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Member Spotlight: 5 Minutes With Nick Harrington, Co-founder Of Aurora Equus

ACBC (NSW) Member Spotlight: 5 minutes with… Nick Harrington, Co-Founder of Aurora Equus.



Nick Harrington is an entrepreneur with experience in building businesses across industries and across geographies. Nick originally started off his career working in the investment industry, as a manager at Social Ventures Australia, followed by the hedge fund, Yendys Capital. While investing in fast growth businesses, Nick has developed social enterprises in Africa, using the power of business to create social good. Nick is passionate about the Australia-China growth opportunity. Nick is currently completing his MBA at University of Sydney.


Tell us about your business and how you've leveraged your Australia-China connections to build your success in China?


Aurora Equus is a Sydney based business producing unique Australian made consumer products. We trade our products under our own brand, Natural Equilibrium. Our core focus at the moment is in commercializing the feral Australian donkey herd and producing a traditional Chinese product called, 'e jiao'. E Jiao is predominately made from donkey skin gelatine and has a long history in China. This is a large industry and there is a significant unmet need for donkeys to fulfill the growing product demand. We have unique access to Australian donkeys and processing facilities to fill that gap.



In building our business we have leveraged numerous Australia-China connections. Initially we have used our Chinese networks with market research, new product development, brand story sound boarding and more. A key connection into China, has been David Bellamy, founder of Bellamy's Organic (ASX:BAL) with his extensive connections in country.

What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on


A typical day for me and the team revolves around creating great product and getting it to market. We are constantly working on ensuring our supply chain is running smoothly so we can create our premium product. There are lots of components to our supply chain, stretching across the length of  Australia, so we are constantly checking in with our partners on our collective execution.





At the moment we are working hard on developing our distribution channels domestically, so we can build sales. At the moment we are not exporting directly to China, but we are very eager to get to this next milestone.


What would you say are the five key elements for starting and running a successful business in/with China?

Our business is still  in its very early days, so I wouldn't jump to labelling it a success. We try to keep things simple and work on the following elements:

  • Meaningful and quality partnerships - we can't go it alone and rely on several partners to create a great product and value for our business. We work hard on developing really strong relationships built on trust and an open book
  • We focus on building a high quality and sustainable business- meaning we don't lunch at the shiny new thing, but rather we stick to the core strategy and think long-term
  • While still small and a young business, we believe that setting the right culture is essential - it reflects in our partners we choose and how we do business. It also means that we make sure we have fun and focus on the human elements of business 

How do you go about marketing your business in Australia/China and what has contributed to this success?


True to our core philosophy of business partnership, we have worked with distribution and marketing partners, China Road, to craft our message and story. This is an ongoing piece of work, but relies on leveraging China Road's expansive network here and in China. Social media is a really important part of our marketing strategy.




You have been very successful to date, but there have no doubt been challenges - what's been your biggest challenge that you have overcome in your business journey with China?


There certainly have been many challenges. Murphy's law is real and ever present, despite meticulous planning, things often take longer than we would have hoped and it's inevitable that somethings don't go to plan. Getting our first run of donkeys through the entire supply chain earlier in the year had a few hiccups, but with the benefit of great partners, we were able to pull through, and we learned a huge amount from that experience, it made us think more creatively.



What's your motto/mantra?

Our motto is to stay as focused as possible. In a new business category like ours, lots of weird and wonderful conversations spring up all the time, we just need to focus on the task at hand and keep ticking each key milestone off, one at a time.