evokeAG. & Cicada Growlab: Grassroots Series

15 Feb-22 Mar 2021

Starts Mon 15 Feb, 12 noon (AEDT)

While Australians are known for their innovative bent – and for their capacity to generate viable agrifood-tech start-ups and solutions, it helps to have support from those who’ve been there and done that.

To that end, AgriFutures’ evokeAG. has joined forces with Cicada Growlab, an offshoot of deep-tech incubator Cicada Innovations, to develop and deliver the Grassroots Series.

Industry experts from global companies including KPMG, Rabobank, Amazon and Microsoft as well as leaders in the local agrifood-tech space have contributed practical skills and strategies along with tips to help start-ups avoid common pitfalls.

The free-of-charge, six-part ‘virtual mentoring’ program has been devised to give early-stage agtech startups real-world knowledge and practical scale-up skills, but would also be of value for those at later stages of development, assures Cicada Growlab Program Manager Melissa Verdino.

“Anyone with a big idea [or]…a problem that needs solving… can participate,” Verdino says, whether that means “a researcher looking to commercialise valuable IP or a …student with a bright idea”.

“You’ll find out what you need to launch a successful venture, gain exposure to industry experts and hear from like-minded founders who share your vision of changing the world.”

Grassroot series sessions

One educational webinar will be added to the evokeAG. website each week between 15 February and 22 March 2021, each focusing on a specific theme. Taken together, these will give participants a thorough grounding in  the essentials of 21st-century agrifood-tech entrepreneurship.

  • Session 1 (week beginning Mon 15 February): Are you solving a real problem?
  • Session 2 (week beginning Mon 22 February): The art of empathy
  • Session 3 (week beginning Mon 1 March): Getting tight with farmers
  • Session 4 (week beginning Mon 8 March): Distribution & sales
  • Session 5 (week beginning Mon 15 March): Don’t skip the legal stuff
  • Session 6(week beginning Mon 22 March): The fundamentals of funding

Mentor network

Along with the webinar content, the Series offers participants the opportunity for one-on-one mentoring from several of these experts. The Grassroots Series’ Mentor Network includes:

  • Gordon Black, East West Capital
  • Dr Dharmica Mistry, Cicada Innovations
  • Patrick Sieb, InfraTech Partners
  • Brooke Sauer, Intellect Ag
  • Tash Ayers, AgriStart
  • Colette Grgic, Amazon
  • Mike Nicholls, Main Sequence Ventures
  • Tristan Shannon, KPMG
  • Nat Gibson, Rabobank
  • Matthew Lipscombe, Cochlear
  • Kieren Parker, Addisons Lawyers
  • Scott Bremner, DLL
  • Topaz Conway, UNSW.

“Our mentors are our ‘brains trust’, and bring a wide range of expertise,” Verdino notes. “Participants will book in for one free 45-minute session, but spots are limited.

“People need to register for the ‘mentor hours’ so we can match them with appropriate mentors.”

About the organisers

AgriFutures Australia, previously known as the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) is delivering on the Australian Government’s goal of creating thriving rural industries and vibrant regional communities. With this in mind, the organisation works across four main arenas:

  • People & leadership;
  • Growing profitability;
  • National challenges & opportunities; and
  • Emerging industries.

Cicada GrowLab is an incubation program for founders building high-growth agrifood-tech businesses run by Sydney-based Cicada Innovations.

Further information and mentor session registration

For more information about the Grassroots Series program, and.or to register for an online mentorship session, click here.