Eleven Queensland AgTech startups have returned from a “life changing” Tel Aviv trade mission with key strategies to bolster Queensland’s burgeoning AgTech sector.
Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch said today (Friday) the startups received funding through the Palaszczuk Government’s $420 million whole-of-government Advance Queensland initiative to travel to Israel.
“This was a golden opportunity for Queensland startups to rub shoulders with local venture capitalists, global corporations, accelerator programs, startups and researchers,” Ms Enoch said.
“They have returned from the mission based out of the Tel Aviv Landing Pad, motivated by the Israeli ecosystem which is second only to Silicon Valley.
“These Queensland businesses already report they have several strong leads to significant new business opportunities in areas including agricultural biotechnology, big data and farm management.”
Queensland’s startups participating in the trade mission were Agrihive, Bioproton, BlockGrain, Ceres Tag Pty, Hydrox Technologies, IoT Australasia, Movus, Nexgen Plants, Scout Aerial Media and Surveying, Sustainable Organic Solutions, and V-Tol Aerospace.
The Palaszczuk Government partnered with Startup Catalyst and Austrade to deliver this month’s trade mission to Israel.
“These eleven companies, chosen from a very strong pool of applicants, represented diversity in the Queensland agricultural sector, both in the range of solutions they offer and their locations across the state with the startups coming from Cairns, Longreach, Gold Coast and Brisbane,” Ms Enoch said.
Scout Aerial Media and Surveying Managing Director Patrick Weeden said the trade mission was “quite honestly a life changing event”.
“Witnessing the Israeli culture of `collective success’ has encouraged me to promote stronger principles of knowledge sharing within our organisation, to identify strategic partnership opportunities and to help others in the market succeed,” he said.
Nexgen Plants Managing Director Brian Ruddle said there was many opportunities for the Queensland AgTech sector to link with the innovation ecosystem in Israel.
“Since the mission I have been approached by a number of organisations interested in engaging with us to progress our commercialisation activities,” Mr Ruddle said.
MOVUS CEO Brad Parsons said the Israeli startup ecosystem was world class and something Australia should aspire to follow.
“The visit taught me what the Israeli startups do exceptionally well which is network and collaborate,” Mr Parsons said. “Australia ranks 23 out of 26 of the OECD countries in collaborating on innovation.
“Through the initiatives that Advance Queensland is implementing, I can see the tide is turning.”
Hydrox Technologies General Manager Mark Trenchard said he was inspired by the depth and variety of innovation within Israel’s startup community.
“It was also encouraging to see that Queensland really does hold its own against the international community when it comes to AgTech innovation,” Mr Trenchard said.
“One of the biggest lessons for me from the trip that I’ve brought back to Queensland is to act locally but think globally.”
Startup Catalyst CEO Aaron Birkby said there were many lessons the participants had brought back to apply in Queensland.
“Most noticeably, there is the need for tech startups to go global from day one,” Mr Birkby said. “Australia is a small market, and technology enables us to access much larger international markets and ultimately make a far more significant contribution to the local economy.”
Visit www.startupcatalyst.com.au (external site) for more information.