Agrifutures is redefining its role as one of Australia’s fifteen Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) by positioning itself strongly in agricultural technology.
Following on from its successful GrowAg conference held in 2016, the body previously known as the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, will be hosting the EvokeAg conference in Melbourne next year.
As part of the agtech extravaganza, AgriFutures are currently seeking applications for its technology “pitch tent” as well as the Future Young Leader program.
What we will do is inject in the EvokeAg event the spirit of young emerging leaders and youth
AgriFutures, managing director, John Harvey said EvokeAg and AgriFutures role in supporting the agricultural technology space was born out the feedback of Australia’s top young agriculturists as well as recognition of a gap left by the larger RDCs.
“The ecosystem is immature, it is just emerging, there is a lot of energy and activity but there is also a lot of duplication and unnecessary competition,” he said.
“There is a need for a really strong vision and positioning of Australian agtech in a global context as well as collaboration, getting the key players working together.
Mr Harvey said while other countries were interested in Australian innovation, the tyranny of distance meant Australian agriculture needed a a global platform as a one-stop-shop showcase.
If the agtech community are going to be successful they need to solve real problems for real people
“Through EvokeAg they can come to Australia, see the best of the best, through both the presentations and the pitch tent,” he said.
“It gives us an opportunity to interact with the rest of the world, which is important when you start talking about access to capital, innovations and technologies.”
Mr Harvey said EvokeAg was supported by all commodities through the Council of RDCs.
“There is a whole range of new technologies out there including sensors, machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics and synthetic biology,” he said.
“Those technologies don’t have boundaries between agricultural commodities or even industrial sectors, often they have come from financial technology, medical technology or information communications technology.
“They will impact all of our agricultural sectors so that is why it is important for everybody to be in the room.
“A lot of the synergy we are seeing is when you get people from more diverse backgrounds and diverse experiences.”
Future young leaders wanted
Mr Harvey said as part of this commitment to diversity, AgriFutures will identify ten emerging “thought leaders” within the agriculture and food industries from Australia and New Zealand to attend EvokeAg as part of its Future Young Leaders program.
“It is very important we get people in the room who are going to be part of that future,” he said.
“So we can understand their perspective, along with their aspirations and expectations about a career in agriculture.
“What we will do is inject in the EvokeAg event the spirit of young emerging leaders and youth.”
Mr Harvey said applicants were required to create a short video from which finalists will be chosen both by a panel and the general public.
“The Future Young Leaders Program will provide a valuable platform to showcase their ideas and passions to producers, investors, private enterprise, corporates, government and entrepreneurs on a global stage,” he said.
“We hope the themes of food, farm, future will encourage a wide range of applicants and concepts.”
Mr Harvey said winners will receive a five-minute presentation opportunity at the event, as well as return economy airfares, accommodation, airport transfers and a delegate pass to the conference.
Along with agriculture’s youth, AgriFutures are strongly encouraging farmers and industry to attend the event.
“If the agtech community are going to be successful they need to solve real problems for real people,” Mr Harvey said.
“From the farmers point of view, they need to know what is possible and start preparing for the technology that will impact their business and how they will take advantage of it.
“We’ve got some of the best farmers in the world, they are used to innovating.
“It is about being part of the conversation, seeing what other people are doing, that is what EvokeAg will do for farmers.”
Pitch tent applications
Mr Harvey said a key feature at the EvokeAg conference was the “Pitch Tent” which would showcase innovative agricultural producers and agrifood tech startups and opportunity to pitch their problems and ideas on stage to an Australian and international audience. .
Applicants are invited to apply across any of the three “streams”, producer problems, seed funding and investment ready.
Mr Harvey said each stream finalist will be matched with a mentor to assist and prepare them for their pitch and will have the opportunity to network with global venture capitalists, startup ecosystem leaders and program directors, corporate decision makers, and engage with the global agtech community at the event.
Winners will share in a total prize pool of $35,000 cash plus in-kind prizes.
Mr Harvey said the emphasis is on startups who have developed solutions, and primary producers who are looking to find solutions to on-farm problems.
“EvokeAg Pitch Tent is a valuable platform for startups to present their vision and strategy to an international audience, and for producers to present their problems.
“The three streams enable participation from farmers through to burgeoning and successful entrepreneurs, which we hope will encourage a wide range of applicants and ideas,” he said.
Applications for the Future Young Leaders program close at 11.00pm on Friday the 12th of October 2018. For full eligibility criteria, terms and conditions and to apply, please visit www.evokeag.com
Early bird tickets for EvokeAg, offering a 25% discount, will be available until 30 October 2018 and can also be found at www.evokeag.com
Applications for the EvokeAg Pitch Tent close close at 11.00pm (AEDT) on Friday, 28 September 2018. For full eligibility criteria, terms and conditions and to apply, please visit www.evokeag.com