Australian food and agri start-ups are being invited to take part in the international FoodBytes! Pitch program which builds connections between promising businesses and investors.
Launched in 2015 in the United States by agribusiness bank Rabobank, the program is designed to drive collaboration between entrepreneurs, start-ups, corporates, investors and farmers from around the world to help find solutions to food system challenges.
The program, which is run over several weeks, includes tailored mentorship lessons, pitch refinement, networking opportunities and international industry and media exposure so that participants can also build their brand recognition.
Rabobank Australia Head of Innovation, Knowledge and Networks Nathalie Gibson said those working on an innovative product or technology with an application in food and agriculture should apply.
"FoodBytes! is scouting globally for start-ups with developed business models, demonstrated commercial traction, a robust team and a cross-industry collaborative mindset which have the potential to drive meaningful and sustainable change throughout the food value chain," Ms Gibson said.
Start-ups or companies specialising in the areas of sustainable supply chains, improving resource management or innovation in nutrition are encouraged to apply.
A total of 45 start-ups will be selected to participate in the program, split evenly between three categories - sustainable supply chains, improved resource management and the next frontier of nutrition.
The start-ups will be selected through three rounds of scoring and discussion by more than 30 Rabobank sector experts and take part in a mentoring and coaching program.
From the group, 15 successful applicants will be chosen to present at the virtual global pitch competition in November, with a winner chosen in each category.
The three winners will receive consultations with relevant members in multiple business development areas.
In last year's competition three Australian start-ups were selected in the top 45, chosen from a field of 340 applicants from 14 countries.
Western Australian precision irrigation and fertiliser platform SWAN Systems was named last year's global agtech category winner, while Albury, New South Wales, agricultural biotech company ProAgni was among the top 15 selected to present in 2020.
ProAgni co-founder and chief executive officer Lachlan Campbell said being involved in the global program had given the company "significant operational leverage".
"ProAgni continues to receive inbound interest from investors and engaged corporate members," Mr Campbell said.
"We'd never have these kinds of conversations in Australia alone - we couldn't have expected more out of the FoodBytes! Program."
Applications close on May 16, with the finalists to be announced on September 8.
The live-streamed public pitch competition will be held on November 10.
- For more information or to apply visit: foodbytesworld.com/apply or alternatively if you would like to learn more about the FoodBytes community email: FoodBytes@rabobank.com