Sunshine Coast business Huds and Toke will ramp up efforts to export its healthy horse treats to the US market, after becoming one of 70 Queensland companies to receive a grant in the latest round of the Ignite Ideas Fund.

The Warana-based pet-treats company will receive $100,000 in funding, which it will use to scale up operations and support its export push into the USA.

Huds and Toke CEO Russell Gibbons said the business, which began by manufacturing healthy treats for dogs and cats, was looking forward to expanding the market for its equine products.

‘The business is now at an exciting stage of expanding into Queensland-made treats and food for horses,’ Mr Gibbons said.

‘With the Ignite Ideas funding, we are set to target the US market that is worth $122 billion, of which the $18 billion recreational horse market is our direct market.

‘We have proven a success in cracking new markets, using a combination of old-school and leading-edge marketing techniques, including engaging social-media horse-industry influencers and the largest distributor in the Australian equine industry.

‘Through this expansion, we will be creating 4 new jobs in Queensland.’

Founded in 2013 on the kitchen table of Mr Gibbons’ family home, Huds and Toke already sells through more than 800 Australian stores and exports to Germany and Japan.

The company’s expansion into the Japanese market was supported by an earlier Ignite Ideas grant in 2017, which was used to purchase additional plant and equipment and get professional advice on exporting.

Huds and Toke also received advice and support from TIQ advisors when breaking into the German and Japanese markets.

The company’s products include horse training treats, horse cookies (in flavours such as carrot, molasses, and coconut), turmeric horse treats, and horse Christmas cookies.

The Ignite Ideas program has now distributed $34.65 million in funding to a total of 271 Queensland businesses over 4 rounds of funding.

Ignite Ideas is part of the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland initiative, and helps start-ups and small to medium-sized businesses commercialise innovative ideas so they can compete globally and create new jobs.

Supporting start-ups in their export efforts is one of the actions identified in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.