From little things big things grow. It’s a well proven path for startups and scaleups, and one that AgriFutures Australia is hoping to accelerate for agrifood tech entrepreneurs and innovators through its AgXelerate Program.
Applications are now open to Australian and international agrifood tech startups to join the program.
The new program has evolved from the AgriFutures evokeAG. Startup Network and seeks to identify new technologies to benefit AgriFutures’ levied and emerging industries, or technologies which could be tailored for use within those industries.
The selected companies will participate in a range of face-to-face farm field trips and workshops, as well as complete a capacity building program designed to support each companies’ individual development and to ensure they are best placed for the successful adoption of this technology pre and post farm gate.
AgriFutures General Manager, Research, John Smith, said the program was all about thinking outside the box.
“We’re taking a very open mind into this, because we know that sometimes the best solutions to problems come from the places you’d least expect,” Mr Smith said. “The latest innovation in one particular industry could easily come from a technology developed for an entirely different purpose.”
Mr Smith said every industry has its challenges to address but some themes in agriculture were universal, such as animal welfare, productivity improvements, biosecurity and resource use efficiency.
“My background is in research, so we tend to think more logically about problems, but people in the startup space often approach issues from another angle and can bring a different perspective,” he said. “It’s all about identifying the people with the creative ideas and helping nurture them along their journey – no matter how small-scale their company might be at the moment.”
The AgXelerate Program will kick off in late-August with a workshop program curated around the specific needs of the selected startups, followed by a day of farm field trips to connect with producers.
Part two of the program will be a tailored online capacity-building program, including sessions with a range of industry experts and mentors on topics such as funding, business models and adoption.
Part three will take participants on further field trips and workshops culminating in attendance at evokeAG. 2024 in Perth on February 20-21.