Kiwi tech on the world stage

New Zealand innovators and leaders showcased their technologies on the world stage at a high-profile international event recently in Melbourne.

Over 60 Kiwi companies attended evokeAG to create export and partnership opportunities and build on New Zealand’s reputation as a leading agricultural innovator.

The event focussed on innovation in agriculture, drawing delegates from the entire agriculture ecosystem from across the Asia Pacific region and internationally.

The trip was led by Callaghan Innovation in partnership with NZTE, Agritech New Zealand, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The New Zealand startup sector for agritech and new food has been ranked in the top 10 in the world and has the potential to become a multi-billion-dollar sector by 2025 says Simon Yarrow, Callaghan Innovation’s Agritech group manager.

“We’ve got a strong mix of Kiwi startups, larger firms, research institutes, investors, commercialisation experts, and ecosystem connectors joining our mission this year,” says Yarrow.

“That’s a reflection of New Zealand’s agritech ecosystem being more advanced than most, though still young.

“We’re seeing real potential for global success in robotics and automation, cloud-based platforms to manage day-to-day tasks, environmentally friendly pesticides and fertilisers, and visual artificial intelligence for animal health.

“But what we don’t have is access to the same level of investment and global channels to market. It’s why our innovators need to go the extra mile to build these global partnerships.”

The group of innovators and leaders met with investors, visited research institutes and farms in the Mildura region while confirming their products and strategies in the Australian market.

Trade commissioner Vanessa O’Neill says New Zealanders have always had the ability to turn local agritech solutions into global success stories.

“That means accelerating the growth of agritech innovations from Kiwi start-ups into scalable, investable and global companies.

“Global partnerships are second nature in New Zealand business. As Australia is New Zealand’s largest two-way trading partner it makes sense to look for opportunities to work together and take our agritech advantages to the rest of the world. ​Proven agritech innovations from New Zealand, boosted by Australian resources and networks, are a winning combination in global markets.” says O’Neill.

New Zealand speakers included Mitali Purohit from Callaghan Innovation, David Downs from NZTE, Darryn Keiller from Autogrow, Steve Saunders from Robotics Plus and Dean Tilyard from The Factory.