Agrifood SMEs in Western Australia to get innovation boost from CSIRO


Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has launched a fresh opportunity for Western Australian (WA) small to medium enterprises (SMEs) eager to transform agrifood innovation.

Applications are now open for the Innovate to Grow: Agrifood program, a transformative initiative delivered by CSIRO with support from the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

Designed for start-ups and SMEs in WA, this program targets the state’s extensive agricultural landscape, spanning 71 million hectares and supporting diverse agricultural production, from broadacre farming to intensive agriculture and aquaculture.

Recognising the pivotal role of agribusinesses in the global agrifood industry, CSIRO is calling on forward-thinking enterprises to join this free 10-week online program.

Dr George Feast, CSIRO SME Connect Deputy Director, said Innovate to Grow provides an exclusive opportunity for businesses to turn ideas into viable research and development (R&D) prospects.

“The program offers a transformative experience that not only fosters innovation but also educates businesses on the invaluable role of R&D in enhancing their overall business strategy,” Dr Feast said.

“Participants will gain insights into the significance of R&D, along with practical strategies to navigate and advance their ideas through the innovation pipeline. It’s a unique blend of education, mentorship, and tangible pathways to turn concepts into successful realities.”

The program, commencing on 11 April 2024, offers participants collaboration with mentors from CSIRO or universities, addressing technical and business challenges, exploring R&D opportunities, gaining insights into partnering with research organisations, and crafting compelling R&D funding applications.

Amanda Falconer, Founder of Bestie Kitchen, participated in the first ever Innovate to Grow: Agrifood program in June 2020 and attests to the program’s impact on her business.

“Innovate to Grow really made research accessible,” Ms Falconer said.

“Before the program, I thought there was no way that a tiny company like mine could work with CSIRO or a university. Now it has been demystified.”

After completing the program, Bestie Kitchen progressed through the CSIRO innovation ecosystem and secured dollar-matched R&D funding through the CSIRO Kick-Start program to develop scientifically-sound pet food and supplements.

The program is open to a limited number of SMEs working across the following sub-sectors:

  • Meat and meat product manufacturing
  • Agriculture and fishing support services
  • Aquaculture
  • Livestock
  • Beverage manufacturing
  • Food product manufacturing
  • Other subsectors considered

Applications close on Sunday 17 March 2024.

Learn more and apply for the Innovate to Grow: Agrifood WA program or discover more programs for SMEs.

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