Innovation in the food, fibre and agritech sector looks set to solve some of the greatest challenges facing the sector thanks to ideas submitted to the Food, Fibre and Agritech Supernode Challenge.

With more than 50 high quality applications from across the country, Challenge partners ChristchurchNZ, KiwiNet, AgResearch and the Canterbury Mayoral Forum have been delighted by the revolutionary thinking from both private enterprise and researchers.

The top 25 applicants chosen from the first round of judging presented ideas and innovation on a wide spectrum of issues from high tech solutions to on-farm challenges such as water quality and agricultural fibre waste through to nutrition from plant-based alternatives and revolutionary beehive design.

Boyd Warren, General Manager – Innovation & Business Growth at ChristchurchNZ said innovation challenges like this are a powerful tool to uncover innovation and solve problems.

“Challenges have the potential to grow businesses, enhance the environment and support prosperous livelihoods. We’re thrilled with the level of sophistication across the entrants and the opportunity to support these innovators, share knowledge and potentially grow great global businesses – all from here in Otautahi Christchurch.”

Alexandra Stuthridge, Commercialisation Manager at KiwiNet Innovation is excited to be part of the Challenge and to watch the innovative thinking unfold.

“KiwiNet is delighted to support the Food Fibre and Agriculture Challenge. We have been inspired by the enthusiasm and commitment of participants and by impressive quality of projects with real commercial potential. Above that high bar, what stands out has been the willing appetite for participants to connect with others, converse, share and ultimately strengthen the innovation community across Food, Fibre and Agritech.”

During the next phase of the Challenge, the top 25 participants will embark on an intensive seven-week accelerator programme delivered by the University of Canterbury’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, business incubator of the Triple Crown accredited UC Business School and ThincLab Canterbury, part of the global ThincLab network.

With the support of Lincoln University’s B.Linc Innovation and the innovation community in Canterbury, mentors will work with founders to take them through key development phases for their venture including market validation, product development, business models and investment.

The top eight finalists emerging from the accelerator programme will present to a panel of experts at the final pitch day and awards ceremony which will take place at E Tipu 2021 | The Boma NZ Agri Summit on 11 May where they will compete for a share in a prize pool of more than $130,000.

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