Natura’s native plants app scores share of $1M funding

Natura’s native plants app scores share of $1M funding

Most of the plants that end up as weeds in the Australian landscape start out as garden plants. But a Gold Coast social enterprise is about to make inroads in reduce the spread of weeds.

Natura Pacific, based at Burleigh Heads is working in partnership with Griffith University to produce an app which will help people better use native plants in their gardens.

The project has been given a boost this week with a $22,550 grant from the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland Knowledge Transfer Partnerships program.

Natura Pacific is one of three Gold Coast projects to be funded, amongst 22 across the state. The funding sees those businesses partner with six Queensland universities to drive innovation and create opportunities through collaboration.

Queensland Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business Leeanne Enoch said the funding would help Natura Pacific to tap into new ideas and technologies to help grow the business.

“The Palaszczuk Government’s Advance Queensland initiative provides opportunities to share knowledge, skills and ideas across sectors to foster collaboration, inspire innovation and create jobs,” Ms Enoch said.

“The Knowledge Transfer Partnerships program is a great example of how the Queensland Government is working to create jobs through innovation, and supporting businesses to develop new products and services.”

Kieran Richardt is the Director of Natura Pacific – a social enterprise providing environmental consulting and education services. He said the app will give people a mechanism to work out what native plants they can grow, relative to what style of garden they want to have.

“If someone wants to have a cottage style garden, they’d put that in the app and it will come up with a list of different plants they could grow in a cottage style that are native species,” he said.

“Many garden plants end up as weeds in bushland,” he added. “The app will help people find native plant alternatives.”

“The ultimate idea is to teach people how native species can easily replace normal, run-of-the-mill landscape species that are introduced and could otherwise become weeds,” Kieran said.

Kieran said the funding was a “massive” deal for the small company.

“We either wouldn’t be able to do it or it would take a very long time to do,” he said. “It also puts in a start date and a finish date and gives us clear milestones – the project has become something that’s tangible, rather than something that’s a dream.”

The project will see Natura Pacific and Griffith University work collaboratively to develop the app, which is expected to be completed at the end of the year.

Kieran praised the funding program.

“It’s a very forward-thinking program. With the Queensland Government’s support, we can develop technology with a sustainability focus, that encompasses science, the natural environment and local industry.”

For further information about the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships program visit the Advance Queensland website.

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