August 2020

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Trisco pivots to lend a hand during COVID-19

Trisco Foods – Queensland’s Exporter of the Year for 2019 – hasn’t let the COVID-19 pandemic slow it down, instead diversifying production lines to make much-needed hand sanitiser.

Trisco Foods – Queensland’s Exporter of the Year for 2019 – hasn’t let the COVID-19 pandemic slow it down, instead diversifying production lines to make much-needed hand sanitiser.

The family-owned food manufacturing business is currently producing 5,000L a week of Precise Defend hand sanitiser at its Carole Park factory in Ipswich.

The hand sanitiser is part of Trisco’s long-term expansion into products approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for use in clinical settings such as hospitals and aged-care facilities.

Trisco Foods Vice President of Sales and Marketing Mark Halloran said the company had harnessed its industry connections to diversify product lines and minimise the business impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘As the pandemic began, we saw a decline in demand for our traditional product lines such as toppings, sundaes and bakery fillings, which we supply to the food-services sector, quick-service restaurants and bakery markets,’ Mr Halloran said.

‘We already had a strong existing brand presence through our Precise products, which we’ve been supplying to the clinical industry for 8 years.

‘We were discussing releasing some TGA-approved products before the pandemic, so the launch of our hand sanitiser has assisted us with becoming TGA-compliant.

‘These types of products are a natural fit within the health and nutrition segment of our business.’

Trisco’s Precise brand already included a range of thickeners and cups for people who have difficulty swallowing.

The new Precise Defend hand sanitiser is being supplied Australia-wide to wholesale clients including Queensland Health, aged-care facilities and hospitals.

Mr Halloran said production of the hand sanitiser commenced on 1 May and the company started selling immediately.

‘We had pre-orders from existing customers, which meant we were able to manufacture and ship immediately – certainly one of the joys of having good relationships with customers,’ he said.

Trisco Foods is owned by the Tristram family, which has been manufacturing food and beverage products in Queensland since 1875.

TIQ has worked with the company for more than 16 years, supporting Trisco’s export activities through both TIQ Ipswich and a number of TIQ overseas offices.

TIQ Acting CEO Richard Watson said Trisco Food’s ability to continue to grow during challenging times was to be commended.

‘Queenslanders should be immensely proud to see a family-owned company that’s been operating for over 100 years remaining committed to developing new products,’ he said.

‘TIQ looks forward to continuing to work with Trisco Foods as they enter this new chapter of developing TGA-approved products.’

Mr Halloran said the company would continue to manufacture hand sanitiser and intended to export sanitiser products in the near future.

‘We’ve been working the export area for a long time, exporting to over 20 countries across Asia, the Middle East, the US and Europe,’ he said.

‘We’ve registered the Precise Hand Sanitiser brand in New Zealand and, once we have a wider range of these sanitiser products in production, we will start looking at other markets like Singapore.’

Trisco Foods currently employs more than 80 staff at its Carole Park factory and plans to hire more production staff and specialist sales staff to promote the new sanitiser.

Supporting Queensland exporters is a priority under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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EGR Auto shielding community from COVID-19

Automotive accessory manufacturer EGR Group is helping keep Queenslanders safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, producing face shields and rigid, clear plastic protective screens in Brisbane.

Automotive accessory manufacturer EGR Group is helping keep Queenslanders safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, producing face shields and rigid, clear plastic protective screens in Brisbane.

The company was among the first Queensland companies to pivot as the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Continued local and international demand for the Salisbury company’s new products means they are looking to continue manufacturing these items long term.

General Manager Sales and Marketing Noel O’Malley said EGR Group’s success in pivoting was due to their existing manufacturing capabilities.

‘We’re a Brisbane-based manufacturer employing 700 staff here and we’re quite unique in that we have a large plastics extrusion plant with state-of-the-art German machines able to make the components for protective screens and face shields,’ Mr O’Malley said.

‘When the pandemic started, we received intense domestic and international interest to buy these products.

‘With the face shields, we quickly designed and tooled up all the required injection-moulded components.

‘The clear shield part is made in Brisbane along with the halo and the straps, and we put it together – even the box is made in Brisbane.

‘It’s hard to get a product that’s more Australian-made than that unless it’s grown in the ground!

‘Within 4 weeks of starting in April, we were making 10,000 face shields a day and we are currently producing 25,000 a day.

‘We now have a team of 25 manufacturing staff just making the face shields and we produced 117,000 last week.’

The family-owned advanced manufacturing business traditionally specialises in making ute canopies and bull bars for motor companies in Australia and internationally, exporting to over 40 countries.

The company’s face shields have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Association in Australia and are made from high optical quality PETG which is recyclable.

Mr O’Malley said EGR Group had been working with state and federal governments to pursue contract orders while also exploring export opportunities.

‘We’ve recently secured an order for 500,000 face shields via a medical supply company to be added to Australia’s national stockpile of PPE,’ he said.

‘In the USA, we’re working with a number of companies to trial our product and we’re hopeful of securing some orders in the next few weeks to be shipped via sea from our Brisbane factory.’

Mr O’Malley said pivoting to sell products outside of the automotive industry during the pandemic had been challenging at times.

‘COVID-19 meant we had a massive drop off in sales of our automotive products in March and April before we pivoted.

‘But because selling medical supplies is not our core business, navigating government regulations and trying to secure contracts has been challenging.

‘We’ve seen a surge in demand in recent weeks – the situation in Victoria and a few of the scares in Queensland and New South Wales has resulted in companies being even more conscious of the need to create a safer environment for their workers.’

EGR Group is committed to producing these products long-term and is currently working on adding additional features.

‘For example, we are undertaking product development to make the product truly anti-fog,’ Mr O’Malley said.

‘Our aim is to make the best reusable face shield in Australia with a replaceable shield and easy-to-clean parts.

‘We’re finding in this recent second round of demand that consumers are looking for reusable products to reduce waste.

‘We think we will have one of the best, most cost-effective reusable face shields in the market and we think there’s an opportunity to offer this product long term.’

EGR Group is based at Salisbury, Brisbane, with factories in the UK, North America, China and Thailand.

EGR is proud to join TIQ’s #SupportQLDExport campaign to celebrate exporters who have been succeeding globally and locally, showing resilience, adaptability and dedication over the past year.

Learn more about the campaign and share your #SupportQLDExport story.

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Make connections at Market Connect – Japan

Queensland companies can share information, hear from experts, and discuss the current Japanese business environment at a free online forum on 24 September.

Queensland companies can share information, hear from experts, and discuss the current Japanese business environment at a free online forum on 24 September.

The interactive Market Connect – Japan forum is the second in a series that gives Queensland businesses the latest information on overseas markets in the ‘new normal’ created by COVID-19.

Experts speaking at the Japan forum will include Mr Tak Adachi, Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Japan; Mr John Moriwaka, CEO of Silicon Valley Ventures and Executive Vice President and CIO of Moriwaka Medical; and Mr Jamie Wilson, Founder and Executive Chairman of award-winning Queensland business Cryptoloc Technology, which recently opened an office in Tokyo.

Queensland businesspeople who participated in the previous forum on Taiwan have given very positive feedback.

Cairns businesswoman Johanna Kloot said she particularly valued getting up-to-date information direct from overseas markets.

‘The forum was a great opportunity to ask questions directly in a room of people who are most likely to know the answers, including people based in Taiwan,’ she said

‘I really believe that local knowledge and experience can be, and often are, critical to business survival.

‘I’d encourage other businesses to go along – the information helps you make sure that your time and other resources are focused in the areas where you have the greatest chance of success.’

Ms Kloot is CEO of GreenKPI, which provides software to help businesses become more environmentally sustainable. The company intends to export to the UK and APAC regions.

Participant Simona Valev from Brisbane natural skincare firm RAWKANVAS also attended the Taiwan forum and found it a great opportunity to learn from other businesspeople.

‘It was great to network with other businesses that are exporting or looking at exporting, to learn from others and to hear about their challenges and insights,’ she said.

‘Sometimes being in business can be a little lonely, so it’s good to relate to others who are in the same position and have an opportunity to build your business by learning from them.

‘I’d definitely encourage others business owners to participate in a workshop if they can.’

RAWKANVAS is currently exporting to New Zealand.

The Market Connect – Japan webinar will be held on Thursday 24 September from 10.30am to 12.30pm Queensland time.

TIQ provides a range of training and support to Queensland exporters through 8 offices in regional Queensland and 16 overseas offices. For more information, connect with TIQ today.

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Queensland still smart choice for Chinese students

Queensland's education sector was showcased to almost 600,000 Chinese students and agents earlier this month during a live broadcast held as part of China’s leading international education expo.

Queensland’s education sector was showcased to almost 600,000 Chinese students and agents earlier this month during a live broadcast held as part of China’s leading international education expo.

The China International Education and Exhibition Tour (CIEET) has been held annually in China since 1999 and moved online this year for the first time due to COVID-19 restrictions.

TIQ and Study Queensland partnered with education and training providers to reiterate the safety, diversity, and employability benefits of a Queensland education, highlight recent innovations in the sector, and promote the state’s iconic lifestyle.

Study Queensland Executive Director Shannon Willoughby said maintaining a strong relationship with China – the source of Queensland’s largest cohort of international students – was important.

‘While travel is on hold, it’s critical that we let current and future students who remain in China know that we keenly await their return when time permits,’ said Ms Willoughby.

‘It was also a great opportunity for us to share what Queensland has been doing in 2020: innovating in talent and employability through Study Queensland’s new Launch U program, as well as making exciting inroads into developing a COVID-19 vaccine at the University of Queensland.’

According to data from Deloitte, there were 32,486 Chinese nationals studying in Queensland’s education system in 2019 – a 5% year-on-year rise in enrolments.

Study Queensland’s representatives in Beijing and Shanghai coordinated the Queensland showcase, working with the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange, which is a public organisation under the Ministry of Education.

Study Queensland’s session was also promoted through sina.com (the main media partner of CIEET Online), Austrade social media and the newly launched Study Queensland WeChat account.

The broadcast included video presentations, panel discussions, alumni interviews and student updates on studying in Queensland.

Joining Ms Willoughby as presenters during the broadcast were:

  • Julie-Anne Nichols, Queensland Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner – China
  • Wen Gu, CEO of the Australia-China Business Council – Queensland Branch
  • Professor Trent Munro, Senior Group Leader, Australian Institute of Bio-Engineering & Nanotechnology at the University of Queensland
  • Dr Dino Willox, Director of Student Employability at University of Queensland
  • Cassandra Baker, Senior Associate (Marketing) U&U
  • Megan Short, Senior Project Officer, Study Queensland
  • Aleesha Ware, Senior Partnerships Officer, Study Queensland.

Students and alumni Cheng Lei, Dr Sicong Zhu, Yichen Wang, Chloe Huang, Peng Yu, Erin Ma and Ziming Ye also shared their insights during the event.

TIQ’s Study Queensland team has been a key part of implementing the Queensland Government’s International Student Crisis Assistance Package, and recently received an award from the Council of International Students Australia for their exceptional COVID-19 response.

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London Lord Mayor visits Queensland virtually

The Lord Mayor’s first ‘visit’ to Queensland was part of a wider Australian tour to enhance engagement between the City of London and Australia despite international travel disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Queensland welcomed The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman William Russell for the first time recently, as a part of an historic virtual visit.

The Lord Mayor’s first ‘visit’ to Queensland was part of a wider Australian tour to enhance engagement between the City of London and Australia despite international travel disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Queensland Agent-General and Trade and Investment Commissioner for Europe Linda Apelt and TIQ Europe were integral to Alderman Russell putting Queensland on his program, and facilitated the Queensland components of the virtual visit.

‘Although virtual, this was a historic occasion and an important signal to the revitalised and increasing Queensland-UK trading relationship,’ Ms Apelt said.

‘The City, or the “Square Mile” as it is known in London, is a global centre for financial and professional services, and the City of London Corporation is an important and historic UK institution.

‘TIQ Europe is engaged with the City of London Corporation on a regular and increasing basis to unlock high-value trade and investment opportunities across green finance, pension funds, and the institutional investment, environmental, fintech, and social and governance sectors.’

The Lord Mayor of the City of London is also an international ambassador for the UK’s financial and professional services sector.

His Queensland visit included a webinar hosted by the Australian British Chamber of Commerce and the City of London Corporation, and a meeting with representatives from QSuper and the British Consul General for Queensland and the Northern Territory Jo Freeman, facilitated by TIQ.

Alderman Russell said he relished the opportunity to connect with Queensland.

‘We all know that the UK and Australia are old friends, so I was delighted to have been so warmly welcomed by His Excellency the Governor of Queensland and QSuper recently during my first ever virtual visit to the country,’ he said.

‘This was a particularly great opportunity to strengthen collaboration in green finance and fintech – 2 areas of our industry which will be key catalysts for post-pandemic global economic growth.’

The UK is the world’s leading net exporter of financial services, generating an industry trade surplus of nearly £63 billion.

Ms Freeman said the timing of Alderman Russell’s visit was fortuitous.

‘As we continue to work towards closer trading ties and negotiating a free trade agreement, it is important we focus on key areas of our industries, like financial and professional services, which offer even greater opportunities to strengthen future collaboration,’ she said.

Alderman Russell’s Queensland visit was in response to invitations issued by His Excellency the Governor of Queensland Paul de Jersey AC and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk when they visited London last year.

A video courtesy call with His Excellency the Governor concluded the Queensland leg of the visit.

The virtual visit took place from 20–23 July and coincided with the conclusion of the first round of Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

Queensland businesses wishing to explore opportunities in the City of London should connect with the TIQ team in the UK.

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Queensland mandarins and avos a Jakarta hit

Fresh Queensland mandarins and avocados have been snapped up by shoppers in Jakarta after TIQ’s Indonesia team worked with producers to organise a special Taste of Queensland in-store promotion.

Fresh Queensland mandarins and avocados have been snapped up by shoppers in Jakarta after TIQ’s Indonesia team worked with producers to organise a special Taste of Queensland in-store promotion.

The 15-day promotion at 2 AEON supermarkets last month featured top-quality produce along with promotional staff who provided samples and information to shoppers.

AEON also posted health tips, recipes and cooking demonstrations to its Instagram account using Queensland ingredients as the main element.

Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Indonesia Ben Giles said the challenges of COVID-19 meant many Indonesian consumers were placing a greater emphasis on the freshness, quality and origin of produce.

‘Indonesian families are just like Queensland families – they have been re-assessing their shopping choices and their health and wellbeing as we all cope with the ongoing impact of the pandemic,’ Mr Giles said.

‘Jakarta has a growing middle class who are prepared to pay extra for the freshest, highest quality produce for themselves and their families.

‘That demand is now more important than ever, and this promotion built awareness of Queensland’s quality fresh produce offering and will help boost sales in the long term.

‘Hass avocados are sold for a premium here and are popular for their superior taste while the Royal Honey Murcott mandarins are known for their sweetness.’

Mr Giles said feedback from supermarket customers was positive, with 250 cartons of mandarins and avocados sold during the promotion.

He said the promotion was well timed given that the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) had recently come into force on 5 July.

‘Under the new agreement, over 99% of Australian goods exports (by value) can now enter Indonesia duty free or under significantly improved preferential arrangements,’ he said.

‘We expect the most noticeable trade benefits for Queensland to be in reduced tariffs and increased quotas for agriculture, so it’s very timely that Queensland producers are making their presence felt in Jakarta supermarkets.’

Four citrus producers from Mundubbera in the North Burnett region, including Ironbark Citrus, and an avocado producer from Bundaberg were involved in the Taste of Queensland promotion through their wholesale exporters.

The promotion ran at AEON’s Jakarta Garden City and Bumi Serpong Dami supermarkets from 15–29 July.

Queensland producers keen to explore export opportunities in Indonesia should connect with TIQ Indonesia today.

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

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Show support for Queensland exporters

With a range of events on the horizon, grant opportunities to explore, and a range of tips, advice, and planning guidance on offer, we are here to assist exporters as they consider their next global business opportunity.

#SupportQLDExport

 
As the Queensland Government’s dedicated global business agency, Trade and Investment Queensland helps the state’s exporters take their products to the world and remain globally competitive.

Exporters are significant contributors to the Queensland economy. Over the past year, exporters have been succeeding globally and locally, showing resilience, adaptability and dedication.

Whether it is through developing new products, building connections or leveraging new export opportunities, we are here to support our exporters and help them take their business to the world.

With a range of events on the horizon, grant opportunities to explore, and tips, advice and planning guidance on offer, we are here to assist exporters as they consider their next global business opportunity.

We encourage Queensland exporters to reach out to us to discuss opportunities and, if you are an existing client, discuss what your next steps might be with your trade adviser.

Read about the recent #supportQLDexport campaign

 

Join us on social

Follow our social channels to see the latest events and grant opportunities on offer, receive new information as it comes to hand, as well as see a suite of exporters who are showcasing the way they are adapting their businesses.

Using the hashtag #SupportQLDExport, join us LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and share your export story.

 

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Microba takes on Europe with SYNLAB

Biotech company Microba has partnered with Europe’s largest medical diagnostic services provider SYNLAB to take its world-leading gut microbiome analysis to the European market.

Biotech company Microba has partnered with Europe’s largest medical diagnostic services provider SYNLAB to take its world-leading gut microbiome analysis to the European market.

The partnership will provide SYNLAB’s network of Europe-based healthcare professionals with access to new and actionable information on their patients’ health through the co-delivered MyBiome analysis.

It’s the second international partnership for the start-up, which launched Australia’s first detailed gut microbiome analysis in June 2018 using research pioneered by their co-founders at The University of Queensland.

Microba CEO Blake Wills said the partnership would help Microba achieve its goal of improving human health globally.

‘Microba’s partnership with SYNLAB is a great example of 2 international forces coming together to embrace next-generation technologies and support local health care,’ Mr Wills said.

‘It will allow us to expand the reach of our technology into Europe and bring Australian-born innovation into larger overseas markets to positively impact more lives.

‘SYNLAB is a global leader in delivering medical diagnostic services and we are proud to be partnering to add advanced gut microbiome analysis to their portfolio, powered by Microba’s technology.’

Microba has helped more than 10,000 Australians assess their gut health using the company’s award-winning proprietary Metagenomic Analysis Platform (MAP™).

SYNLAB is the market leader in medical diagnostic services in Europe, with a presence in more than 40 countries across 4 continents.

The co-delivered MyBiome analysis will initially be launched in two countries by the end of this year.

TIQ has worked with Microba for a number of years, assisting with their partnership in Korea, access to the US market and helping the company make key connections in Europe.

Queensland Agent General and Trade and Investment Commissioner for Europe Linda Apelt congratulated Microba on their new partnership.

‘We are delighted that we have been able to assist in Microba’s European success through introductions, in particular to European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) expertise that enabled them to achieve the data privacy requirements of the agreement with SYNLAB and therefore to enable this deal,’ Ms Apelt said.

‘We look forward to assisting Microba’s further expansion across Europe.’

The life sciences sector is identified as one of Queensland’s emerging export strengths in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

To explore export opportunities for the life sciences and biotech sectors, connect with TIQ today.

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Study Queensland receives award for COVID-19 response

Queensland’s efforts to support its international student community through the COVID-19 crisis were publicly recognised last month by the Council of International Students Australia (CISA).

Queensland’s efforts to support international students through the COVID-19 crisis were publicly recognised last month by the Council of International Students Australia (CISA).

CISA’s national conference presented Study Queensland (SQ) with the award for Best International Student Support Initiative for its COVID-19 response.

TIQ Acting CEO Richard Watson said the award was particularly meaningful because it was decided by the peak organisation representing students themselves.

‘This award is recognition that Queensland’s swift response to take care of our international students has been effective and appreciated,’ Mr Watson said.

‘Achieving this has required a great effort by Study Queensland staff and others who have worked with them to support international students through a range of challenges, including financial hardship and travel restrictions.

‘Quickly establishing and administering these programs has been a huge undertaking, requiring long hours from our team.’

Since the pandemic began, Study Queensland has administered $15 million from the Queensland Government via the Queensland International Student Crisis Assistance Package.

This included $5 million to fund the online Queensland Student Hub, crisis accommodation, food relief at student hubs, mental health support, onshore study resources and employability workshops.

A further $10 million was allocated to support students in financial hardship, distributed as one-off $500 grants directly to students and to large providers to top up their own financial hardship funds.

More than 5,000 of the one-off payments have been distributed.

The CISA National Conference Awards were announced on 20 July.

Read more about the Queensland International Student Crisis Assistance Package.

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Zucero continues research on COVID-19 drug

Brisbane-based biotech company Zucero Therapeutics has received national funding to progress its drug Pixatimod towards clinical trials after a study indicated that Pixatimod can inhibit the virus that causes COVID-19.

Brisbane-based biotech company Zucero Therapeutics has received national funding to progress its drug Pixatimod towards clinical trials after a study indicated that Pixatimod can inhibit the virus that causes COVID-19.

A recent international study showed Pixatimod – a drug originally developed to fight cancer – had antiviral potential, inhibiting the infectivity of the SARS-CoV-2 virus by binding to the spike protein on the virus surface.

The funding from Therapeutic Innovation Australia’s Pipeline Accelerator COVID-19 will support bioanalytical and pharmacokinetic studies, the next critical aspects of drug development, in the laboratories of TetraQ at The University of Queensland.

Additional studies are being designed to test Pixatimod in animal models of COVID-19.

Zucero Executive Chairman Chris Burrell said the results from the study – which involved researchers from several universities, including 2 in Queensland – validated the company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘In this rapidly changing environment, Zucero has responded quickly and is applying its internally designed, proprietary innovative technology to address this global public health challenge with very encouraging results,’ Mr Burrell said.

‘On the back of this new COVID-19 data and the emerging data from our Phase 1b oncology trial, we are seeking to accelerate our antiviral and oncology development programs with the aim of initiating Phase 2 clinical trials in late 2020 or early 2021.’

TIQ has helped Zucero Therapeutics to scope multiple markets for partnership and investment opportunities, with the company one of the Queensland biotech start-ups included in last year’s TIQ-California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) FAST Program.

Zucero joins other Queensland-based institutions currently working on developing COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, including The University of Queensland, which moved its COVID-19 vaccine into human trials in June 2020.

The biotech sector is identified as an emerging export strength for Queensland in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.