The Andrews Labor Government’s investment in AgTech startups is a significant step towards building a vibrant and sustainable AgTech ecosystem in Victoria. With $1.3 million in grants, the government is partnering with startup agency LaunchVic to offer emerging AgTech startups the support they need to take their business to the next level. The AgTech Grants Program will provide 20 startups with $50,000 each, which will help them to access immediate capital and drive innovation in the sector.
Minister for Agriculture Gayle Tierney stated that Victoria’s dynamic agricultural industry positions it to become a leader in AgTech innovation and entrepreneurship within Australia. She added that AgTech startups are playing a crucial role in enhancing efficiency and safety in the agricultural sector while aiding the state in adapting to the challenges posed by a changing climate.
In addition to the AgTech Grants Program, the government provides $300,000 to establish Victoria’s first dedicated agriculture Angel Network. This network will invest in Victorian AgTech startups, providing further support for early-stage founders and creating more opportunities for growth and development in the sector. These initiatives will help to drive innovation, build capacity and encourage investment in the AgTech industry, which is crucial to the future of agriculture in Victoria.
According to Kate Cornick, the CEO of LaunchVic, they provide working capital to ambitious Ag innovators in Victoria who are eager to take their next steps towards growth. This working capital comes with no requirement for equity. Additionally, when these startups are prepared to conclude their first funding round, LaunchVic will ensure that a committed angel group is in place to support their endeavors and help them succeed.
The grant funding is part of the Victorian Labor Government’s $15 million AgTech Regional Innovation Network (AgRIN), which aims to support the growth of AgTech in Victoria. Through AgRIN, the government has already helped fund various innovative projects, such as AirAgri, a satellite mapping and farm safety app developed by brothers Paul and James Diamond. AirAgri was able to refine its idea and build its business skills through the support of AgRIN’s pre-accelerator programs, which has helped them to become one of the most successful AgTech startups in Victoria.