Six emerging entrepreneurs from the Riverina will pitch their innovation ideas tonight at CSU AgriTech Incubator’s pitch evening.
The participants are the program’s third cohort, who began in July 2018.
Among the ideas are a food-labelling service and ‘disruptive insurance platform’.
Another is ‘Outback Wings’, a flight service for vets to attend animals requiring both emergency and routine care.
First-year CSU student Mackenzie Bond, who is behind the idea, said the need for the service came after an experience back home in Queensland.
“One of my cousins had an accident while on the farm and she was able to get the Royal Doctor Flying Service out there,” Ms Bond said.
“Her horse was also injured but they weren’t able to get vets out in time so the horse had to be euthanised.”
The business’s vision, based on the Royal Doctor Flying Service model, is to make veterinary and agricultural services accessible and affordable.
“The farmers interests and their profits are what I’m trying to maximise,” Ms Bond said.
“If you’re going to remote areas, it’s quicker to fly there with all your equipment.
“And you’d be able to carry heavier and more advanced equipment.”
The farmers interests and their profits are what I’m trying to maximise.Mackenzie Bond, founder of Outback Wings and CSU student
Funding for the idea is based on a combination of government and commercial assistance.
“My idea is to be government affiliated but to be more farm-management and farm-practice focused,” she said.
“I think that’s the way to go because that’s what our farmers need.
I’ve also got sponsorship from Coles and Woolworths, as well as a veterinary pharmaceutical company.”
The incubator program helps the region’s innovation and economic development by providing co-working spaces, fostering greater participation of women in entrepreneurial activities and supporting small-to-medium businesses to overcome research and development challenges.
Project officer Siobhain Howard said he program had helped a number of participants in the previous cohorts.
“We’ve assisted 22 startups through the incubator program,” Ms Howard said.
This includes Daniel Winson, founder of Agrinet, which helps businesses with telecommunications and eliminates mobile black spots on farms.
“The incubator’s goal is to spark innovation and economic development in the Riverina,” Ms Howard said.
“So it’s great to see so many regional people with fantastic ideas and we look forward to following their journeys.”
While the AgriTech Incubator specifically encourages start-ups seeking to leverage new technologies from ‘farm to fork’, it is open to participation by any ‘tech-enabled’ regional start-up.
Guest speaker at the pitch tonight will be Sarah Nolet, an internationally recognized food systems innovation expert and the CEO of AgThentic, a global food and agriculture strategy firm.
The incubation program is funded by the NSW Department of Industry with additional funding from CSU.