October 2020

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RTI helps India’s power stations go greener

Technicians sitting in a Mackay service centre are supporting environmental monitoring equipment in Indian power stations, overcoming both the tyranny of distance and travel restrictions imposed due to COVID-19.

Technicians sitting in a Mackay service centre are supporting environmental monitoring equipment in Indian power stations, overcoming both the tyranny of distance and travel restrictions imposed due to COVID-19.

Queensland business Real Time Instruments (RTI) manufactures state-of-the-art analysers that assess coal used in power stations in real time, allowing managers to optimise coal quality to reduce unwanted emissions.

With TIQ’s support, RTI signed a $4.7 million deal in 2017 to supply analysers to 5 Indian power stations owned by NTPC Limited, India’s largest energy conglomerate.

With the last of the 18 analysers commissioned at the Farakka Super Thermal Power Plant recently, RTI’s Chief Sales Officer Willem Robinson said the focus was now on managing and maintaining the analysers to achieve the best possible outcomes.

‘Our analysers sit on the conveyor belt in each power station and use neutron-activation technology to analyse the coal grade, providing data to the station managers about coal quality and probable emissions,’ he said.

‘Instead of measuring emissions after the fact, our technology provides pre-emptive information so that managers can make corrective control decisions before the coal is actually burnt.

‘As part of our service to NTPC, we also use remote access technology to monitor the analysers from here in Mackay, working with technicians on the ground in India to keep them operating at optimal levels.

‘This remote capacity has been even more important in recent months, because local Indian staff haven’t been able to travel to all the station locations due to COVID-19, but we’ve still been able to maintain and calibrate the analysers.’

Mr Robinson said TIQ’s support had been a key pillar of RTI’s success in India.

‘TIQ has always been with us,’ he said.

‘From our local adviser in Mackay to the mining team in Brisbane and the staff at TIQ India, they’ve all helped us along the way.

Mr Robinson said RTI was continuing to work on its export business despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘We’re keen to reinforce and build relationships across the sector, not just in coal but also in steel and other resources,’ he said.

‘COVID-19 has really reminded everyone that with remote access technology you can connect to anywhere in the world from Queensland.’

TIQ has worked with RTI to expand its export presence over a number of years, providing support through TIQ Mackay, the Mining, Resources and Energy team in Brisbane, and TIQ India.

RTI is represented in India by the Vishwa Group, who are also working with TIQ to explore opportunities and to increase the business footprint of Queensland-owned companies in India.

RTI employs more than 20 staff in its Mackay offices and a number of staff based in other Australian states.

The mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector is identified as one of Queensland’s emerging export strengths in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.


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Roadshow bears fruit for SSS Strawberries

A Wide Bay strawberry farm is harvesting the benefits of a $3 million investment secured as a direct result of a TIQ roadshow that toured the region last year.

Wide Bay business SSS Strawberries is harvesting the benefits of a $3 million investment secured after a TIQ roadshow toured the region last year.

The September Business Migration Investment roadshow brought 40 investment and migration agents and potential migrant investors from China, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and Pakistan to the region for a week to show them local investment and export opportunities.

TIQ CEO Paul Martyn said it was definitely a sweetener for one agent, who subsequently secured a $3 million investment for a joint venture with the Bundaberg farm.

‘The investment has helped SSS Strawberries to develop their business and expand operations, leading to a situation where they are now one of Australia’s 3 largest strawberry producers,’ Mr Martyn said.

‘The farm is also a strong local employer, supporting a seasonal, full-time workforce of 300 people from July to October and sending a daily container of delicious fruit to Woolworths to satisfy the strawberry cravings of Australian consumers.’

Investment Director for CIM Australasia Son Duong, who introduced the overseas investor to SSS Strawberries, said the 2019 roadshow was the catalyst for the deal.

‘As someone who attended the roadshow, it was a great opportunity for me to learn more about local businesses and the potential for investments for my clients,’ he said.

‘TIQ has opened up exciting investment opportunities in Queensland regional centres and we are thankful for such initiatives which have brought us valuable partnerships with local reputable, trustworthy and hardworking partners.

‘We hope to facilitate more investments in the near future,’ Mr Son said.

SSS Strawberries is a family-owned strawberry farm, run by the second generation of the Dang family.

The family has enjoyed great success since relocating to Bundaberg from Western Australia 10 years ago, currently growing over 2.6 million strawberry plants on a farm that covers more than 140 acres.

The $3 million investment is supporting a farm expansion and enabling SSS Strawberries to increase their export capacity and investigate processing options to expand their freeze-dried strawberry product line.

The 2019 roadshow was organised by TIQ’s Wide Bay Burnett office and Business and Skilled Migration Queensland team in partnership with local Wide Bay Burnett regional councils.

Agriculture is identified as one of Queensland’s export strengths in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

The Queensland Government has also recently launched the #pickqld program to help Queensland producers like SSS Strawberries attract more pickers amid the impacts of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

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Wagners to fly Oz flags at Dubai Expo

Queensland exporter Wagners CFT will manufacture the flagpoles that mark the VIP entrance to the Australian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Queensland exporter Wagners CFT will have the honour of making the flagpoles that mark the VIP entrance to the Australian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The Toowoomba company will fabricate 3 composite-fibre flagpoles that will fly Australia’s official flags: the Australian national flag, the Australian Aboriginal flag and the Torres Strait Islander flag.

The collaboration evolved from TIQ Middle East introducing the Wagners CFT (Composite Fibre Technology) team to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who are managing the Australian Pavilion.

Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for the Middle East Donna Massie said making the flagpoles was a special honour for the well-known Toowoomba company.

‘Several months ago we became aware that flagpoles were required for the Australian Pavilion, so we approached Wagners CFT for a discussion,’ Ms Massie said.

‘The company already produces composite-fibre bridges, jetties and light poles so we were keen to know if they could also manufacture flagpoles.

‘They said they could, so we made the necessary introductions and now Wagners CFT will be a part of World Expo history.

‘Their participation will assist them in making further construction contacts in the Middle East and raise their profile here, so it’s a great outcome all round.’

Under the contract, Wagners will supply the flagpoles on a ‘value in kind’ basis, with the Australian Pavilion reciprocating by supplying contacts, introductions and media coverage to the value of the flag poles.

Executive General Manager for Wagners CFT Michael Kemp welcomed the announcement and said the company was excited to contribute to another landmark project in the Middle East.

‘Around 6 months ago we completed our first major Middle East project, supplying and installing the Jubail Island Mangrove Boardwalk in Abu Dhabi,’ he said.

‘We’re very pleased to now have another memorable project to work on, and we’re very grateful to the TIQ team in Abu Dhabi for making the right introductions at the right time to make it happen.’

Expo 2020 Dubai has been rescheduled due to COVID-19 and is now due to run from October 2021 to March 2022.

TIQ is continuing to work with Wagners CFT to explore further opportunities in the Middle East.

If you have an export product you think could succeed in the Middle East, connect with TIQ today.

September 2020

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New exports of Queensland ‘caviar’ despite COVID-19

Scenic Rim business The Lime Caviar Company has exported to 2 new overseas markets in recent weeks, and is encouraging other Queensland businesses to ‘hang in there’ in the face of the challenges posed by COVID-19.

Scenic Rim business The Lime Caviar Company has exported to 2 new overseas markets in recent weeks, and is encouraging other Queensland businesses to ‘hang in there’ in the face of the challenges posed by COVID-19.

The company, which produces gourmet finger lime pearls on its farm near Rathdowney, exported its first shipments to Kuwait and the USA this month.

Owner and manager Ian Douglas said the company had also started resupplying existing overseas customers for the first time since their export business plunged in March due to COVID-19’s global impacts on the gourmet food sector.

‘Things started to open up about 5 weeks ago,’ Mr Douglas said.

‘Since then, we’ve sent product to Denmark, France and Japan to existing customers.

‘We’ve also sent about 400 cartons to a distributor in Kuwait for the first time this month, and 800 cartons to a new distributor in Miami, who is our first customer in the USA.

‘It’s surprising we are still getting new orders at a time like this, but we’re finding that they are still pushing ahead despite COVID-19.’

Mr Douglas said the company’s online presence was critical to acquiring new customers overseas in the current conditions.

‘Word is getting around about our product, and most of our new customers have approached us directly through our website,’ he said.

‘We are now negotiating with another company in Los Angeles, who contacted us online.

‘Our Miami distributor supplies the eastern seaboard of the USA, while the LA company supplies the West Coast, so that could be a real achievement for us in that market.

‘And we’re also talking to a potential distributor in Taiwan, who supplies supermarkets and restaurants.’

Mr Douglas said the company had faced challenges in getting their most recent shipments to customers due to air-freight disruptions and COVID-19 regulations, but it was good to begin what would be a gradual recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

‘We’re slowly getting there but it will still be a while,’ he said.

‘I’d encourage other food exporters to hang in there if they can.

‘I think things are going to come back and, when they do, the pent-up demand will be significant.

‘There’ll be a new way of doing things – a new set of food businesses looking for quality products.’

TIQ Ipswich has worked with The Lime Caviar Company over a number of years, and TIQ’s overseas offices have also supported the company’s overseas expansion in various markets.

Agriculture is identified as one of the state’s major export strengths in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy – 2017–2022.

If you’d like support getting your products into export markets, including advice on current air-freight arrangements, connect with TIQ today.

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Queensland bionic ear gets international funding

Queensland biotech start-up Augmented Bionics has raised $650,000 to develop a non-surgical alternative to cochlear implants,.

Queensland biotech start-up Augmented Bionics has raised $650,000 to develop a non-surgical alternative to cochlear implants, thanks to connections made on a TIQ mission to a major US conference last year.

The new funding, led by international intellectual property commercialisation company IP Group, will support clinical trials for the bionic ear later this year.

The Brisbane company attended BIO — the world’s largest gathering of biotech and pharma industry players — in Philadelphia as part of the Queensland delegation supported by TIQ in June 2019.

Augmented Bionics’ Co-founder and CEO Viraj Agnihotri said participating in BIO 2019 and the BIO Queensland – Investment Seminar had been transformational for the company.

‘The companies pitching at the investment seminar were the finest in Queensland and being able to present was an excellent chance to pitch our technology to major global biotech investors,’ Mr Agnihotri said.

‘It was right after we finished our pitch that I met representatives from IP Group and began discussions.’

Globally, millions of people with severe hearing loss are unable to access hearing technologies like cochlear implants due to high costs and the need for surgery.

Augmented Bionics hopes to address this need with a wearable, non-surgical bionic ear that aims to offer the same functionality as a cochlear implant.

Mr Agnihotri said the $650,000 in funding would enable the company to undertake pre-clinical and clinical proof-of-concept testing.

‘Our aim is to establish that our tech works and is safe and efficient,’ he said.

‘Then we will recruit volunteers who need a cochlear implant but can’t or don’t want to get one for clinical trials in early 2021.

‘Initially we hope to enable them to hear crude sounds, but we want to reach a point where they can understand speech and clearly discern it from environmental sound.’

The bionic ear will undergo 3–4 years of development and clinical testing, with the goal of bringing it to market in 2025.

TIQ Principal Trade and Investment Officer Alita Singer congratulated Augmented Bionics on their funding success.

‘It’s great to see a Queensland biotech start-up that’s developing technology to meet an incredibly pressing clinical need secure international investment,’ she said.

‘TIQ is proud to have invited Augmented Bionics to be a part of our investment seminar at BIO in Philadelphia and we look forward continuing to support the company as it develops its bionic ear and raises further capital.’

Mr Agnihotri expects the benefits from presenting at BIO 2019 to continue long-term.

‘For any biotech company, the USA is the biggest market so it’s great that we found some contacts during our time at BIO that can provide access to US-based investment,’ he said.

‘After our next phase of capital raising of $2–3 million commencing later this year, we’re looking at needing to raise a further $8–9 million and we’d want to go to the USA again to do that.’

Supporting start-ups and Queensland’s biotech sector are priorities under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

If you’re a start-up or tech firm looking for export support, connect with TIQ today.


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Innovation Leaders Summit a game changer in Japan

Attending the Innovation Leaders Summit in Japan in 2019 was a game changer for Queensland cybersecurity champions Cryptoloc.

Attending the Innovation Leaders Summit (ILS) in Japan in 2019 was a game changer for Queensland cybersecurity champions Cryptoloc, says founder and Chairman Jamie Wilson.

Cryptoloc – recently named in Forbes magazine’s Top 20 cybersecurity start-ups – built on the connections and support from the summit to open a new Tokyo office just 6 months later.

Mr Wilson urged other Queensland start-ups to look at attending the next summit, a virtual version of ILS scheduled for March 2021.

‘For anyone looking at starting a business in Japan, ILS is well and truly a springboard into the market,’ Mr Wilson said.

‘It was about making connections faster than normal because you had the Queensland Government behind you.

‘In Japan, government support adds legitimacy and that helps open doors fast.

‘Our participation in ILS is the only reason that we’ve been able to establish our Tokyo team and build up relationships in Japan.’

Mr Wilson said TIQ had broadened Cryptoloc’s horizons and provided invaluable on-the-ground support in Japan.

‘Cryptoloc hadn’t considered entering Japan before TIQ approached us to join ILS in 2019,’ he said.

‘ILS gave us a safe environment to go into the market and have conversations with key players to understand more about the people and the culture.

‘The support from the TIQ Japan team in Tokyo before and after the event was brilliant.

‘Having Japanese people provide feedback on our pitch ahead of the event in Tokyo was extremely useful … and after ILS, TIQ Tokyo helped us understand how to position ourselves in the market and introduced us to their networks.

‘It’s who you know, not what you know in Japan.’

Mr Wilson said Cryptoloc’s Tokyo office opened in March this year and was tracking well, capitalising on its bricks and mortar presence and his own time in market prior to COVID-19.

‘The reason we’ve moved forward so fast in Japan has been because of my time investment – I visited the country every month after ILS – and then establishing an office there,’ he said.

‘Physically having local people on the ground is “Business101” in Japan – once customers see the value of your product for themselves, the adoption process is much easier.

‘The office has also meant we’ve been able to continue business and build on the strength of our emerging relationships despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘I’m big on relationships over business, because I know that business will follow when there’s a trust element there.’

The Innovation Leaders Summit is Asia’s largest open innovation event, connecting major Japanese corporations to global start-ups through individual meetings. It’s a unique opportunity for Queensland scale-ups and innovative tech companies to pitch directly to Japan’s leading corporations.

If you’re considering participating in Innovation Leaders Summit 2021, please submit your expression of interest by 30 September. For more information, please email Amanda Russell at amanda.russell@tiq.qld.gov.au.

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Orange Glow pumpkin gets online intro to Japan

A new variety of pumpkin developed in North Queensland was introduced to Japanese buyers and decision-makers during Queensland’s first virtual agricultural trade mission recently.

A new variety of pumpkin developed in North Queensland was introduced to Japanese buyers and decision-makers during Queensland’s first virtual agricultural trade mission recently.

The new Orange Glow pumpkins have a thin, almost transparent skin that is both edible and contains up to 4 times the beta-carotene found in regular pumpkins.

They were promoted during a 3-day ‘virtual mission’ to Japan, undertaken by TIQ in conjunction with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Orange Glow pumpkins featured in a cook-off during the mission between Consul-General of Japan in Brisbane Kazunari Tanaka and Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner, watched by legendary Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai in TIQ’s Tokyo office.

TIQ also connected Orange Glow creators Daintree Fresh and exporter Harrowsmiths with Japanese importer Wismettac for a 1-on-1 virtual meeting, and supplied samples of the pumpkins to Wismettac’s Tokyo office for the meeting.

Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Japan Tak Adachi said it was encouraging to see the success of the first virtual mission, which included a range of online events and briefings.

‘Our Japanese Government colleagues were impressed with how the Queensland Government has adapted to online engagement at a Ministerial level so quickly,’ Mr Adachi said.

‘Using the latest technology for events like a virtual tour of the new greenhouse at the Queensland Government’s Ayr Research Facility was particularly powerful.

‘Being in the same time zone as Japan, Queensland is well placed to achieve new investment outcomes through virtual visits while international travel is disrupted.’

The TIQ Japan team also gave a virtual briefing to 30 export-ready Queensland agri-food businesses during the mission, providing insights on the Japanese market, including consumer preferences and ecommerce opportunities.

Co-hosted by the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland, the briefing also offered participants the chance to network and learn about participating in Foodex 2021, Japan’s key annual food trade show.

Queensland is on a run with pumpkin exports to the Japanese market, with Queensland growers exporting another variety — the kabocha pumpkin — to Japan in June.

Japan is Queensland’s largest agricultural export market, importing over 19% of the state’s total agricultural exports in 2019–20, valued at an estimated $9.55 billion.

Previous events have promoted Queensland produce in Japan, including a high-profile 2018 lunch prepared by Iron Chef Sakai at his La Rochelle restaurant in Tokyo.

The virtual mission to Japan took place on 1–3 September, and was undertaken as part of the Queensland Government’s Unite & Recover Economic Recovery Plan, which includes $5 million to support agricultural trade.

If you’re a primary producer interested in export opportunities to Japan for your fresh produce, contact TIQ Japan or one of our regional TIQ offices.