Eight businesses have been selected for the 2022 HARVEST Agtech Accelerator, Western Australia’s leading business development program for innovative agtech startups and SMEs.
TechNoL: leading provider of cutting-edge technologies and innovation in fire identification and management, and has developed, designed and built AgriGard, a new way of protecting your valuable assets from fire.
Agrisave Technology: provides tools for farmers to grow, scale and maintain high quality yield.
Nork Solutions: diverts food waste from landfill and recycles it back into the food supply chain. We have serviced some of WA’s largest food manufacturers for over 20 years, saving half a million kilograms of waste from landfill per year.
Whole. technology that enables cost-effective and large-scale production of plant-based ingredients and flavours. 100% free of any chemical processing, produces no waste, and unlocks all of the nutritional goodness of the original ingredients.
Eden Towers: commercial-scale, sustainable, hyper-efficient, indoor vertical farms that grow fresh, high quality produce closer to customers, at sustainable volumes and at an affordable price point, solving real food security and quality problems.
S5 System: innovative sensors, actuators, and end-to-end complete IoT solutions for the Industry 4.0, with non-invasive, battery-powered or energy-harvested tech allowing installation and use without professional knowledge and tools.
Hemp Squared manufacturer of environmentally friendly hemp-lime blocks that sequester carbon from the atmosphere and build highly insulated and fire-resistant homes and buildings.
The 5-month program commenced with a 2-day business bootcamp at Joondalup Resort with sessions on agtech sector issues and target customers, value propositions for agriculture, lean business planning, funding opportunities, business strategy and pitching.
Day one ended with the session on team culture and startup exits with Agworld GM Simon Foley noted by cohort businesses as a highlight.
Simon shared about the challenges of the growth journey of startups from founder, to teams, then to teams of teams, and his learnings from his experience at Agworld over the past 7 years. This included understanding that trust is built by being your authentic self in the work environment, particularly important for the virtual workplaces we now occupy, and also for customer relationships.
Connect to the purpose of work and how work makes a difference for the company and beyond. Surveying the culture of your company is helpful, and celebrating success is essential.
Prioritise your physical health, and self-care and cut time out of the work week for your team to have fun, create rituals, and stop to reflect. On an individual, everyday level find the 1-2 tasks per day that are imperative and critically important, and share your work plans with your team.
The HARVEST cohort have a busy few month ahead with masterclasses on how to build a sustainable agtech business, strategic expansion planning and high growth markets for agtech, connecting to agricorporates and growers, IP with the support of Wrays Perth, governance, strategic marketing, and attracting customers and investors. Over the course of the program they will receive mentorship aligned to their business.
The program’s field trip will give them insights into new technologies and current agricultural issues in action, and the finale, the Showcase and pitch event, will promote the businesses and encourage connection and collaboration in the sector.
Now in its 5th year, HARVEST is unique in tailoring masterclasses to the needs of the cohort, and in matching each business with mentors to suit individual business needs with a focus on grower mentors and on-farm trials. And thirdly, giving the businesses the opportunity to leverage extensive networks in technology, regional development, research organisations, and agricultural producers.
“HARVEST is designed to connect agtech startups to farmers. We want to make sure that they agtech solutions that are being developed are actually going to solve a real problems for farmers, in order to make sure we do see adoption of technologies that are going to make a difference onfarm.”AgriStart Managing Director, Tash Teakle
“Ultimately, technology underpins everything we do and data is so critical for decision making, so we want to provide our farmers with access to quality data so they can make better informed decisions. Anything we can do to make farming more sustainable, safer and of course more profitable, is worthwhile and technology is going to play a huge role in all of that.”
“Often startup founders have left a corporate job to develop this new idea and to do that on your own is really hard. We wrap around the support and provide them with connections if they don’t already have them in the agricultural sector, help them with business planning and financial modelling and assist them get access to capital”, Ms Teakle said.
HARVEST is also unique as a program delivered on a sponsorship model which takes no fees or equity from participants. This model attracts the highest quality of applicants and helps deliver significant outcomes by ensuring all companies are provided the same level of support.
In 2022, the target cohort will focus on agtech innovations delivering value to the grains industry. HARVEST Premier partners Grains Research and Development Corporation are a Commonwealth entity that invest in RD&E projects to deliver new and improved varieties, farming practices, technologies and capability to the Australian grains industry.
Our HARVEST alumni of previous years have been successful in opening commercialisation pathways with new customers and major supply agreements, new partners, mergers, capital investment, grant funding, media exposure, awards, acceptance into national programs and gain international exposure e.g. Austrade landing pads.
Thank you to HARVEST Founding Partners Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) for their continued support.
We look forward to seeing our 2022 cohort of passionate innovators make valuable connections and build their capability and confidence. The program enables participants to develop closer relationships with businesses in the agriculture and food industry and to improve their product or services to address issues in the food production system.DPIRD Business Development Manager at Agriculture and Food, Peter May