International Students Turned Entrepreneurs Give Back to Fuel More Startups
After graduation, the pair put their unique knowledge of the China market into practice, connecting unique Australian and international brands to Chinese consumers. Now they’re supporting new startups through the Sydney Genesis program.
Twice a year, the most promising startups take part in the Sydney Genesis competition, the finalists competing for equity-free prize money to boost their startup. The gift from Access Corporate will fund four Genesis competitions across two years.
Chief Brand Officer of Access Corporate, Livia Wang, said: “While 2021 has not been without its challenges, it has been incredible to witness the speed and scale of innovation in the world. It is why we want to support Genesis. It’s a great program that helps entrepreneurs pursue their dreams and gives them the best chance of success.”
In 2009, Ms Wang moved to Australia to study a Master of Strategic Public Relations at the University of Sydney. While studying at Sydney, she met classmate Warren Liu who would co-found Access together with Ms Wang and two other partners in 2017.
“We are delighted to welcome Livia and Warren back to the University of Sydney,” said Professor Leanne Cutcher, Head of the Discipline of Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which facilitates Sydney Genesis.
“Thanks to the generous gift of Access Corporate Group, we will be able to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs in the University of Sydney community. This will give a financial boost that the Genesis winners need to take their entrepreneurial venture to the next stage.”
More than 1000 University of Sydney alumni, students and staff have completed the Genesis program and raised over $55 million, creating more than 900 jobs.
Growing a global business
The Access co-founders are keen to share their knowledge and experience with new startups. Creating a supportive network and being flexible, Mr Liu said, was key to success, especially in a hyper-competitive online market. “Things change so rapidly. As entrepreneurs, we need to respond and find fast solutions to any issues and, more importantly, identify opportunities,” Warren Liu said.
After seeing many Australian businesses try to enter the China market and fail, Ms Wang and Mr Liu started Access Corporate Group with two other founders to represent and manage Australian and New Zealand brands, bringing them to Chinese consumers seeking lifestyle products. “Many brands were very keen to enter what they saw as a profitable potential market but were unsure how to establish a strong connection with the consumers,” Livia said.
That’s where Access came in. They took the idea of social influencers and created a sophisticated model to connect the brands with consumers much faster and more effectively. “Today we operate nearly 30 premium international brands in our portfolio including leading cosmetic brand Napoleon Perdis,” Livia said.
Access Corporate Group, an innovative brand management company, now has offices across Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Los Angeles, Frankfurt and Hangzhou, and its gross merchandise value is doubling each year.
Manager of the Genesis program, Alex Carpenter, said the Genesis community looks forward to future collaborations with Ms Wang and Mr Liu. “Startups are given the best chance of succeeding when they’re in a supportive environment, learning from experts in different fields.
“Their story demonstrates why there’s so much more to being a successful entrepreneur than getting the launch details right. It’s about bringing your unique expertise – whatever that may be – to a problem and contributing to the community.”