In Wagga Wagga (Australia), one entrepreneur is determined to promote a culture of innovation in agriculture, as well as in rural regions more generally. Diana Somerville is bringing her experience and know-how from starting numerous companies herself, in order to support and create a future generation of innovators and to showcase rural businesses.
Among the initiatives that Somerville is promoting are: a pitch competition, entrepreneur programme, hackathon, and networking events. The aim is not simply to replicate what is happening in the capital cities but to showcase how existing rural businesses are innovating.
One of the main challenges for agriculture in Australia is to close the so-called “adoption gap” in relation to agricultural technology. The challenges are numerous, but foremost are tackling falling agricultural incomes and dealing with issues of efficiency and long-term sustainability of agricultural practices. Beyond these issues, however, there is also the importance of social and educational issues.
Somerville believes there is a natural fit between her emphasis on innovation and farmers in rural and regional Australia who have always been innovators. One result of this is WorkingSpaces which is an active space of shared innovation.
To date the project has been successful with numerous agtech start-ups coming out of rural Australia. This has contributed to the agtech sector receiving the attention it deserves from potential partners and sponsors.
Photo credit: “www.colourbox.com”. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from AgFunder News.