Up to $20,000 is available to support farmers or individuals working in agriculture and aquaculture with scholarships to pursue innovation in these sectors.

 

Agriculture and Aquaculture Entrepreneurship Program

The Agriculture and Aquaculture Entrepreneurship Program is a scholarship program that provides farmers or individuals working in agriculture and aquaculture in WA to give them the opportunity to learn about innovation from others through travel and training.

 

Background

The Agriculture and Aquaculture Entrepreneurship Program is part of the $3.41 million Science and Agribusiness Connect initiative and is supported through Royalties for Regions. The Entrepreneurship Program is run by the Western Australian (WA) Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and
Innovation (JTSI).

 

Objectives

The Entrepreneurship Program is one of three programs that make up the Science and Agribusiness Connect initiative, along with the Agriculture and Food Fellowship Program and a Tertiary Program. Each of the three programs is designed to:

  • Build the capability of the agricultural science sector in Western Australia.
  • Improve agriculture practices in Western Australia.
  • Develop Western Australia’s research excellence in agricultural science.

The way that the Entrepreneurship Program achieves these outcomes is by encouraging WA farmers and other innovators to pursue new ideas, inventions, technology or practices through travel and other learning. Farmers can use the scholarship funding to get exposure to best practice and to share it with other parts of their industry. In the long run the Entrepreneurship Program will contribute to competitive agricultural businesses and supply chains, more jobs in the sector and better career prospects for people living in regional areas.

 

Funding

The Entrepreneurship Program offers scholarships worth up to $20,000 to Western Australian farmers or individuals working in agriculture and aquaculture to pursue innovation in these sectors. There is one competitive round of scholarships offered each year for four years from 2016 to 2019.

 

Eligible Projects

Activities that can be funded through an entrepreneurship scholarship:

  • Activities designed to help you learn about an area of innovation
    • Travel – Limited to $10,000 per person travelling.
    • Study and learning outside WA
    • Local learning – Limited to $5,000.
  • Activities that help with local application of the innovation
    • Trials, local development and/or testing – this is limited to $10,000.
    • Sharing with the sector – This is limited to $2,000.
  • Activities to help you meet your agreement with JTSI
    • Report or video – This is limited to $1,000 in total.

Note: entrepreneur and staff salaries (including contractors) cannot be claimed towards any activity.

 

Eligible Applicants

Applicants will be considered if they are working in the agriculture or aquaculture sectors as:

  • farmers/owners, farm managers or farm employees;
  • researchers and innovators;
  • agriculture and aquaculture service providers;
  • agribusiness and aquaculture consultants; or
  • employees of grower groups and aquaculture associations.

Preference may be given to applications from regional Western Australia, however, applicants from the Perth metropolitan area will be considered as long as their application demonstrates a benefit to regional WA and the sector.

 

Timing

Applications close 28 April 2019.

 

Round 3 Recipients 2018

  • Jonathan Bilton from Athair Aquaculture Pty Ltd will travel with Glenn Dibbin and Roger Barnard to NSW to access leading expertise in bivalve culture, and will work with experts to identify Western Australian sites and methods for cultivating Doughboy scallops, a local species that has good potential for aquaculture. They will record their learnings in a report that will be available to other Western Australian farmers who are interested in growing the Doughboy scallops.
  • Dr Sofie de Meyer from MaldiiD Pty Ltd will visit inoculant manufacturing companies and quality control laboratories in Canada, USA, South America and Europe to access international expertise to build a prototype for an inoculant quality test. This quality test will help farmers to know quickly and reliably if their inoculant is of good quality before they use it on their legume crops. Sofie will share the science through research publications and directly with Western Australian industry, including growers.
  • Robert Kelly from Livestock Systems Pty Ltd will travel to the eastern states in Australia to identify interstate best practices for buying livestock, which will be used to further develop an online platform for the WA wool and meat supply chain, including farmers. The prototype for the platform will be developed with input from Western Australian industry.
  • Kelly Pearce will travel nationally and internationally to seek out data integration and farm business intelligence experts to help with the development of a data integration platform for Western Australian farmers. Kelly is looking for new ways to bring together farm financial, paddock records, market information, weather, inventory and historical farm data to drive realtime business intelligence. This will help farmers to make better decisions and improve farm efficiency and profitability.
  • Adam Wilson from Great Southern Truffles will seek out experts in key European truffle production markets, to find better ways to create value-added products with truffles, particularly through preservation techniques like canning, blast freezing and freeze-drying, flavour manufacturing and new truffle products. Western Australian truffle farmers are key producers of the Black Winter Truffle ‘Tuber melanosporum Vitt.’, which is suited to the climate of the southern forests. Adam will work with Western AustralianA farmers to share best practice techniques in truffle processing and value-adding to support a more profitable local industry.
  • Luke Wheat from Future Green Solutions Pty Ltd will travel to Europe to seek out the expertise needed for commercial scale black soldier fly farming and the production of proteins and oils for stock feed. Luke will investigate separation technologies, best practice insect husbandry and packaging methods. Luke will work with Western Ausatralian industry associations, universities, growers and farmers to share knowledge on black soldier fly farming, which may offer horticulture and agriculture businesses with a new method for treating waste streams.

 

Round 2 Recipients 2017

Four scholarships were awarded in the second round of the Program as follows:

  • Justine Arnold from Indian Ocean Fresh Australia will lead a small team of experts on a “Knowledge Quest” to Japan to access the knowledge of Japanese kingfish farmers and researchers, their management strategies and techniques developed for warm water kingfish culture and to gain insights into skills and techniques required for the rapidly emerging aquaculture industry in WA.
  • Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation and Maxima Pearling Company have commenced a research and development project to trial rock oyster production in the Pilbara. The award will enable travel to established edible oyster production areas in South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania to build networks and facilitate technology transfer from these areas to the local environment in the Pilbara.
  • Tim Hyde and Rod Campbell of Indicina Pty Ltd to travel to Queensland, New South Wales and the United States of America to gain an understanding of the Agtech sector with regard to water and nutrient management requirements of various agricultural industries and the potential integration of its technology SWAN System. The trip will also be an opportunity to discuss business arrangements with potential resellers and to investigate data synergies with in field hardware and the capacity to upload data onto SWAN System.
  • Mr Anthony Quinlan of Soil Dynamics to travel to Spain to investigate and develop a collaboration with the production company who will manufacture prototypes of micro fibre bands for use in food crop protection, and to China to investigate impregnation of the micro fibres with organic insecticides to improve efficacy of the product.

All of the successful applicants will return to Western Australia to share their experiences and knowledge within their sector and regional WA.

 

Round 1 Recipients 2016

Four scholarships were awarded in the inaugural round of the Program to:

  • Steve Carr to travel to South Africa to study new practices and opportunities for lime incorporation to manage sub-soil acidity.
  • Julian Sharp to travel to Victoria to visit growers and contacts along the shiitake supply chain to investigate opportunities to establish a traditional log grown shiitake mushroom industry in the South West region.
  • Chris Witt to travel to the United States of America and Europe to further develop his drone technology for use in broadacre crop production.
  • John Guest to travel overseas to further his research and understanding of opportunities for increasing marron production on commercial farms.

All of the successful applicants will return to Western Australia to share their experiences and knowledge within their sector and regional WA.

 

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