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A digital idea to change how agri does business

10 September 2015

A new idea to connect farming businesses with short term workers was announced last week as the winner of the 2015 Westpac Innovation Challenge, which saw over 130 entrepreneurs submit their digital agribusiness ideas.


Ella Shannon has won a $40,000 cash prize and a six-month placement in the start-up accelerator program run by advisors BlueChilli to develop AgTasker, her idea for a new online marketplace designed to help farmers and agricultural firms quickly source short-term labour in a fast, transparent and cost effective manner.


Launched in June, the Westpac Innovation Challenge - the second to be held - focused on the agricultural industry and asked entrepreneurs to develop new concepts and ideas which would give agribusinesses a competitive and sustainable edge.


Westpac's National Manager, Agribusiness, Stephen Hannan, praised the high standard of the innovative ideas submitted and in particular the pitches from the five finalists.


"The response and passion from the start-up community has been phenomenal. We received more than 130 impressive applications from every state in Australia and the top five ideas have shown us revolutionary ways in which we can use new and innovative solutions to help our agribusiness customers," he said. 


The five finalists spent two weeks working on their business strategy and competition pitch with the startup advisors at BlueChilli.  Ideas ranged from livestock management to drones, each with a different take on how technology can revitalise and reimagine Australia's agribusiness industry.


"What really stood out from Ella's pitch for her AgTasker idea was her passion and understanding of agribusiness, having worked across the industry and also from growing up in the country," Stephen said.


"AgTasker has the potential to completely change the way agribusinesses access short term labour in Australia and overseas markets. It has a suite of advisors backing it, including family and corporate farmers, regional communities, and human resource management and funds management specialists," he said.


What is the Westpac Innovation Challenge?


In 2014, Westpac teamed with startup advisers, BlueChilli, to bring the first Westpac Innovation Challenge - a startup competition looking for great ideas for how digital innovation and technology can benefit Australian businesses.  The competition recognises the role Westpac can play in helping to connect customers with new solutions that support some of their biggest focus areas - new ways to improve productivity, lower costs, and sustainable practices.


BlueChilli is an organisation that helps talented founders build businesses using purpose-built methodology designed to accelerate a startup's path to launch, growth and scale.


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