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Win $40,000 and help Australia’s agribusiness sector grow


22 June 2015

Applications open today for the 'Westpac Innovation Challenge', an opportunity for start-ups and agribusiness entrepreneurs to develop new ideas to revolutionise Australia's agricultural sector.

This is the second Challenge run by the bank which will see $40,000 awarded to the entrepreneur that creates the most useful and innovative digital solution for Australian agricultural producers and agribusinesses. The winner will also receive a six-month placement in Westpac's partner BlueChilli start-up accelerator program, offering potential for further investment opportunities with the company.

Westpac National Agribusiness Manager, Stephen Hannan said the Challenge was an opportunity for entrepreneurs and farmers with innovative ideas to get access to support and funding to bring their transformative ideas to life.

"You don't have to be an agricultural start-up specifically. We're looking for innovative ideas and technologies that can be used to transform the lives of Australia's farmers and the communities that support them.

"Our customers have told me their biggest focus is ensuring the long-term sustainability of their businesses and the primary industries they work in. We want to connect our agribusiness customers with new and innovative solutions that tackle some of their biggest concerns - new ways to improve productivity, lower costs, foster sustainable farming and manage market fluctuations," Mr Hannan said.

For example, entrepreneurs might have ideas and technologies developed to assist with:

  • Land, water and resource management;
  • Sustainable farming and minimisation of environmental impacts;
  • Building export markets for Australian agricultural products; or
  • Connecting agribusiness buyers and suppliers.

Australia's agricultural industry is the backbone of this country and Westpac proudly supports customers living and working in rural and regional Australia.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2012-13 the gross value of total Australian agricultural production was $48.0 billion, an increase of 3 per cent from 2011-12.

The 'Westpac Innovation Challenge' brings to life the bank's strategic focus on delivering innovative products and services to its customers.

"Our customers' service expectations are higher than ever. They expect us to keep up with their evolving needs. By investing in innovation, both within our business and in partnership with organisations such as BlueChilli, we are able to rapidly develop new ideas that will add substantial value to our customers," said Westpac Group Head of Innovation, Ian Hill.

"I encourage any start-up with innovative ideas to help our farmers to enter the Challenge. We are looking for leading edge, future-ready ideas. No idea is too big or too small."

BlueChilli founder and CEO, Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, said the 'Westpac Innovation Challenge' was a great opportunity to advance the development of new business services in the marketplace.

"In addition to targeting traditional technology start-ups, we are hoping to engage entrepreneurs in research, academia and the environmental, sustainability and engineering communities with ideas to leverage digital technology in smart ways to grow agribusiness in Australia."

The 'Westpac Innovation Challenge' is open to Australian residents who either have an existing early-stage venture or a new concept that can help Australian agriculture and agribusiness to prosper and grow.

Applications close on Sunday 2 August 2015.