Monash University today welcomed New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to announce a new agreement to help five New Zealand companies develop innovative consumer goods that can be launched into the Australian and international markets.
Under the agreement, the pioneering Monash Food Innovation (MFI) initiative and its New Frontiers Innovation Program (NFIP), will partner with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) in semester two to support the New Zealand businesses with an intensive 10-week program.
MFI was established at Monash University in 2016 in partnership with industry and the Victorian Government as part of a larger strategy to support consumer goods innovation, including sustainability and food security, to address the challenges of the age.
The world-class facility based at Monash’s Clayton campus can influence the full process of product development, including the design, consumer endorsement and strategic commercialisation of consumer goods innovation.
The NFIP pairs students with industry partners, and guides them through MFI’s ‘bringing products to life’ framework to develop solutions to real industry challenges and create consumer-tested products.
The five New Zealand industry partners are specialists in products including plant-based, eco-friendly cleaning products, healthy and natural snacks and texture-modified food and resources for the aged care industry.
They will have access to support including a suite of innovative commercial ideas and solutions that are customer and consumer tested to increase future market share, proven tools and methodologies that can be used for future innovation projects, and rapid testing and prototyping tools.
At the end of the 10-week process, they will have a fully developed concept for their defined challenge, suitable for launching in Australia or internationally.
Speaking at the MoU signing, Prime Minister Ardern said New Zealand businesses offer the world a fresh approach and are not afraid to challenge the status quo that leads to innovation, something she referred to as “Pōtikitanga” – a te reo Māori word that describes New Zealand’s curious, ingenious and adventurous spirit.
Monash University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Senior Vice President, Professor Rebekah Brown, said Monash was pleased to support New Zealand industry.
“This program is all about energising business with ideas from the next generation of students at Monash University. It’s one of the ways Monash is driving innovation and sustainability and supporting thriving communities.”
“We’re all really excited to see what comes out of the program, and how the relationship between Monash University and New Zealand will continue to grow as part of our commitment to the region.” Professor Brown said.
Glen Murphy, NZTE Regional Director for Australia-Pacific, said the program is a true testament to innovation and collaboration between New Zealand and Australia.
“The NFIP provides a unique opportunity and environment in which companies can create, innovate and collaborate to accelerate their ideas to market and I am looking forward to seeing the solutions our companies and students generate in the 10-week period,” he said.
Sam Bridgewater, Co-Founder and Director The Pure Food Co, said: “The New Frontiers Program being delivered by Monash University gives The Pure Food Co an incredible opportunity to build our pipeline and create one ready to go concept for the Australian market.
“We are excited to be part of the first group of New Zealand companies in this tailored program offered through NZTE that will strengthen commercially focused innovation in our business.”
About the New Zealand partners:
Ecostore – Plant based, eco-friendly cleaning products across Home, Baby, Oral Care, and more. Carbon zero manufacturing and packaging made from sugar plastic
Tom & Luke – Healthy and natural snack balls. Real food. Real taste. Real simple. Certified net carbonzero
The Pure Food Co – Food service offering texture modified meals to aged care and also learning resources, training and recipes
Blunt – Combining superior engineering with beautiful design. Currently selling umbrellas and looking to design and release new products to expand their brand.
Midlands Nutrition – Premium plant-based nutritional oils and superfood manufacturers. Developing, producing, and supplying the finest specialty oils and food ingredients to the global food, skincare and health product sectors