Group of Twelve

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A group of marine industry experts and former association heads has launched Global Marine Business Advisors, a consulting service for the recreational marine industry. The experts are based in 12 countries. GMBA said it will provide services to clients “separately or collectively” for improved business practices.

“We established ourselves on the idea that our members have a huge amount of tacit knowledge from the marine/boating industry,” Jouko Huju, the group’s spokesperson, told Trade Only Today. “If you look at the accrued time we have from the industry, it adds up to over 300 years. We know from experience how difficult it is, especially for smaller companies, to cope with changes, growth and to expand markets. We gather intel, look into data, use our contacts to find partners for new markets.”

Former NMMA president Thom Dammrich said he often received calls from marine businesses asking if he knew someone who could help with challenges. He said the group was designed to advise new and long-term businesses.

“Together, we have one of the largest networks of marine industry professionals in the world,” Dammrich told Trade Only Today. “There is not an industry segment where the group doesn’t have expertise or the ability to locate the expertise. We can help people get where they want to go faster because we have been there.”

Dammrich said the group brings the capability to assist with business development, marketing, export promotion, data collection, internal and external relations with governments and agencies, marinas and marina management, OEM manufacturing, and aftermarket sales.

“These worldwide advisors also bring a cultural dimension to their approaches, with an in-depth appraisal of the markets in which they live and work. Many countries may speak a similar language, but the social mores can be very different,” Dammrich said.

The group’s members are based in Australia, United Arab Emirates, Finland, France, Holland, Italy, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Huju, former chairman of Finnboat, said the group is considering members in other countries. “Any project may start in one country but can grow to include two or several countries,” he said.

“I have always felt it can be a tough road for marine businesses entering and surviving nationally and globally,” added Mary Anne Edwards, former CEO of the Australian Marine Export Group and Superyacht Australia. “For businesses to be able to have access to the level of professional knowledge and expertise this group can offer is a plus for the industry.”

“There isn’t another group in recreational boating that is as knowledgeable and geographically diverse,” said YP Loke, managing director of Spinnaker International and the Singapore member of GMBA.

Loke said that market information about boating industries in most Asian markets tends to flow through Singapore. “Boating is at an early stage of the industry development cycle in most Asian markets — Hong Kong and Japan being the exceptions — and boating institutions are not well developed, so market information is hard to come by,” he said. “Knowing someone on the ground is often key to extracting market insights.”

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