Queensland exporters will gain a global edge thanks to a new Study Queensland program harnessing the knowledge of the state’s international and domestic students.

The Launch U Trade Accelerator is connecting students with Queensland exporters to help create export plans tailored to individual businesses and overseas markets.

Over 500 students from more than 30 countries have registered to participate in the program as part of the wider Study Queensland Launch U Program.

Study Queensland Executive Director Shannon Willoughby said the program offered major advantages to Queensland exporters and to international and domestic students.

‘There’s a huge wealth of knowledge within our student cohort that local businesses can utilise,’ Ms Willoughby said.

‘For example, the cultural and geopolitical insights that international students can offer when undertaking targeted research projects will help businesses explore new market opportunities effectively.

‘Whether you’re a medical equipment manufacturer wanting to engage Malaysia or a specialty tea producer wanting a foothold in Singapore, the Launch U Trade Accelerator will allow businesses to enact plans, scale up and grow their offshore activities when restrictions are lifted.’

The Launch U Trade Accelerator uses a secure portal to connect students with businesses based on their studies and cultural backgrounds.

Participating exporters compile a detailed project brief and then a team of students creates a proposal that addresses challenges and opportunities in a particular international market.

Gold-Coast based Mexx Engineering, one of the companies registered for the program, already knows how valuable student insights can be.

The company – which provides robotic and automated manufacturing solutions –previously enlisted the help of international students to better understand the intricacies of New Zealand’s robotics market.

The students’ research saw Mexx Engineering secure a contract to design a bagging and conveyor system for a food and beverage manufacturer on the country’s South Island.

Mexx Engineering Office Manager Zean Howell said supporting students to enhance their real-world skills was also important.

‘Right now is a good time for us to identify our strengths in the global market and we’ll be engaging the students to help with that,’ Mr Howell said.

‘It’s very important to be supporting students as well – they’re the leaders of tomorrow.’

The Launch U Trade Accelerator Program is one part of the Launch U Program, designed to enhance the global employability of Queensland students.

International and domestic students who successfully complete the program receive a micro-credential backed by the Queensland Government.

The first round of the Launch U Trade Accelerator Program began on 22 June 2020 and the next round is due to commence in November 2020.

See the program’s webpage for more information.

International education is identified as a key services export in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.