West Tech Fest kicked off with a bang last Monday as more than 20 innovative start-ups from across regional WA were on display at the Perth Town Hall.
The Regional Innovation Showcase featured the latest technologies emerging from regional WA in an interactive, expo style event. The diverse range of businesses pitching were all part of programs delivered by Innovation Cluster to help start-ups in regional towns become a success without having to move to the city.
The start-ups pitching for investment included Margaret River’s rok Kombucha, Elite Cannabinoids, Bindi Nutrition, Open Copy and Vasse Valley Hemp. There was a serious regional produce flavor to the event, with participating businesses including innovative food and beverage providers, such as Rocky Ridge Brewery, Chestnut Brae, Wines of Merrit and Stash Coffee. New apps, unique products and the latest technologies also featured through start-ups such as Kuja.do, Local Advantage, Backyard Bash and Crypto Tax Online.
Minister for Asian engagement, Peter Tinley, spoke at the event about the growing importance of diversification of the Western Australian economy to move beyond the traditional resource sectors in order to supply rapidly growing and changing markets such as China and Vietnam. He said “I’m happy to hear there are innovative businesses from the regions delivering for a diversified Western Australia”, and also commented “This is a very good example of a home and destination for people’s different ideas, ensuring we shed light on those ideas and create ground swell that attracts investors.”
The event also featured one of WA’s up and coming businesses Latitude 28, who are utilizing blockchain to track quality meat products from the farmgate in Australia to the consumer in China, whilst capturing customers with innovative engagement strategies for direct interaction and social media. Latitude 28 co-founder, James Williamson, provided valuable business growth insights for the crowd by sharing their journey including their experiences of the Harvest program. The benefit from participating in the Harvest program was “the opportunity to engage with other businesses and government. There is a lot of support available out there when you are made aware, and the program does a great job of bringing this together and providing a network”.
With more than 200 people in attendance, fundraising partners Royal Flying Doctors Service were able to raise more than $500 to support their valuable work in bringing critical medical services to regional areas.
Innovation Cluster’s regional innovation programs have supported more than 100 businesses in 2019 across WA from Albany to Kununurra. Innovation Cluster’s Managing Director, Dr Natasha Ayers, is from a farming family in Cunderdin and is now based in Vasse. She said “It is such a privilege to work with motivated people in regional areas who are committed to growing their business and creating local jobs”.
Enquiries for Innovation Cluster’s 2020 programs can be directed to email@example.com