Key stakeholders in WA’s agriculture, business and tech sectors met at the ‘Paddocks to Perth: Agtech and Regional Innovation forum’ this week to discuss the local agtech sector and announce the new cohort of the HARVEST 2.0 program.
WA’s first ag tech accelerator, ‘HARVEST‘, graduated its first cohort earlier this year, and is already back for more, announcing two separate cohorts (one based in Perth, one – fittingly – in the regions) at a forum held earlier this week at the new Liberty offices in Perth.
The forum featured a keynote from WesCEF Innovation and Commercialisation GM Mussaret Nagree on ‘Innovations in Agtech’ and a discussion panel including Susan Hall from Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), Frank D’Emden from Decipher, Gary Rogers from Hemp Homes and Amanda Walker from the Wheatbelt Business Network.
Mussaret Nagree gave insights into scaling large projects and initiatives, reinforcing the primary importance of connecting with and understanding the farmer as a customer.
“It’s really important to take time to get to know your customer, understanding what their pain points are, what’s going to make it easier for them to manage their farms and boost efficiencies and you can only get that by engaging with them directly,” she said.
Panel member Frank D’Emden from Decipher offered some further insight into the customer, saying that digital technology adoption by farmers is still relatively low comparatively across sectors, however this presents invaluable opportunities and support for uptake, especially as billions of dollars is currently being invested in the Australian Agtech industry.
“I foresee in less than 20 years time farmers being able to look at a map and see what every part of their farm is doing in terms of the critical components of their agronomy, forecasting out 14 days ahead with 90% accuracy of what the weather is going to do and having much better knowledge about supply,” he said.
Susan Hall, Acting General Manager at DPIRD’s WA Open for Business said leveraging off partnerships like the one with AgriStart brings great results for the industry.
“What we really want to do is be a part of this great culture of innovation across the ag sector and across the regions, and we do this with partnerships, like the one we have with AgriStart and the HARVEST participants” she said.
AgriStart Managing Director, Dr Tash Ayers says connection and collaboration is key to supporting and exporting WA innovation, particularly within the regions.
“Regional innovation needs to be part of the city agenda too. This networking event showcased the exciting innovations already happening in regional WA and the value of connecting businesses across the state and globally,” she said.
The forum culminated in the announcement of the cohort for next round of the HARVEST 2.0 Accelerator Program, where 16 startups are given the opportunity to accelerate their business under the expert mentorship and guidance of some of Western Australia’s most successful business people.
The program has been expanded to include the HARVEST Residential Intensive Program, a business accelerator for regional participants.
The following companies involved in HARVEST 2.0:
HARVEST Residential Intensive at Muresk Institute (Northam):
- Agriculture Guided Implement Systems Pty Ltd
- Black Sheep Engineering
- Gloria Dieu Studs and Orchard
- Indigenous Aquaculture Ventures
- LA.ONE Economics & Consulting and Merredin and Districts Farm Improvement Group
- Livestock Systems Pty Ltd
HARVEST Agtech Accelerator Program Round 2 Participants:
- APIS Industries T/A WA Pure Honey
- C4D Intel Pty Ltd
- Dandaragan Camel Dairies Pty Ltd
- Intuit Earth Pty Ltd
- Latitude 28 Produce
- Mirreco Holdings Pty Ltd
- Mote Net
- Oceanwise Australia Pty Ltd
- Stratus Imaging Pty Ltd
Both accelerator programs conclude with a Demo Day on Thursday 29th November.
FEATURE IMAGE: Harvest 2.0 participants with organisers and VIPS, including Chris Tallentire MLA, Peter Rossdeutcher and Tash Ayers (seated front row).
ABOUT HARVEST 2.0
The HARVEST2.0 Accelerator programs target late-stage startups and SMEs looking to scale their business, attract investment, develop new networks and partnerships or explore new export markets.
Participants are mentored by expert growth facilitators who have high level expertise in corporate innovation, entrepreneurial thinking, agriculture and research connections. The program consists of two programs: the HARVEST Agtech Accelerator Program and the HARVEST Residential Intensive Program at Muresk Institute.
For more information about AgriStart and the HARVEST Program, visit https://www.agristart.com.au/harvest-accelerator-program/