Business engagement

The New Colombo Plan is a partnership between government, universities and the private-sector to provide a new generation of Australians with direct experience of living, studying and undertaking work placements in the Indo-Pacific.

Business is central to the program’s ability to provide meaningful, course-related work experiences to complement students’ formal studies in the region, and the New Colombo Plan Secretariat welcomes enquiries about opportunities to engage with the program.

Internships, mentorships and practicums are a hallmark of the New Colombo Plan and provide students with opportunities to test their skills in real life situations, build cross-cultural competencies and develop professional networks that can last a lifetime.

The business community is providing strong support to the New Colombo Plan and its students.

Three new programs were announced by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, to provide opportunities for the business community in Australia and across the region to engage more deeply with the program.

New Colombo Plan Internship and Mentorship Network

The New Colombo Plan Internship and Mentorship Network connects universities, students and private-sector organisations in Australia and across the region to progress course-related work experiences for New Colombo Plan students.

As a registered Network member, private-sector host organisations can access a diverse talent pool and support students in obtaining professional experience in the region; and universities and New Colombo Plan students can access the opportunities made available by registered organisations.

New Colombo Plan Internship and Mentorship Network website

Mobility Partners Program

The New Colombo Plan Mobility Partners Program encourages universities to develop and foster innovative partnerships with business communities in Australia and across the region to enhance New Colombo Plan student experiences.

For example, a private-sector organisation may wish to finance the cost of an additional study period to enable students to have a longer period in-country, or they may wish to match Government funding to enable increased student participation. In-kind and financial sponsorship must go beyond the provision of internships, mentorships and briefings.

More information: Mobility Program.

Business Champions

New Colombo Plan Business Champions play an important role in promoting the value of regional study to students’ career prospects and in fostering business engagement with the New Colombo Plan.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop, appointed an additional 14 Business Champions in December 2017.

Media release: New Colombo Plan Business Champions, 14 December 2017

The New Colombo Plan Business Champions are:

  • Mr Michael Anghie, Managing Partner, Strategic Growth Oceania and Western Region | Asia Pacific Strategic Growth Leader, EY Australia
  • Ms Tania Archibald, CFO, BlueScope ANZ
  • Dr Eva Balan-Vnuk, State Director South Australia, Microsoft Australia
  • Mr Peter Botten, Managing Director, Oil Search
  • Ms Penny Burtt, Vice President Government Affairs Asia Pacific, Visa Worldwide Pte Ltd
  • Mr Peter Coleman, CEO and Managing Director, Woodside Energy Ltd
  • Ms Gabrielle Costigan, CEO, BAE Systems Australia
  • Mr Geoff Culbert, President and Chief Executive, GE Australia and New Zealand
  • Mr Grant Dooley, Executive Director Head of Asia, Hastings Fund Management
  • Sir Rod Eddington AO, Chairman Asia Pacific Advisory Council, J.P. Morgan
  • Mr Doug Ferguson, Partner, Head of Asia & International Markets, KPMG
  • Mr David Fried, CEO Emerging Markets, QBE
  • Mr Brian Hartzer, Chief Executive Officer, Westpac
  • Ms Wendy Holdenson, Chief Operating Officer and Director, Mitsui & Co
  • Ms Christine Holgate, CEO, Australia Post
  • Ms Jayne Hrdlicka, CEO, Qantas Loyalty & Digital Ventures
  • Mr Ian Kemish, Executive General Manager, Newcrest Mining
  • Ms Angela Mentis, Chief Customer Officer - Business and Private, NAB
  • Mr Steve McCann, Group CEO and Managing Director, Lendlease
  • Mr Mukund Narayanamurti, CEO, Asialink Business
  • Mr David Olsson, China Practice Consultant, King & Wood Mallesons
  • Mr Andrew Parker, Partner, Asia Practice Leader, PwC Australia
  • Mr Andrew Penn, CEO, Telstra
  • Mr Girish Ramachandran, President Asia Pacific, Tata Consultancy Services
  • Ms Ann Sherry, Executive Chairman, Carnival Australia
  • Ms Diane Smith-Gander, Non-Executive Director, Wesfarmers Ltd
  • Mr Rob Thomason, Executive General Manager Education, CPA Australia
  • Ms Sharon Warburton, Chairman, Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) and Non-Executive Director, Fortescue Metals Group, Gold Road Resources
  • Ms Alison Watkins, Group Managing Director, Coca-Cola Amatil
  • Ms Shemara Wikramanayake, Head of Macquarie Asset Management
  • Ms Nicola Yeomans, Partner, Head of SE Asia Corporate, Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Ms Maggie Zhou, Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, Alibaba Group


Sponsorship opportunities are available to connect your business with the New Colombo Plan and associate your business with one of our exceptional scholars.

In 2017, PwC will sponsor NCP scholarships in Indonesia, Japan and Singapore, and CPA Australia will sponsor a scholarship in China, providing valuable support to the program including leadership training, mentoring and professional development.


For more information on the New Colombo Plan’s business programs or to discuss opportunities to support the program, please contact the NCP Secretariat via

Last Updated: 14 December 2017