Emerging businesses Trakblaz and Bright Brewery are among the recipients of the latest $3 million funding round of the Victorian Competitive Business Fund program.
The two companies were eligible for the first time this year after policy changes meant the fund, in its second year, was available to small businesses with twenty or fewer employees.
The fund is intended to support growing and competitive manufacturing businesses with the potential to move into new markets, develop processes and solutions, or invest further in their business.
A total of 17 companies shared in the $3 million funding pool made available in this round of funding.
According to Victorian minister for innovation, service and small business Louise Asher, 340 new jobs will be created as a result of this funding round.
Asher says: “These grants will assist companies invest in new equipment, infrastructure, technology and product or process innovation.”
“This will lead to sustainable increases in business productivity, employment and export potential.”
Trakblaze, launched in 2007, makes unmanned electronic weighing systems that can be used on moving train carriages to weigh how much they are carrying.
They were the first company in the world to develop the technology, which can prevent overloading and derailing, as well as allowing exports to leave port much quicker as the contents of the carriages no longer need to be weighted at port.
Currently, the R&D, marketing and engineering is done in Australia. Trakblaze contracts suppliers in China to manufacture the equipment.
The $160,000 grant will allow them to build a new facility in Australia to manufacture their product on-shore.
Trakblaze CEO Bill Hartmann says his international clients, which included governments of developing economies in Europe, Asia and Africa, “want Australian-made, because they have faith in our quality.”
Hartmann says the company is experiencing massive demand, and the grant will enable them to meet it.
“We supply a niche market, but it’s a very important market,” he says.
Another small business to benefit from the grant was Bright Brewery, a microbrewery in the Victorian town of Bright specialising in craft beers.
It was awarded a $150,000 grant to pay part of a $720,000 expansion into the Bright town centre. It is expected to be a significant tourist attraction for the area.