If the art of good business is reaching new clients then when Aussie Glenelg in Adelaide hired Navitas Professional Year graduate Steven Li – who speaks Mandarin and Japanese – as a loans broker, it opened the door to an untapped market.
“Steven came to us with a trifecta. He had good finance and communication acumen but his selling point was his ability to speak Mandarin and Japanese,” said Mr Robert Thornton, Franchise Principal of Aussie Glenelg.
“The changing demographics in Adelaide’s west means that more people from ethnic backgrounds are applying for loans or making enquiries. It’s a market that’s crying out to be tapped and Steven is helping us do that,” Robert said.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2008), 22.2% of overseas born Adelaide residents come from South-East Asia and 14.7% come from Chinese Asia and of these, more than half speak Mandarin.
Steven majored in accounting at Adelaide University in 2008 but hit the international student Catch 22 when he found it was ‘almost impossible’ to get a job in Australia without experience and he couldn’t get experience without getting a job.
“During the Navitas Professional Year Program I earned a Certificate 111 in Business and gained 10 permanent residency points. I’m now an Australian resident with a full time job,” Steven said.
During the Navitas Professional Year Program, Steven learned how to organise business meetings, develop new business and address people with confidence.
“It was a real introduction in to Australian workplace culture.”
On weekends Steven sets up his Aussie table in China Town near the Central Market and provides information on loans.
“Chinese people see me about credit cards, personal loans and residential home loans. Like Australians, they are always after the best home loan interest rate,” he said. “About half of my clients are Chinese. I think in the future there is real scope to open another franchise in China Town,” Steven said.
Steven said there are fundamental differences in doing business re China and Australia.
“I behave differently with a Chinese business man or woman. I am very careful with the words I choose. I am more formal and my body language is a little different. Australians are more relaxed. The outcomes are often the same but the process is different,” Steven said.
When Steven first at Aussie started Robert mentored him in the operation of loans broking.
“Steven sat in on interviews with me. I’d ask him questions and test his responses. He was a quick learner. We put him through a Certificate IV in Financial Services and after that, we put him in front of customers. We gave him plenty of support,” Robert said.
“The Chinese business community in Adelaide has provided fertile ground for the development of numerous successful enterprises in South Australia. With strong family and business networks in their countries of origin, as well as shared language and cultural ties, Steven is our ‘ambassador’ for a whole new market,” Robert said.
Employing Steven through Navitas was one of the best decisions I’ve made – with very little cost and a very good outcome,” Robert said.
For more information about the Navitas Professional Year Program visit: http://www.professional-year.com/