A range of radical solutions are now a step closer to boosting the agricultural sector thanks to the Food, Fibre and Agritech Supernode Challenge. Prize winners were named at the Showcase on 11 May.

Clarospec, a tool to measure lamb product quality, from AgResearch was the overall winner in the On-Farm Systems category and took out the Research grand prize.

KarbenFibre, an environmentally friendly battery technology to optimise and reduce the cost of flow batteries using natural fibres was named overall winner in the Value-Added Product category and runner-up in the Research category.

The grand prize in Enterprise was won by Genesmith with their technology using facial recognition on livestock.

Enterprise Runner-up and Top Small Business Award went to Happy Cow Milk Co with their milk factory in a box enabling farmers to become fully compliant milk processors.

A commendation went to MET System for their ‘set and forget’ automated response to weather, designed to eliminate crop yield damage.

The Top Tertiary Award went to Beever, with the Sprout Prize and Out of Canterbury Award going to Lateral. Judge Alexandra Stuthridge, Commercialisation Manager at KiwiNet said the quality of entrants and proposed innovation was incredibly high – it was difficult to select the finalists let alone the overall winners.

“The judging panel is really heartened with the calibre of the top 25 participants that went through the accelerator - their potential to deliver transformational change for the food, fibre and agritech industries is amazing. With more and more Kiwi tech bubbling to the fore to underpin our regional and national prosperity, the future is bright.”

Joanna Norris ChristchurchNZ CEO said the Challenge has demonstrated the opportunity for food, fibre and agritech in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

“The sector already accounts for 20 percent of the regional gross domestic product – we’ve got an existing regional strength which we want to foster and grow. It’s new businesses like KarbenFibre and Clarospec who will help to do this by driving bold innovation, creating jobs and reinforcing Christchurch’s reputation as a hub for innovation.”

Mayor Craig Rowley from the Canterbury Mayoral Forum says the Challenge has further cemented Canterbury’s reputation for innovation and collaboration.

“Canterbury is NZ’s largest agricultural region and it’s been fantastic to see the calibre of ideas coming out of the sector. All ten of these finalists’ are worth keeping an eye on over the next year as we see the longer term benefits of the Challenge including the connections, advice and mentorship really start to pay dividends.”

The Food, Fibre and Agritech Challenge is powered by ChristchurchNZ with the support of KiwiNet, AgResearch and the Canterbury Mayoral Forum and delivery partners UC Centre of Entrepreneurship, ThincLab Canterbury and B.Linc Innovation.

**This media release was issued by the University of Canterbury on behalf of the FFA Challenge partners and supporters** 

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