CSIRO launches free program targeting SME innovation in agrifood

18 September 2023

Start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) eager to shape the future of innovation in the agrifood sector are invited to register for a new online learning program, ‘Innovate to Grow: Agrifood’, led by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.

The free 10-week online program is designed to help Australian SMEs assess how they can advance their technologies, solutions, and ideas through research and development (R&D). RIGHT: CSIRO is helping businesses enhance their R&D knowledge with a free 10-week program focused on agrifood. The program is bolstered by CSIRO’s Trusted Agrifood Exports Mission and Future Protein Mission.

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The Trusted Agrifood Exports Mission aims to increase the value of Australian food premiums by $10 billion by 2030 by building trust in the safety, quality, and provenance of our agrifood. The Future Protein Mission seeks to leverage increasing global demand for high-quality protein to create new Australian protein products and ingredients that earn an additional $10 billion in revenue by 2030. The program will begin on 2 November and is available for a limited number of SMEs working across the following sub-sectors;

• Complementary proteins
• Meat and meat processing
• Agriculture
• Aquaculture
• Livestock
• Beverage and/or fermentation
• Food product manufacturing
• Other sub-sectors considered

Dr Ryan McAllister, Trusted Agrifood Exports Mission Lead, said SMEs will play a pivotal role in transforming the agrifood sector and the program will equip them with the tools to do just that. “This initiative represents a step toward modernising how supply chains support agricultural exports, with programs such as Innovate to Grow set to equip SMEs with the insight required to play a part in achieving this mission,” Dr. McAllister said.

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“Our mission is centered around helping producers get their products into discerning markets that are willing to pay a premium for Australian quality and safety, fortified with trusted data that upholds our national brand.” Dr. Monika Szabo, CSIRO’s SME Collaboration Manager, encouraged SMEs to capitalise on this opportunity to help translate their ideas into viable commercial opportunities and understand how R&D can benefit their business.

“Over the course of this program, CSIRO and industry sector experts will equip you with the skills to assess the viability of your innovation, build a business case, and prepare a strong funding application.” Upon completion of the program, eligible participants may have the opportunity to access facilitation support, through CSIRO, to connect to research expertise nationally, along with dollar-matched R&D funding.

Expressions of interest for CSIRO’s Innovate to Grow: Agrifood program is now open and will close on Sunday 15 October 2023.