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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Six innovators to work with Palaszczuk Government on cutting-edge ideas

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Friday, March 24, 2017

    Six innovators to work with Palaszczuk Government on cutting-edge ideas

    The Palaszczuk Government will fund six small businesses and startups to work alongside public sector agencies to develop cutting-edge solutions to difficult challenges.

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said the six companies had been awarded Advance Queensland funding under the pilot round of the $5 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to develop and prove solutions to three key challenges.

    These include developing affordable fine-scale water quality monitoring for the Great Barrier Reef, coming up with sustainable and cost-effective sport venue lighting options, and improving the maintenance of government assets.

    “The SBIR program represents a new and different way for the Queensland Government to do business – offering opportunities for entrepreneurs to inject cutting-edge products and innovations into the public service,” Ms Enoch said.

    “We launched the pilot program last year seeking input from innovative businesses and had a very strong pool of applicants. The six successful applicants have now secured funding to go to the next stage of the program and that is to undertake feasibility studies to prove the viability of their solutions.”

    Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles said the reef water quality monitoring challenge was an important part of improving the quality of water flowing to the reef, with cheaper water quality sensors allowing more catchments to be monitored.

    “Water monitoring equipment can cost tens of thousands of dollars which is why it’s so important that we explore new technologies and develop sensors that cost much less,” Mr Miles said.

    “Our farmers and landholders want real time feedback about what’s happening in their local waterways, including the quality of water leaving their properties. Securing these two companies puts us one step closer to making this desire a reality.”

    Ms Enoch said the program provided funding for those businesses to take ideas to market, while also allowing government agencies to consider new and different ways of approaching their complex challenges.

    Once the projects have concluded all stages of the SBIR, the State Government can buy the product and the company can use the experience to develop its business further. 

    The successful recipients include AJJA Technologies and Grey Innovation for the water quality monitoring challenge; eSwitch and GoZERO Energy for sport venue lighting options; and AssetFuture and Zuuse for the maintenance of government assets challenge.

    “These businesses will work closely with government agencies to test, validate and refine their proposed solutions over the coming months,” Ms Enoch said.

    Member for Ferny Grove, Minister for Local Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Mark Furner, said Ferny Hills company eSwitch Sports Lighting was working with the Department of National Parks, Sport and Recreation on a lighting solution for shared sports facilities.

    “eSwitch is harnessing smart phone technology to develop an app which allows clubs using shared sporting grounds to switch on lighting and record estimated electricity usage to ensure running costs are divided equitably,” Mr Furner said.

    “This is a great example of local business using technology to drive innovation for the benefit of the community, and it’s happening right here in Ferny Grove”.

    Managing Director of eSwitch Sports Lighting Glenn Van Duikeren said the SBIR program gave his business a unique platform to present their ideas to Queensland Government agencies and leading sports bodies that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

    “As a small startup business, it can be hard to get noticed among the crowd, so this opportunity was invaluable for us. We’ve never been involved in a procurement process like SBIR and the open and interactive approach was refreshing,” Mr Van Duikeren said. 

    Ms Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government was committed to supporting entrepreneurs and innovators.

    “We are offering opportunities for entrepreneurs with fresh ideas to work closely with Government on challenges which have commercial applications nationally and internationally,” she said.

    ENDS

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