• Minister Enoch (Queensland) and Brett Cornwell (Texas A&M) - OWIN Members

The global innovation network OWIN expands to Australia03/06/2016

Since 2006 partnerships between Wallonia and the US Texas A & M have created an international innovation network, called OWIN , combining various Walloon partners, the US, China and now Australia . The Queensland Government in Australia has signed an agreement on May 4, 2016  during his visit to Texas A & M, and becomes executive member of OWIN .

Established by Texas A&M in 2013, OWIN is a not-for-profit innovation network seeking to promote market access, entrepreneurship and technology commercialisation. Texas A&M is the third largest university in the US, number one in applied agricultural research and an acknowledged leader in commercialisation. Alongside Texas A&M, other executive members include the Wallonia Export-Investment Agency (AWEX) in one of Europe’s most dynamic innovation hubs, Wallonia in Belgium, the commercialisation arm of Tsinghua University, one of China’s top universities and now also Queensland in Australia. During a visit to Texas A&M University, Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch announced the Queensland Government had become an executive member of the Open Worldwide Innovation Network (OWIN), providing Queensland innovative businesses and entrepreneurs with access to international partners and markets.

The Queensland Government today secured a major foothold for Queensland businesses in the United States with the signing of a landmark agreement.

“In Queensland, we have an excellent reputation for innovative products and the quality of our research,” Ms Enoch said.

“But one of the key challenges we face is the ability to commercialise ideas, and generate exports and investment in global markets.

“Our OWIN membership will open more doors for Queensland’s businesses. OWIN members including Texas A&M, are committed to providing Queensland companies with local assistance to set up operations in overseas markets, and source research and commercial partners”.

Ms Enoch said having access to this support in the US, Europe and China would help accelerate product development and grow exports.

“This puts us in a strong position globally, providing access to new customers, venture financing, and help address barriers to market access,” she said.

“Queensland’s Trade and Investment Commissioner for North America, David Camerlengo, helped to identify this important partnership, and his office in Houston will play a key role in helping Queensland businesses to benefit from our membership of OWIN over the next two years.”

Four Queensland businesses, iPug, Hydrus Tech, GHD and Happen joined the Minister at today’s meeting to explore business opportunities in the United States and tap into the support that will now be available through the OWIN agreement.

“It’s great to see our OWIN membership is already opening doors for Queensland businesses to help them realise their global ambitions”.

Mr Nicholas Mathiou from Griffith University’s commercialisation arm, Griffith Enterprise, welcomed Queensland’s executive membership of OWIN.

“The research priorities at Texas A&M, for example, align very closely with those of Queensland’s research institutions, including innovation in agriculture, biotechnology, renewable energy and nanotechnology. There seems to be a commonality and the potential for very good synergy,” Mr Mathiou said.

Mr Tim McLennan from QUT’s commercial arm Bluebox said Queensland would reap big benefits by becoming an OWIN executive member.

“We’re very keen to explore opportunities for QUT Bluebox,” Mr McLennan said.

The fact that a small region such as Wallonia to be associated with other regions and organizations within Owin is a definite plus, and a source of growth opportunities and partnerships for Walloon companies, whether SMEs or larger companies.