News

Businesses get funding boost

By Rodney Woods

Three northern Victorian agricultural companies have been announced as funding recipients from the Victorian Government’s Boost Your Business voucher program under the Food Innovation stream as applications are now open for the second round.

The first round attracted significant interest and provided funding of up to $50000 to more than 30 food producers and manufacturers across the state, including Kyabram’s Kyvalley Dairy, Benalla stone milling seed suppliers Mirfak and Mooroopna’s crop nutrition company Sonic Essentials.

Kyvalley Dairy, which received $10000, will use the funding to help provide customers with what they want.

‘‘We are working with a consultant to try and develop product traceability,’’ Kyvalley innovation and business director Wayne Mulcahy said.

‘‘It will allow customers of our milk to see where it is sourced from and information on how the product was made.

‘‘It’s a marketing exercise to convince more people to buy products off the shelves.’’

Tom Debney, from food industry consultant FAPIC — the company which has worked with Mirfak to get the funding — said the stone milling company was looking at upgrading to air grinding certain grains.

‘‘Mirfak are using the Boost Your Business grant to trial milling hard-to-mill grains by air grinding, which will lead to possibilities for new markets and better operation return,’’ he said.

‘‘Mirfak are looking at CSIRO BARLEYmax to export to markets like Japan.’’

Sonic Essentials will use its funding of nearly $50000 to employ a researcher to look at the interaction between phosphorus and zinc.

‘‘Total funding for the project is $96000, (to) which we will contribute $50000 of our own,’’ managing director Owen McCarron said.

‘‘The funding will be used to employ a post-doctorate researcher for 11 months on 0.5 (part-time), looking at the interactions between zinc and phosphorus.’’

The project will look to identify the underlying causes of the poor long-term stability observed in Sonic Essentials’ amorphous, zinc and phosphorus material and to assist the company in optimising the product formulation suitable for commercialisation.

In the second round of funding, the government will also offer a new Food Innovation voucher aimed at helping businesses prepare for and attract investment.

Boost Your Business vouchers are also available in categories of: Advanced Manufacturing, Asia Gateway and Social Enterprise Capability, Defence, Aerospace and Security, and Victoria-Israel Innovation.

Applications for round two close on Friday, July 13.

■For more information and to apply, visit: business.vic.gov.au/foodinnovation or phone 132 215.