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Victoria Allocates Funding for Agtech Pre-Accelerators

The Victorian Government has allocated $1.8 million in funding to help support three new entrepreneurship programs aimed at developing the next big innovations in the emerging agricultural technology (agtech) sector. Three ag-tech firms will each receive $600,000 from LaunchVic to run pre-accelerator programs designed to support nearly 500 innovative farmers and aspiring start-up founders.

One firm will use the funding to support its Hatch Ideas pre-accelerator. The second will use it for its AgTech Seeds program, which is designed to bridge the gap between agricultural research and the industry. Meanwhile, the third will team up with the University of Melbourne to run the Business of Agriculture, a new program designed to support non-traditional participants in Victoria’s start-up ecosystem, including farmers or regional Victorian high school graduates.

The funding forms the bulk of the $2.2 million Victorian AgTech Engineers Initiative, a joint initiative of the Victorian Government’s LaunchVic and Agriculture Victoria. The CEO of LaunchVic stated that the initiative is designed to attract more innovators to the agriculture sector, one of the state’s largest export sectors.

She noted that Victoria is Australia’s largest agriculture producer by value, but our research shows the agtech sector remains small and underdeveloped, with less than 40 agtech start-ups active across the state. She added that LaunchVic wants to see these numbers change, so they’re backing pre-accelerator programs that support people in the agriculture sector with big ideas and early-stage entrepreneurs who want to launch and grow start-ups.

The digital transformation of agriculture has the potential to boost production by 25 per cent. With a technology base that is contributing to a 20 per cent year-on-year growth in smart farming devices, Victoria’s leading advances in digital agriculture innovations make it the perfect destination for the development of new and integrated systems.

Home to a quarter of Australia’s farm businesses, Victoria’s thriving agtech sector is at the forefront of an industry predicted to be worth AUS$100 billion by 20302. Soaring demand for improved efficiencies is also driving exciting foreign investment opportunities in this area.

As Australia’s largest exporter of agricultural produce, the Victorian Government actively supports industry and business to develop on-farm technology, food innovations and process efficiencies that will boost productivity and meet record supply demands across the sector. Click below to find out about opportunities that include:

  1. Farm management software
    1. Data-driven systems that monitor seed-to-landscape processes, livestock health and irrigation. There is historic demand for insights that support informed decisions and improve productivity
    2. Robotics and mechanisation systems that facilitate dairy processing, feeding and quality control. Australian farmers are looking for ways to reduce cost and waste through efficient applications
    3. Energy technologies that improve farm productivity and reduce costs. Rising energy costs are impacting many farming businesses and Victoria is supporting innovations in new energy technology
  2. Innovations in food development and processing
    1. Development in high-quality and sustainable food. Victoria is home to world-leading research expertise and infrastructure that bring together industry, business and community partnerships to develop high-value products
    2. Food innovation and product development. Victoria’s superior food and processing facilities service a growing demand for speciality products that offer consumers choice, health and luxury.
  3. Supply chain and logistics
    1. Chain verification and traceability technology. As supply volume increases alongside market demand for reliable source information, technical solutions that improve traceability and ensure high-quality and fresh produce will be important to producers and global consumers alike
    2. Accelerated processing and delivery efficiencies. Industrial properties and assets are set for a dramatic change in supply and demand, with delivery speed and efficiency becoming increasingly important.
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