed to enable Victorian companies, especially small businesses, to engage effectively with Asian markets.

There will also be a strengthening of the Women in International Business program to promote opportunities for Victorian women to make new connections and grow their export businesses.

For more information on these programs visit Victoria’s Trade Statement.