Meet Kemü Café: NBN Co’s Glocals Academy Mentorship Winner
Everyone is different. For every human being on Earth there is a new, unique mix of tastes, needs, wants and desires.
The further away you get from your local area, the more those individual tastes may differ from your own.
The cultures of each little council transition into regional cultures, and then state-wide cultures, before you ultimately reach cultures that are entirely new to you as you venture overseas.
It means that the further your business can reach beyond your local boundaries, the more your product or service can expand to find more customers and meet new needs.
Moving beyond your local area is an important step towards business growth.
As such, one of the more powerful uses of the nbn™ broadband access network can be seen in the small businesses sector.
It helps these operations to expand without the overheads of physically opening up a new office or shop in a new location. You can stay local, but go global.
The process of Going Glocal is booming on the back of fast broadband!
In fact, 91 per cent of Australian business owners see online technology as vital to any attempt to go Glocal.
And with 46 per cent of local business already – or hoping to be – operating overseas within the next 12-months, the demand for having a plan over the nbn™ access network is high.
The Glocal Report showed that the primary target country for overseas expansion is China, which should come as no surprise.
It’s relatively close, has a booming economy, and 57 potential customers for every one customer here in Australia.
In order to ensure local businesses move towards China with their best foot forward, NBN Co created the Glocals Academy. Hosted by CT Johnson, the managing director of Cross Border Management and an expert in exports, the Academy released six free essential tutorials that detail the hows and whys of operating in China.
As part of that initiative, there was also a competition: three lucky businesses received a six-month mentorship to help get them operating successfully in China.
Today we’re taking a closer look at the third of our winners, Kemü Café.
What is Kemü Café?
“We were walking past this vacant shop in a great seafront location for months wondering what we could do there,” explained Andrew Cox, Central Coast businessman and co-founder of Kemü Café.
“There were no vegetarian restaurants in Terrigal at the time, so we started planning Kemü Café. But about a month before we opened, our little three-year-old girl was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and that started a whole new learning curve for us.”
“It turned out that many of our initial customers were doctors, dieticians and other medical specialists, and after talking to them and running some more tests, we decided to eliminate dairy from her diet.
“We adopted what we now know as a whole food plant based diet. Once we experienced the benefits of this and discovered so many of our customers’ experiences were similar, this really set the direction for our business.”
Andrew’s initial challenges with his new business idea has set him up well for the barriers he will face going Glocal.
“One of the many challenges for us is that we are trying to propel people into quite a big cultural shift,” Andrew revealed.
“There is a large influence of cognitive dissonance where people have been told a series of messages most of their lives and now science and practical experience is going against that belief system.
“Smoking was once promoted as being healthy and calming without much information about the long term effects – today we know different, but some people still smoke.”
“For much of our lives, we have been told that we need to eat meat for protein and have dairy for calcium. One of our main challenges has been countering this with evidence based messages to benefit our health and the environment."
Why is Kemü Café Going Glocal?
Andrew believes that access to fast broadband will dynamically change the business landscape in Australia and that Going Glocal is a natural next step for his company.
“Fast broadband enables a business to think outside their current frame of reference,” Andrew says.
“For instance, our little food outlet in a sleepy, but beautiful seaside town can explore opportunities for digital products with a global reach. Products like webinars, informational videos, mashups, eBooks, music and more.”
“Our business is morphing continually,” Andrew continues. “Having an impact on a much larger market will help us achieve our goals faster and evolve into bigger and better things.
“The concept of digital products, micro payments and internet marketing to a global audience are transformational to any business with vision.”
For Andrew, moving into specific markets like China is about more than just exposing their product to a larger customer base.
He believes there is a specific need for Kemü Café that will really benefit the lives of many Chinese people.
“Over 50 per cent of the mainland Chinese population are obese, with diabetes impacting over 30 per cent,” says Andrew.
“Animal agriculture also has a huge detrimental effect on the Chinese environment and economy overall. Our business is about transforming lives, to assist people being healthier and living a more sustainable, lower-impact lifestyle.
“Our market in China alone is around 30 times that in Australia and in far greater need of change.”
That said, Andrew does foresee plenty of difficulties adapting to this new marketplace, especially when it comes to the communication barrier. “I am anticipating the challenges going into the Chinese market will be more cultural and language based.
“Being able to understand the various peoples’ starting frame of mind and being able to influence buying habits to a more sustainable and healthy reference is one aspect. Knowing and being able to leverage the different online platforms will be another aspect we will need to master.”
How winning the Glocals Academy competition will help Kemü Café
Thankfully for Andrew, he is one of three lucky winners in NBN Co’s six-month Glocals Academy mentorship competition.
“I hardly ever win competitions,” he enthuses, “probably because I hardly ever enter into them! This particular opportunity sounded too good to pass up!”
“I’m excited about the opportunity to pick an expert’s mind who has experience in the region. Even though Mandy [Andrew’s wife and business partner] is from Taiwan, this will be our first foray into the Chinese market.
“We want to make this first move right so we can carry over our brand to the new market in the best light possible.
“I’m hoping that our business will be able to focus on what matters most and be able to find a launching platform into broader markets, where we are able to influence more people.”