Agristart

$485,000 Federal grant awarded for AgriStart

$485,000 Federal grant awarded for AgriStart to help 50 regional start-ups take on the world. AgriStart was the only WA business awarded funding in the latest round of the Federal Government’s $23 million Incubator Support initiative.

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AgriStart’s CONNECT: Regional Innovation Hubs will enhance regional innovation in three high-growth areas of Western Australia through training and the fostering of connections to start-up capital investment markets.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews congratulated the six successful applicants nationally.

“Incubators like these and the start-ups they support play a critical role across the economy in creating high-value jobs and increasing productivity by bringing new products and services to market,” Minister Andrews said.

The three regional areas supported by the AgriStart grant will be the Central Wheatbelt (Northam Hub), Great Southern (Albany Hub) and South-West (Busselton Hub).

AgriStart was founded and is led by agricultural researcher Dr Natasha Ayers and global entrepreneur Peter Rossdeutscher, is a successful consulting company that designed and delivered WA’s first Agtech Accelerator programs and has delivered innovation training in towns across the state. 

AgriStart’s Managing Director Dr Ayers is from a wheatbelt farm in Cunderdin, and will be based in the South-West Regional Hub.

Dr Ayers commented “This funding is a great opportunity to expand the geographical reach of our services, building capability and capital for small business growth across Western Australia. AgriStart CONNECT Regional Innovation Hubs will work with local innovators to connect entrepreneurs in rural areas to the Perth innovation networks and global markets.”

Mr Rossdeutscher added “Regional Australia is blessed with entrepreneurial endeavour so it is wonderful to see Federal support behind AgriStart’s regional growth initiative.  This initiative will create jobs and economic growth across the state by fostering startup success in the three hubs.”

The grant of $485,000 will provide face-to-face training, expert mentoring, online support and networking opportunities for up to 50 small businesses or start-ups in regional 50 over the next 2 years.

Read the official media release from the office of Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology HERE.

To sign up for updates on the programs offered in regional WA visit http://www.agristart.com.au/connect/

For more details contact info@agristart.com.au

Blog written by Sarah Gray

Technology Innovation Growing in the Food & Agriculture Industry

The application of AgTech will create significant competitive advantages for nations as exporters and producers. In Australia, there is huge momentum building in technology-centric innovation activity in food and agriculture.

Australia has the primary production, research and expertise to provide agrifood and business tech on a serious scale. In particular,  Western Australia has a significant opportunity as a scale producer and exporter of value-added agriculture and premium to Asia, and new initiatives are focused on making resources and support available to entrepreneurs to help capitalize on this potential.

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The next few years will be critical in developing more mature growth pathways that blend sector domain expertise with innovative technology and entrepreneurs. Hon Alannah MacTiernan, Western Australian Minister for Regional Development, and Agriculture and Food said that investing in AgTech development and applying new technologies is critical for the Western Australia’s competitiveness and productivity within this industry. 

“We are really excited about this project and the ability for us to provide people in this post start-up stage a real boost to their business which is fundamentally allowing farmers to take advantage of modern technology to farm better and to farm smarter,” Minister MacTiernan said.
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AgriStart’s HARVEST program is at the forefront of local initiatives supporting AgTech companies to develop and scale, and part of a wider ecosystem supporting the growth of the AgTech industry in Australia.

From edible crickets and big data to aerial surveying and wind turbine technology, Western Australia’s most innovative small businesses form the first cohort of the HARVEST program. These companies are at a point where they are ready to have a broader impact, so HARVEST is providing them export readiness guidance, access to networks and investment opportunities to support their next stage of expansion.

Convergio - Convergio are applying the latest technologies in computer vision, machine learning and data analytics to develop next-generation solutions for virtual simulation and economic modelling to enable farmers to improve yields, extend capacity, diversify products, enter new markets.

GeoMoby - GeoMoby technology provides cost-effective solutions to several problems in agriculture by coupling of real-time data with accurate position information, leading to efficient analysis of large amounts of geospatial. It supports applications including livestock tracking, fencing automation, lone worker tracking and farm mapping.

Grubs Up - Grubs Up is WA's first edible insect farm, providing an alternative to beef and lamb as a protein source for human food and animal feed. Grubs Up aims to scale up insect farming that is sustainable with a zero-waste system, with minimal environmental impact.

MALDIID - Identification of rhizobia, the critical soil bacteria needed for legumes to provide nitrogen to the soil, can be expensive and time-consuming. The MALDIID technology provides rapid and efficient rhizobia identification without the need to culture the bacteria, allowing farmers to manage their legume crops and pastures more effectively. 

Mapizy - Mapizy's machine learning platform can rapidly process satellite, drone and terrestrial imagery data and create an accurate inventory of crops, trees, weeds, pests and diseases. Equipped with this new type of information, agriculture businesses can make better decisions and improve performance.

P&A Pan - P&A Pan is a second generation, family run business that has traditionally grown fruit and vegetables. Their new venture involves soilless micro herbs grown in a sea container within a controlled environment, with the goal to be chemical free and use less water.

Precision Agronomics Australia - Precision Agronomics is focused on improving agricultural practises by developing customised soil mapping, data processing and machinery control solutions that help solve the practical problems for the world's farmers, such as reducing input and labour costs, optimising crop yield and quality, while minimising adverse environmental effects.

Scientific Aerospace - Scientific Aerospace is focused on designing and producing world-leading high precision aerial surveying solutions. Aerial surveying of soil & crop health will help farmers to identify plant vigour, pests, diseases and soil water content.

Windturbine - Windturbine is looking to solve issues with remote water pumping requirements for agriculture using renewable energy sources. The Windturbine solution combines wind and solar along with battery storage to provide a 24-hour pump on-demand solution to remote irrigation.

The first workshop of HARVEST program on Friday focused on a strategic business planning session and featured a line-up of expert speakers including Nicole Keating (CSBP), Peter May (DPIRD), Julian Coyne (AIIA), Greg Riebe from Triangle Capital Partners, Dr Natasha Ayers (AgriStart) and Adjunct Professor Peter Rossdeutscher (Atomic Sky).

The mentor-intensive program will feature 40 experts from around the world such as Trendlines AgTech, BayWa, CISCO, Wesfarmers, AgWorld, Austrade, GRDC, RuralCo and Plumb Grove.

Minister MacTiernan stated at the HARVEST launch; "We want to create an environment to support businesses to develop their ideas, technologies, business models and commercialise their products in global markets. Our local AgTech companies have the opportunity to come up with innovative technology-based solutions to make our agriculture and food industry more efficient, and capitalise on opportunities in growing export markets.”

WA Chief Scientist Peter Klinken highlighted the opportunity when opening the HARVEST launch event said it was essential for the WA agricultural industry to stay one step ahead of international competitors by taking seriously the investment into the development and innovation within the industry.

 “Let’s make sure we don’t sit on our hands and watch everyone else go past us. We don’t want future generations to wonder what we did when we had the opportunity. We want them to think ‘They did a good job”.

HARVEST was created and is delivered by AgriStart with support from Atomic Sky.  More information about the companies and programs can be found at www.agristart.com.au and www.atomicsky.com.au.

HARVEST Accelerator Program Attracts Sponsors

CSBP & Plum Grove announced as sponsors of WA agtech program & Atomic Sky is proud to be a delivery partner for the initiative.

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HARVEST is a 9 week accelerator program targeting late-stage start-ups and SMEs looking to scale their business, develop new opportunities and export markets. The program will feature a range of expert mentors tailored to the needs of the participants.

CSBP’s Development Manager, Nicole Keating, said

‘CSBP are keen to support the Harvest program as we believe innovation is a key way to generate new growth and employment in our regional communities. New technologies are creating a lot of new innovation opportunities in agriculture and programs like Harvest play an important part in equipping innovators with the necessary skills, mentoring and networks to take their ideas forward within WA as well as to markets beyond.’

Plum Grove were also keen to support the associated CONNECT regional innovation workshops to support their regional clients.

Plum Grove and CSBP join the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development as major sponsors of the HARVEST Accelerator program. 

Applications for HARVEST close soon on 5th February. More information about the program can be found on the HARVEST Accelerator Program webpage

Gov Backs Ag Accelorator to Harvest Big Ideas

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Dr Natasha Ayers

Business News - by Matt McKenzie

The Harvest accelerator program will be run by consultancy Agristart, with support from the department, Austrade, and co-working hub Atomic Sky.

The eight-week program will run across a number of co-working spaces in Perth, according to Agristart founder Tash Ayers. READ MORE