FARMERS wanting to commercialise great sheep and wool ideas have only a week to apply for assistance under the innovative Farmers2Founders program.
Farmers2Founders is a company formed by Australian Wool Innovation and Meat & Livestock Australia that provides funding and mentoring over a 12-week program to entrepreneurial farmers with good business ideas they want to take to market.
The Farmers2Founders Ideas Program supports producers to commercialise ideas, new products and inventions in agrifood and fibre. These can be apps, technology, value-adding businesses or general farm innovation.
Farmes2Founders is currently recruiting 12 people for the 2020 remote program with a particular focus on wool and lamb producers, with applications closing on 28 February.
Over 12 weeks, F2F provides funding, coaching, tools, and more to support producers to work out if their business idea is worth pursuing. The program is largely remote, with one in person session in March to kick off the program.
Last year, Farmers2Founders ran the program with 15 farmers, many of whom now have commercial products in the market. Previous participants have included Marian McGann who has developed a livestock tracking app.
“I am like so many entrepreneurial Aussie farmers who have experienced an on-farm problem and, unable to find a good solution, set out to build her own,” Ms McGann said.
“Primary producers possess so much knowledge and on-ground expertise and like many, I believe my knowledge of the problem is the biggest asset that I bring to the platform.
“F2F will help me work out whether ‘Stock Keeper’ is a scaleable business that solves others problems, or whether it’s just a great solution for my business,” she said.
“Both are good outcomes, but if it appears that the app is scaleable, then it’ s looking at next steps, understand the challenges and looking at building it so that it is of real value to Australian agriculture.”
She said the benefits of the F2F Ideas program included learning the tech language and being linked with experts who have the know-how to get it done.
The Farmers2Founders innovation program aims to equip primary producers as frontline innovators and supports them to develop entrepreneurship and technology capabilities, so they can solve critical industry challenges.
F2F exists because there is a disconnect between farmers and tech developers, and not enough primary producers are involved in food, foodtech, and agtech innovation processes.
The pilot year is supported by five RDCs (MLA; AWI; Wine Australia; GRDC; and AgriFutures) and the Federal Incubator Support Programme.