Cicada Innovations, an Australian tech incubator has teamed up with the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) to provide industry experts, investors, and entrepreneurs with access to a 6-month coaching program in a workspace at the Cicada incubator. Agricultural Technology is growing and Australia is upping the ante.
The group is now calling for entrepreneurs, grain growers, and researchers to apply to take part in a grain agtech challenge.
The aim of the GrowLab Grains Challenge is to uncover innovative deep tech solutions in an effort to sustainably raise profitability in Australia’s grain growing industry. This sector currently turns over almost $14 billion AUD.
Successful applicants to the grain agtech challenge receive an invitation to the coaching program, and they will receive a dedicated workspace at the Cicada Innovations incubator, plus membership in Cicada’s deep tech community.
The incubator workspace contains state-of-the-art rapid prototyping facilities, shared labs, curated events, and other resources. Participants will be introduced to mentors, leading industry experts, investors, and successful entrepreneurs thanks to the joint networds of Cicada and the GRDC.
Growing Agricultural Technology
Cicada says the program participants will receive guidance on
- Refining their value proposition
- Navigating the agtech and grains industry
- Building their business model and pricing
- Identifying the right customers and partners
- Becoming investment ready
- Building a winning team
Who Should Apply?
Cicada Innovations encourages a range of applicants with possible solutions from a range of research and industries beyond agtech. These include applications for automation in mining, biotech (nanotech, synthetic biology, antimicrobial resistance), data science, circular economy, and sustainability.
“The grain growing industry is a huge contributor to the Australian economy, and it’s critical we find new ways to support its sustainability and long term profitability. Sourcing new deep technology solutions and supporting their pathway to market will benefit the grains sector and regional communities.” – Sally-Ann Williams, CEO of Cicada Innovations.
The Cicada CEO hopes to uncover innovators across multiple fields and technologies, including task automation, sensors, and renewable technologies and genetic tools. These kinds of solutions could help growers to develop new high-value products and by-products for such areas as health and nutrition, animal feed, and industrial uses or biofuels.
“The GrowLab Grains Challenge is about supporting innovators with ideas that could potentially transform the grains industry.” – Chris Murphy, GRDC Manager Business Development and Commercialisation – North
This partnership is a new way for GRDC to provide industry support, because it usually works through universities, state ag departments and CSIRO.
GRDC says its collaboration with Cicada should help attract more equity investment and and also help Australian companies to raise their products and services to the next level. This is in line with GRDC’s strategy to create enduring profitability for Australian grain growers.
The industry’s $13.77 billion AUD in gross production value came from 22,500 grain farmers in 2020-21. Exported grains accounted for $12.4 billion AUD of that.
Grain is Australia’s second largest agricultural industry by value, 27 per cent of total gross value of production. The agricultural industry is growing, but it dwarfed by mining.
Cicada Innovations incubator is based in Sydney, has a 21 year history of developing deep tech ventures. The company supports innovative ventures to help create life-changing technology. The company says it applies cutting-edge science such as advanced materials, synthetic biology and AI to challenges like the future of human health, food security and climate.
In the past twenty years, Cicada has seen $1.2bn in exits from six deep tech ventures and helped more than 300 companies raise more than $930m in funding. Cicada was awarded ‘Top Incubator in the World’ twice, by InBIA.
Applications are open until 17th December 2021. All interested parties can apply using this form.