Two AgriTech support programs open

Brandon How

Two programs supporting innovative SMEs in the agrifood sector, run by the national science agency CSIRO and federally funded innovation network AgriFutures, have opened to applications.

CSIRO’s Innovate to Grow: Agrifood program offers a free 10-week online program to help SMEs learn about how to best advance their “technologies, solutions and ideas through research and development (R&D)”, according to the CSIRO.

Firms will also get matched with a mentor from CSIRO or a university to support completion of program deliverables and connect businesses to relevant specialists.

Some participants will have the opportunity to access support in connecting to research expertise across the country and matched R&D funding.

The first week of the program will include a compulsory half-day workshop on November 2 featuring talks from CSIRO industry and research experts and other SMEs. This will be followed by nine weeks of self-paced innovation program.

This is supported by CSIRO’s Trusted Agrifood Exports Mission and the Future Protein mission, both which seek to increase the value of their respective target industries by $10 billion.

Applications remain open until October 15, but the program will only accept a limited number of SMEs. Businesses in one of the following sub-sectors will be favoured, although others will be considered.

  • Complementary proteins
  • Meat and meat processing
  • Agriculture
  • Aquaculture
  • Livestock
  • Beverage and/or fermentation
  • Food product manufacturing

CSIRO’s SME collaboration manager Dr Monika Szabo said the program will help SMEs learn how to turn their ideas into commercial opportunities and the other benefits of R&D.

“Over the course of this program, CSIRO and industry sector experts will equip you with the skills to assess the viability of your innovation, build a business case and prepare a strong funding application,” Dr Szabo said.

The AgriFutures’ evokeAG initiative seeks to promote local agrifood innovation and businesses globally through its online platform and tech showcase event, which will next be held on February 20-21, 2024.

The 2024 edition will enable 29 startups to participate in the evokeAG showcase event. Of these startups, 10 will be chosen to demonstrate their technologies on the exhibition space’s demo stage.

A small contingent of Australian and New Zealand companies will also be chose to present at the AgriFutures Culinary Capital Dinner, which will be attended by investors and potential customers.

AgriFutures general manager, global innovation networks Harriet Mellish encouraged firms that will help “revolutionise the agrifood sector, have strong market potential, and a clear vision for the future” to apply.

“Through the Program, startups and scaleups with exceptional technology will have an opportunity to demonstrate their exceptional edge and connect with potential investors, partners, and customers,” Ms Mellish said.

“Since its inception in 2019, this Program has helped foster a thriving and successful agrifood and technology sector, supporting investment in, and growth of, more than 80 Australian and global agrifood tech innovation startups.”

Applications to evokeAG will close on October 23.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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