News & Analysis

Westpac’s latest Innovation Challenge focuses on the agricultural sector

- May 7, 2015 2 MIN READ

Westpac has partnered with BlueChilli to launch a new Innovation Challenge, looking to uncover ideas that will transform the agricultural sector.

The Challenge, ‘From Mining Boom to Dining Boom’, will see the entrepreneur who comes up with the most useful solution for Westpac’s agribusiness customers awarded $40,000 and a six month placement in BlueChilli’s accelerator program. Westpac will also be facilitating connections between finalists and industry influencers and decision makers.

Stephan Hannan, Westpac’s national agribusiness manager, said that ensuring the long term sustainability of their businesses and the primary industries they work in is the biggest focus for customers.

“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,” he said.

Westpac’s group head of innovation, Ian Hill, added that the competition is part of Westpac trying to keep up with the evolving needs of its customers.

“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,” Hill said.

“I encourage any startup 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.”

The challenge is open to both existing early-stage ventures or new concepts.

Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, founder and CEO of BlueChilli, added that the Challenge is an opportunity to advance the development of new business services in the marketplace.

“In addition to targeting traditional technology startups, 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,” he said.

This is Westpac’s second Innovation Challenge, with last year’s inaugural competition focused on innovation in the real estate sector.

Applications open on June 22.

Image credit: Holganix.