Western Growers CIT: The opportunity for ANZ agritech is awesome!

Western Growers CIT: The opportunity for ANZ agritech is awesome!

Yesterday, I published the post; ‘Introducing the Western Growers CIT Global Advisory Board’.

As indicated in the post, it’s an initiative that I have been working on with the Center’s Director, Dennis Donohue, for some time. The opportunity to build a ‘Star Alliance’ global network of locally-connected entrepreneurs and investors with a shared common interest drove this work.

The make-up of the Advisory Board reflects this purpose;

Rob Ward, (UK), Founder of ForwardFood.Tech and Agritech Lead at the UK Department of International Trade’s Global Entrepreneur Programme

Ethy Levy, (Israel), Founder of Impact Innovation Israel and Fund Manager at Kinneret Impact Ventures

Sarah Nolet, (Australia), Co-founder of AgThentic and General Partner at Tenacious Ventures, Australia’s leading agrifood tech venture fund

Francisco Jardim, (Brazil), General Partner at SP Ventures and Managing Director, the San Paulo Innovation Fund

Larry Taylor, (US/Singapore), Co-Founder of the Yield Lab, Asia Pacific

Rich Moran, (US),  Former Partner at Venrock & Accenture, Managing Partner at Tonic BioVentures and best-selling author

Peter Wren-Hilton (NZ) Founder of Wharf42 & Dennis Donohue (Director, Western Growers CIT)

Wearing my regional hat, I believe that the establishment of the Advisory Board and its purpose as explained in yesterday’s post, provides a major platform for ANZ agritech companies seeking to establish a serious footprint in North America. It’s why Sarah and I will be communicating these opportunities to both Agritech New Zealand and the Australia Agritech Association. It’s these two industry organisations that will be able to share these opportunities with members to leverage their impact.

Looking further ahead, the opportunity to engage and connect with some seriously well-connected regional representatives will further increase the opportunity for increased global collaboration. This was a major part of yesterday’s discussion.

I very much look forward to working with Dennis and the team as we build out a lasting framework that can have a really positive legacy. These are exciting times!

Introducing the Western Growers CIT Global Advisory Board

Introducing the Western Growers CIT Global Advisory Board

Today, the Western Growers CIT Global Advisory Board met for the first time.

It’s been a ‘work in progress’ since earlier in the year and it’s great that we have finally got it across the line. It’s been a privilege to work with Dennis Donohue, Director of the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology, as the Board’s co-convener and a pleasure to be working with our engaged and globally-connected colleagues.

The Advisory Board has been established to address three areas of common purpose.

  1. To provide agritech companies from around the world with a landing pad at the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology facility in Salinas, Northern California.
  2. To provide Western Grower members (they produce over 50% of all North American fresh produce – fruit, vegetables, nuts & organics) with solutions designed to address some of their most significant challenges. These include;
    • Labor: Lack of & cost of. How to effectively increase automation across the production process
    • Rapid Diagnostics: Identification and eradication of plant pests / disease that threaten food security and safety
    • Water: Sustainability and resource management
    • Data: Collection and management
    • The building and training of an agricultural labor force for the future
  3. To provide the Center’s tenants with access to, and potential collaboration with, global partners

Over the coming months, the Advisory Board will be sharing some of the key challenges facing Western Grower members with the intention of generating global input. If you believe that your agritech business can help address these challenges, a call to action will include an opportunity to present your solution.

To support this, Western Growers are developing a Grower Trial Network that will enable agritech companies to test their technology in-market. Understanding the challenges from the grower’s perspective is a hugely important component in the plan. Being ‘big’ in other geographies does not necessarily guarantee domestic grower adoption in the US. Local knowledge, local visibility and access to a receptive local ecosystem all have a huge role to play.

It’s early days, but I am confident that today’s first meeting will provide significant opportunities for global agritech companies looking to expand their footprint into North America. Dennis and the team in Salinas are keen to engage. So are our colleagues who make up the Advisory Board.

For agritech companies in my part of the world, I’ll be sharing details of these opportunities with both Agritech New Zealand and the Australian Agritech Association. If you are developing solutions for the specialty crop market and want to scale offshore, I cannot really think of a better opportunity out there.

Building a trans-Tasman agritech collaborative framework with purpose

Building a trans-Tasman agritech collaborative framework with purpose

It was great to be able to share the news today that AgriFutures Australia and Wharf42 were announcing a new collaboration to enable New Zealand & Australian innovators, researchers and farmers to come together to lead on climate action. A key driver behind this announcement was the joint ambition to build a trans-Tasman agritech collaborative framework that has purpose. Think ‘moving the dial’, rather than creating just another talk-fest.

As farmers and growers around the world face the increasingly existential impact of a rapidly changing climate, building a strong collaborative framework among key stakeholder groups across the Oceania region has become ever more critical. Next year’s 2035 Oceania Summit is designed to do that and today’s announcement both supercharges that opportunity and heralds a significant new era for trans-Tasman collaboration in the global AgriFoodTech space.

This is today’s announcement from AgriFutures evokeAG

2 SEPTEMBER 2021: ‘evokeAG. is proud to announce a new collaboration with the inaugural 2035 Oceania Summit taking place in Auckland on 26-27 April 2022.

With a focus on climate and sustainability, the 2035 Oceania Summit will offer a wonderful opportunity for Australian and New Zealand innovators, researchers and farmers to come together to lead climate action.

In 2022, we want to connect, collaborate and drive action across the Tasman to support farmers in continuing to be leaders in natural resource management. Through evokeAG. Perth (Feb, 2022), evokeAG. Sydney (March, 2022), and the 2035 Oceania Summit, Auckland (April, 2022), we hope to bring these important conversations and innovation to the forefront’.

BREAKING: Read today’s headline story on the evokeAG portal; Trans-Tasman collaboration driving global innovation and action in 2022. Wise words from John Harvey, Managing Director, AgriFutures Australia.

At the September 2019 Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum meeting in Auckland, I had the opportunity to connect with partners in both Australia & New Zealand to establish the Australia New Zealand Agritech Council. Over the past two years, we have continued to develop that relationship. As part of the continuing drive to increase opportunities for joint collaboration, earlier this year, Agritech New Zealand signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Agritech Association.

The main purpose behind this work has been to position the region as a truly significant global AgriFoodTech hub. Next year’s 2035 Oceania Summit adds a whole new dimension to that purpose. By showcasing the region’s agrifood and climate-related tech research and innovation capability, we intend to support farmers and growers worldwide reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to net zero, as well as build more resilient growing systems to address the ongoing impact of a rapidly changing climate.

With a very significant delegation of Australian innovators, researchers, producers, investors and policy-makers now expected in Auckland next April, Wharf42 looks forward to working with the team at AgriFuture’s evokeAG as we build a significant programme of activity in advance of next year’s major trans-Tasman events.

Join us tomorrow for the New Zealand – Korea Technology Roadshow 2021

Join us tomorrow for the New Zealand – Korea Technology Roadshow 2021

I’m delighted to be speaking at tomorrow’s New Zealand – Korea Technology Roadshow 2021. The New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Korea are hosting the two-day (virtual) tech roadshow tomorrow and on Thursday. Its purpose is to provide New Zealand technology companies with the opportunity to present to, and connect with, some of Korea’s leading partners, investors, industry players and businesses.

I’ve posted this before. What strikes me is that NZ Inc. is providing New Zealand tech companies with both great introductions and potential access points to the Korea market. The roadshow will hear supporting messages from both the Mayor of Seoul and the head of the Seoul Invest Centre. As New Zealand technology companies look to diversify and expand their Asia engagement strategies, this Korea Technology Roadshow ticks the boxes.

Why Korea?

  • The world’s 9th largest economy
  • The world’s leading digital infrastructure
  • Innovation and high skilled workforce
  • Ideal global test bed
  • Business hub of North East Asia
  • Booming e-commerce market
  • Business friendly frameworks

Tomorrow, I’ve been asked to talk about New Zealand’s agritech transformation. I’m delighted to be joining Stephen Blair, the NZ Trade Commissioner to Korea who will be talking about the Global Trend and Korea’s Opportunities. Over the next two days, different New Zealand government agencies including New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, Callaghan Innovation & MFAT will be taking part in the roadshow.

For me, the most exciting session will be tomorrow’s Session 2 when a number of New Zealand companies present to the online audience. Thanks to the Kiwi Chamber for the invite and Gina Park for her collaboration & support. If you would like to attend the roadshow from the comfort of your home, the cost is free. For registration details, just email kiwitechseoul@gmail.com

I very much hope you can join the team tomorrow!


The 2035 Oceania Summit Advisory Committee met today

The 2035 Oceania Summit Advisory Committee met today

I was delighted to host the first meeting of the 2035 Oceania Summit Advisory Committee this morning. Despite New Zealand going into COVID-19 lockdown Level 4 overnight, it was an honour to be joined by such a committed group of globally-recognised AgriFoodTech and Climate Change experts. You can learn more about the team at www.2035.ag

The main purpose of the meeting was to discuss the developing Summit programme. The Advisory Committee represent a diverse range of stakeholders and that was reflected in this morning’s meeting. I believe the lessons and conversations that emerge from the Summit will have a lasting impact on how the world looks at agrifood technology and its ability to help address climate change.

Over the past few months, we have been working with both Auckland Unlimited and the Business Events team at Tourism New Zealand to deliver a fantastic experience for delegates. Over the coming weeks, I expect to be able to announce several additional partnerships which will help take the event to the next level.

The Advisory Committee will be meeting again next month as the Summit programme builds. If you want to keep up to speed with developments, please sign up to the Summit newsletter. You can find that on the Summit landing page here.