Diverse producer line up on the starting block for inaugural entrepreneur development programme
Escargot caviar, an app that increases the productivity of fruit pickers, and a platform to help recognise stock theft are among the 12 promising regional, producer-led startups selected to take part in the inaugural Farmers2Founders Ideas Programme.
The producer-led entrepreneurs were chosen from a pool of 24 applicants by the co-founders of the new development programme, Sarah Nolet (AgThentic) and Dr. Christine Pitt (Food Futures Company) with input from industry partners.
The 8-week programme, which will be run regionally, helps the producers answer two questions: first, is their idea worth pursuing; and second, what does it take to get started. They will receive support, such as tools, coaching, and mentorship to test the potential of their idea and progress their concept from the paddock to the public domain both nationally and ultimately on the global stage.
The Farmers2Founders programme is unique in that the project is tailored specifically to Australian producers in the agrifood and fibre sector. The idea was launched after the cofounders saw a gap between the agriculture and tech communities, and knew a different approach was needed to solve the problem.
Dr. Pitt said one of the aims of F2F is to support more producers into the startup market. “It’s a programme with some big outcomes for those involved. We’d love to see more producers high up in the ag and foodtech space, bringing new, exciting and highly-valuable products to market.”
"We're absolutely thrilled to support such a strong and diverse cohort of teams for F2F’s first Ideas Programme,” Dr. Pitt continued.
Successful applicant and Victorian producer Jodie Lawless plans to establish a new sales platform for farmers, and said the opportunity to experience high-performance coaching and learn new, best-practice tools to test her idea was too good to miss.
“Coming from an agricultural background, I know what it’s like to experience the frustration with different challenges in the industry. The opportunity to iron out some of the issues with the help of F2F’s tech-experts is the chance I’ve been waiting for,” Lawless said. “It can be pretty isolating when you have a great idea but don’t know where to go or who to ask in order to progress. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and learn what’s needed to take my concept to the next step. The fact that this exists in Australia is so good for local farmers who are ready to give the entrepreneurial world a shot.”
Farmers2Founders is supported by AgriFutures, Wine Australia, Australian Wool Innovation, Grains Research & Development Corporation and Meat & Livestock Australia. In April this year F2F received federal Government funding through the Incubator Support initiative funding as part of the Entrepreneurs’ Programme. The programme kicked off with a one-day in person workshop on Thursday 11th July, 2019.
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