By Andrew Spence
A business incubator aimed specifically at startups in the Ag Tech, food and wine sectors has been launched in South Australia by the University of Adelaide.
ThincLab Waite is the only incubator dedicated to startups in the agtech, food innovation and wine sectors in South Australia. It joins the university’s stable of innovation hubs, which started with ThincLab Adelaide in July 2017 and has since expanded to include ThincLab Châlons and ThincLab Singapore.
The new incubator program so far has 18 members including Mister RYE, which is developing an organic, plant-based drinking straw and activated carbon producer ByGen Pty Ltd.
University of Adelaide Pro Vice-Chancellor Entrepreneurship Professor Noel Lindsay said ThincLab Waite would bring together students, researchers, industry and government with the shared goal of addressing the grand challenges of food security and sustainability.
“The South Australian agtech, food and wine sector is of crucial importance to our state but faces significant challenges that will require innovative solutions,” Professor Lindsay said.
“We also connect South Australian startups with the agtech and food innovation ecosystem of the world; with ThincLab Singapore well placed to promote connections to the growing focus in Singapore on food innovation and food security, and through ThincLab Châlons, based in the Grand Est Agricultural Region of France and connected to the European sector.”
As its name suggests, the incubator is located at the university’s Waite Campus, 7km southeast of the centre of Adelaide.
The campus has the largest concentration of research expertise in the Southern Hemisphere in plant, food and agricultural sciences and hosts nationally significant research organisations including CSIRO, Australian Grain Technologies and The Australian Wine Research Institute.
The University of Adelaide has targeted agrifood and wine as an industry engagement priority and last month entered into a partnership with the South Australian government in a bid to become a global leader in agtech and dryland agriculture.
Agriculture is South Australia’s largest industry, contributing almost $20 billion to the state’s economy and supporting 152,000 jobs in the 2017/18 financial year. The state’s premium food and wine is exported around the world.
ThincLab Waite will utilise a newly renovated space at the Waite campus that gives members access to office space, meeting rooms and helps connect them with a network of industry mentors and coaches, investors, researchers and other organisations in the sector.
Picture: Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni launching ThincLab Waite at the University of Adelaide this week.