Interview with a V.I.E - Valentin Bouteiller hosted at FACCI Sydney

    Trade, NSW  | 

    Introduction:

    Could you briefly summarise your career path before coming to Australia?

    After my graduation in Political Science and numerous work experiences in various sectors (banking, education, retail, defence…) I decided to complete my knowledge and skills with a Master’s Degree in Management of the Defence Industry. That same year, I worked as an Export Sales Assistant at ECA Group, a French company specialised in the manufacturing of underwater, terrestrial and aerial military drones. This experience allowed me to get a good understanding of the drone market and led me to meet Delair-Tech’s CEO, who offered me the opportunity to join his company as the first International Volunteer in Australia in 2016.

    Your reasons for taking part in the V.I.E Program:

    Why have you chosen to be a V.I.E?

    When I was a student, I already wanted to work in a foreign country after university. For me, with the interconnected world in which we live, speaking English and having the capability to adapt myself to different cultures became essential to get the career I have always dreamed of. Thus, working in a foreign country as a V.I.E was the perfect opportunity for me to develop new professional skills and get valuable experience in an international environment.

    Reasons for coming to Australia:

    Why have your company decided to develop their business in Australia?

    Delair-Tech decided to develop its business in Australia because this market had a good sales potential on a short-term basis. The company already had several competitors doing business in Australia, and also had lots of Australian prospective clients enquiring every month about its products. Furthermore, the drone regulation was expected to evolve in the next few months to become one of the most permissible in the world. For all these reasons, Australia quickly became one of the most obvious target markets for Delair-Tech to develop its sales outside Europe.

    Relationship with FACCI:

    Why did your company choose to be hosted at FACCI?

    When Delair-Tech decided to send a V.I.E to Australia to develop its business internationally and get a better understanding of the market, it had no office in this country and it didn’t have the financial capacity to build its own structure. The company was therefore looking for a flexible and cost-effective solution to integrate into this market. Being hosted at FACCI was definitely the most valuable alternative solution due to all the advantages it brings at a very acceptable cost.

    What did you find easy in the development of your company here?

    Despite some local particularities, Australia is a developed country that shares many aspects of its business world with European countries and France. For instance, we share a Western business culture based on procedures and mutual trust; the local regulations are usually similar to those existing in Europe, and we also share common standards in terms of quality, certification, and capability to accept higher prices to get better results. All these factors influenced the company’s decision to send a representative to Australia and eased our ability to integrate into this market.

    Where did you struggle?

    I would say finding the right local partners was the most difficult part of my mission. Indeed, Australians are known to be very relaxed and friendly people, however newcomers should not be mistaken because Australians are still not easy people to convince. To be successful in Australia, it is often necessary for the company wanting to integrate into this market to build a certain legitimacy and a trustworthy image before hoping to do business. Increasing its reputation is therefore essential, but potential partners will have to be assessed rigorously if the company wants to get its first success quickly.

    What was easier/harder than you expected?

    Due to the availability of information, notably thanks to internet and social media, I would say it is quite easy to get in touch with the people we are looking for, if we use the right methods. On the contrary, although it is quite easy to find and reach people, building rapport with potential customers was harder than expected, which is why I think it is very important to care about the details and getting the right angle when we want to do business with Australians.

    How did being hosted by FACCI benefit you?

    How has being hosted by FACCI helped you? What did it bring to your daily work life?

    As explained before, being hosted by FACCI brings many advantages to a new company wanting to do business in Australia. Firstly, it allows the company to join a network of French and Australian companies and entrepreneurs that can be used as a lever to reach the right people as fast as possible in order to conclude its first partnerships and sales. Secondly, as a FACCI member, the local representatives can attend business events allowing you to meet high-level executives from different sectors who are usually keen to share useful information about Australian particularities and the best practices in this market. Finally, having their office at FACCI is a real opportunity for the new V.I.E to share his/her experiences and struggles with more experienced V.I.Es that will give him/her good advice on how to be operational as soon as possible.

    Conclusion:

    What was your main achievement during your time as a V.I.E in Australia?
    My main achievement during this mission was undoubtedly winning the 4th Grand Prix V.I.E Australia in 2016, a prize that I was awarded in person by H.E. Christophe Lecourtier, Ambassador of France to Australia. The Grand Prix V.I.E is indeed a unique opportunity for V.I.Es to share their experience with a jury of high-level executives from French organisations and companies whose mission is to assess the quality of the V.I.Es applications according to several criteria. Receiving this award was the perfect conclusion to my time as a V.I.E in Australia, as it actually rewarded all my achievements and made this experience even more special to me. 

    Any recommendations for V.I.Es planning on coming to Australia?

    After a year spent in Australia, I can admit that although Australians love France, French people still suffer from a bad reputation in Australia. Indeed, they are still considered as arrogant and too confident, which is why I would recommend to all the future V.I.Es that if they want to be successful in Australia, the first thing they should keep in mind is to remain humble and modest with their Australians interlocutors.

     

    If you or your company are interested in finding out more about the V.I.E Program and FACCI’s hosting availability, please contact the FACCI Trade Team:

     

    Estelle Pages                            Emily Phillips
    Head of Business Support         National Trade & Marketing Coordinator
    +61 3 9027 5644                      +61 2 80764291
    estelle.pages@facci.com.au     emily.phillips@facci.com.au

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