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Westpac is looking for start-ups to help Australia move from the mining boom to a dining boom [VIDEO]


Westpac is calling on start-ups and agribusiness entrepreneurs to develop new ideas to revolutionise Australia’s agricultural sector as part of a competition called the Westpac Innovation Challenge.

The entrepreneur that creates the most useful and innovative digital solution for Westpac’s agribusiness customers will walk away with a $40,000 prize. Ka-ching!

The winner will also receive a six-month placement in BlueChilli’s start-up accelerator program, which could easily bring with it some further investment opportunities.

This agribusiness themed round of the challenge was announced by Westpac National Agribusiness Manager, Stephen Hannan, recently at the Westpac and Future Farmers Network event in Rockhampton held during ‘Beef Week 2015’.

Agriculture is hungry for innovation

Australia’s agricultural industry is the backbone of this country. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2012-13 the gross value of total Australian agricultural production was $48 billion, an increase of 3 per cent from 2011-12.

Hannan said he hoped the Westpac Innovation Challenge would uncover ideas to transform the lives and businesses of farmers and the communities that support them.

“Our customers have told me their biggest focus is ensuring the long-term sustainability of their businesses and the primary industries they work in,” he revealed.

“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.”

“I encourage any start-up with innovative ideas to help our farmers to enter the Challenge. We are looking for leading edge, future-ready ideas,” said Westpac Group Head of Innovation, Ian Hill. “No idea is too big or too small.”

The challenge is open to any Australian resident as long as you have either have an existing early-stage venture or a new concept that can help Westpac’s agribusiness customers prosper and grow.

A great start-up opportunity

BlueChilli founder and CEO, Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin pointed out that the challenge was a great opportunity to advance the development of new business services in the marketplace.

This round of the Westpac Innovation Challenge follows the successful inaugural one held between September and November last year which focused on real estate.

After receiving more than 100 applications, five finalists were selected to present their business pitches to Westpac and BlueChilli at an event in Sydney in November.

The winner of the inaugural round – Josh Rowe CEO of realAs – used the $40,000 prize money to develop a new realAs mobile app for Android.

Having benefitted from BlueChilli’s start-up accelerator program, Rowe is now working with Westpac on initiatives that leverage the realAs sales prediction tool for the benefit of Westpac customers.

Applications for this round open on Tuesday 23 June and close on Sunday 2 August 2015. Meanwhile, check out Rowe’s winning pitch below.