$50,000 grant will see Mackay coral business bloom
A MAJOR supplier of coral to the global home and commercial marine aquarium industry is among seven Queensland small-and-medium sized businesses to receive new Advance Queensland funding.
It will be announced today that Mackay's Ultra Coral Australia will share in a total of $325,000 in State Government funding.
Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said Ultra Coral Australia was a major supplier of the world's most beautiful corals to the global home and commercial marine aquarium industry.
Ms Gilbert said the business would receive $50,000 funding to bring a James Cook University graduate into the business.
"The graduate will provide technical expertise and scientific knowledge in growing and breeding of corals to create highly sought after new varieties," she said.
"This Palaszczuk Government program provides benefits for businesses and for the graduates, who get to use their academic knowledge, learn new business skills and exchange ideas - which are critical to the knowledge transfer process."
Founder of Ultra Coral Australia Nic Dos Santos said the graduate will help develop a new scientific edge for their largest export markets including the US, China and Germany.
"Our graduate marine biologist will enable us to become the first organisation in Queensland to aquaculture corals for supply to the global marine aquarium industry," Mr Dos Santos said.
"The graduate will develop new techniques to aquaculture corals with features highly sought after by the marine aquarium industry.
"This Advance Queensland initiative will enable us to increase our turnover, increase our exports, and employ up to an additional 19 people over the next five to 10 years, of which nine positions will be knowledge-based in the fields of marine science and aquaculture."
Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said the funding would allow the seven businesses to partner with universities to help create economic growth and new jobs.
"The graduates will be placed with these Queensland businesses identified under the latest funding round of the Advance Queensland Knowledge Transfer Partnerships program," Ms Enoch said.
"The Knowledge Transfer Partnerships program will foster relationships between Queensland business and universities to exchange skills and ideas that ultimately inspire innovation.
"Each business will receive up to $50,000 towards the cost of employing an honours, masters or PhD graduate who will work on an innovative project aimed at supporting economic growth and generating more jobs in Queensland," Ms Enoch said.
Knowledge Transfer Partnership support has also been provided in this latest round of funding to Agapeflows Pty Ltd in Coorparoo ($50,000), Bioproton Pty Ltd in Sunnybank ($47,000), Biarri Optimisation at Hendra ($50,000), Synengco Pty Ltd at Highgate Hill ($50,000) and the Sunshine Coast's Mindstar Entertainment (Verrierdale $50,000) and Queensland Oztag Group (Buddina $28,000).
Advance Queensland is a $420 million suite of initiatives to transform the state's economy, create knowledge jobs of the future and build Queensland's reputation as a global innovation and investment destination.
"The Palaszczuk Government has committed $3.4 million through the Advance Queensland Knowledge Transfer Partnerships program to fund 61 innovative business projects across the state," Ms Enoch said.
"Many of the 61 graduates employed to undertake the projects have found permanent employment with the business or partnering university, and additional jobs have been created as a direct result of the project outcomes."
To qualify for the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships program, businesses must be based in Queensland, employ fewer than 200 people, contribute one third of the eligible project costs and have a project which would strongly benefit from a higher degree graduate with specialised knowledge and skills.
For further information about the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships program or to apply for funding visit the Advance Queensland website.