Queensland SMEs can now apply for overseas placements to help them build their international presence under the 2019 Developing Future Leaders program.

The program offers short placements in TIQ’s overseas offices to enable staff from small to medium enterprises to learn new skills, build new partnerships and become familiar with an international market.

Successful applicants spend the equivalent of 2 weeks in the relevant market and can receive up to $7,000 in funding to help cover travel costs and living expenses.

Senior staff from Inkerman Cane Growers Association in Home Hill spent time in Japan as part of the 2018 Future Leaders Program.

Inkerman Project Manager Stewart Peters said taking part in the program had been beneficial on many levels.

‘We had already been working with Trade and Investment Queensland to promote our projects to potential investors and off-takers in Japan for over a year, but the program allowed representatives to travel to Japan and meet key stakeholders to promote the Burdekin Renewable Fuels Project,’ Mr Peters said.

‘Understanding the importance of relationships in Japanese business culture is vital, so we were very grateful for the opportunity to have discussions with decision-makers in key companies while in Japan.

‘The most valuable takeaway from our visit is confirmation that there is significant demand for our product.’

Mr Peters said spending time in a market had real advantages over communicating remotely.

‘This feedback would not be possible through emails or even videoconferences as the ability to be in the same room as potential investors and for them to see and feel our product is invaluable.

‘It creates jobs in our community and will save jobs in older coal-fired power stations in Japan by converting them at low cost to green energy.

‘Also, being able travel to Japan also demonstrates the seriousness of our key stakeholders to potential Japanese investors and partners.’

The 2019 Developing Future Leaders program will offer Queensland SMEs a total of 3 overseas placements, with 1 participant each in TIQ’s India, Indonesia and Singapore offices.

For more details, read the Future Leaders guidelines.

Applications close midnight Monday 4 March.

The Developing Future Leaders program also offers overseas placements for Queensland graduates, with 4 graduates travelling overseas in 2018 and another round expected to be announced later this year.

Developing Future Leaders is a key initiative of the Queensland Government’s Advancing Trade and Investment – Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.