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Deep tech incubator Cicada Innovations is on the hunt for ideas to make grain growing more sustainable

- November 22, 2021 2 MIN READ
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Cicada Innovations is launching a grain agtech challenge to uncover innovative deep tech solutions that will help to drive sustainability and improve profitability in the grain growing industry.

The GrowLab Grains Challenge, a collaboration with the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC), is now seeking applications from entrepreneurs, grain growers, and researchers.

Successful applicants will take part in a 6-month coaching program, which includes a dedicated workspace at the Cicada Innovations incubator. They’ll also have access to state-of-the-art rapid prototyping facilities, shared labs, curated events, and resources, and introductions to Cicada’s and the GRDC’s network of mentors, leading industry experts, investors, and successful entrepreneurs.

Program participants will be given guidance on how to refine their value proposition, navigate the agtech and grains industries, build their business model and pricing, identify customers and partners, become investment ready, and build a winning team.

Cicada Innovations CEO Sally-Ann Williams said they’re seeking a diverse range of ideas, including around biotech, data science, the circular economy, and sustainability.

“We are optimistic about the prospect of uncovering innovative, groundbreaking solutions to novel problems that often arise at the intersection of multiple disciplines and industries through deep technologies,” she said.

“Through this challenge we are seeking out innovators working across all manner of fields and technologies, from task automation and sensors to renewable technologies and genetic tools. We’re looking for solutions that will help growers to develop new, novel, and high-value products and by-products for health and nutrition, animal feed, and industrial uses or biofuels.”

GRDC business development and commercialisation manager Chris Murphy said the challenge is about supporting innovators with ideas that could potentially transform the grains industry.

“GRDC is committed to investigating and exploring innovative concepts and new technologies from grain growers and other non-traditional sources from Australia and across the globe,” he said.

“With the support of incubators like Cicada Innovations we want to position successful participants so they are well-placed to attract further equity investment and take their products or services to the next level.”

Australia’s 22,500 grain farmers created $13.77 billion in gross value of production in the last financial year, including $12.4 billion in exported grains. It’s Australia’s second largest agricultural industry by value, accounting for 27% of total gross value of production.

Applications are now open until December 17. You can apply here.