The inaugural cohort of ten agtech innovators selected for the AgFrontier Regional AgTech Incubator Program, led by the Central Highlands Development Corporation (CHDC) based in Emerald, Queensland, has been announced.
More than 30 applications were received for AgFrontier, which is the first agtech incubator of its kind in Queensland.
AgFrontier provides regionally-based startups in inland Queensland and Northern NSW a dedicated incubator program designed specifically for rural entrepreneurs with a practical understanding of agriculture.
CHDC, in collaboration with X-Lab, is leading the ground-breaking program which is a combination of major events, site visits and co-working with intensive support – both face-to-face and through remote technology interface.
“CHDC is really excited by the quality of ideas and can-do attitude of the successful cohort,” CHDC Agribusiness Development Coordinator Liz Alexander said.
“Because these individuals live and work in agriculture and the regions, everyone here has a powerful connection, knowledge and motivation to solve real problems.
“The group bonded immediately and members have commented on how much they are enjoying being with and connecting with other like-minded people.”
The innovators joining the 2019 inaugural AgFrontier cohort are:
• Kurt Mayne, Lewis and David Rolfe, Broken Plains Pastoral, Rolleston and Morven
• Tim and Peta Neale, Data Farming, Toowoomba
• Erica Hughes, Farmer Meets Foodie, Mt Molloy
• Ben Harzer, Thin and Trim Holdings, Gayndah
• Juxi Leitner, Norton Kelly-Boxall and Nicole Robinson, LYRO Robotics, Brisbane
• Natalie Engel, One Platform (Bos C Agri), Rolleston
• Grant Brennan, Spotbooked, Taroom
• Jocie and Andrew Bate, SwarmFarm, Gindie
• Alan McIndoe, Top End Pollination, Emerald
• Toby Harpham and Jason McNeice, Turnkey BI, Toowoomba
Tim Neale, DataFarming, said that it was awesome to be accepted and involved into the program.
“Even though we’ve lots of business experience, the world’s changing so quickly that we need to have the tools and support to adapt to be successful in the future. We’re looking forward to learning, particularly about how to scale globally, and the tools in the AgFrontier program will enable us to do that,” Mr Neale said.
“There’s no-one pushing something that’s all sizzle and no sausage here!”
In addition to a tailored curriculum which takes into account competing seasonal demands, the challenges of isolation and poor connectivity, the cohort will have access to national and international investor and peer networks, including an opportunity to travel to the United States.
They will showcase their product or service at the Emerald AgTeCH19 and Mungindi AgTeCH20 events and can pitch to relevant investors at the Incubator’s conclusion. “Other programs offered in Australia generally take the innovator out of their regional setting, delivering a short-term activity in a capital city – rather than bringing the program to them at the grass roots,” Mrs Alexander said.
AgFrontier has been made available with funding from the Australian Government’s Incubator Support initiative, the Local Buying Foundation, Advance Queensland and the Cotton Research & Development Corporation.
The program’s website will be launched next week and profiles of each of the cohort members will be available or follow the incubator’s progress on Twitter @agfrontier.