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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games
    The Honourable Kate Jones

    Government invests millions to create jobs through innovation

    Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games
    The Honourable Kate Jones

    Wednesday, August 01, 2018

    Government invests millions to create jobs through innovation

    A company that discovered how to purify toxic commercial waste for recycling and another building an army of robots to manage crops fields on farms are two AgTech businesses that will benefit from more than $8.3 million in Palaszczuk Government funding announced today.

    Innovation Minister Kate Jones said 70 Queensland companies whose products were on the cusp of commercialisation, or ready to scale up for new markets, would be supported in the latest round of Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas funding today.

    “These companies are at an exciting point with their products and they’ll use the funding to ramp up market development, expand their markets and workforce,” Ms Jones said.

    “Through a highly competitive, independently assessed process they showed they have innovative products, the talent and the right mindset to take their businesses to new levels and new markets, and the government is pleased to support them.

    “It’s innovative businesses like these that are so important to Queensland’s jobs growth in the future.

    Ms Jones said the Palaszczuk Government had now supported 271 Queensland businesses through $34.65 million (four rounds) of Ignite Ideas, driving more than a thousand new jobs.

    “We’re investing more than half-a-billion dollars in innovation in this term of government to create the jobs of the future in Queensland – Ignite Ideas is an important part of that strategy.

    “If you look at MEMTech – this is a company that hopes to create dozens of jobs through its toxic waste purification work in coming years.

    “Then we’ve got SwarmFarm who are at the cutting edge of AgTech robotics.

    “It’s important that the government gets behind projects like these to create knowledge-based jobs in our state and to do our bit to solve some of the greatest challenges in the world right now.”

    This new round of Ignite Ideas funding has supported 41 Brisbane companies and 29 companies in other Queensland cities and regional areas.

    MEMTech CEO Graeme Linklater said the company’s innovative waste purification systems were targeted the mining and galvanising sector and had multiple industry applications.

    Mr Linklater said the next step was the culmination of eight years of research and development, with funding from Brisbane Angels, to construct the demonstration facility of this new waste treatment process, delivering environmental and economic benefits through recycling.

    “MEMTech has developed membrane technology solutions that process commercial toxic waste and convert it into recyclable commodities in a way that provides improved environmental and commercial benefits to Queensland’s mining and chemical industries,” Mr Linklater said.

    “With more jobs for Queensland, and a better way for handling toxic waste, this is a true win-win solution.”

    Mr Linklater said the project would require MEMTech to directly employ up to 25 new employees over three years and, if the demonstration facility leads to large-scale commercialisation of the process, potentially hundreds of jobs could be created indirectly (downstream and upstream) in associated local and regional industries.

    MEMTech will be constructing a facility in Richlands to demonstrate the large-scale refinement of the production process.

    SwarmFarm Robotics, based at Gindie near Emerald in Central Queensland, received almost $250,000 to step up production of their SwarmBots technology, which includes software and a troop of small, lightweight robots that talk to each other and work in swarms to do repetitive farming tasks like weeding, mowing and fertilising.

    SwarmFarm founders Andrew and Jocie Bate said the funding would support 19 new jobs, with more to be created as they find new applications and attachments for their robots.

    Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur Steve Baxter said the Ignite Ideas funding would help the 70 businesses take their next big step forward.

    “Access to capital is one of the key challenges for early stage startups. The Ignite Ideas grants provide a source of funding that can take these businesses to the next level, helping them commercialise quickly,” he said.

    Ignite Ideas is part of the Palaszczuk Government’s $650 million Advance Queensland initiative.

    Visit the Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas Fund web page for more information on the program and its recipients.

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