The program supporting female entrepreneurs to bring their innovative agtech solutions to life

The program supporting female entrepreneurs to bring their innovative agtech solutions to life

women in agtech

The agriculture sector faces a range of mounting challenges. From labour shortages and global supply chain pressure, to managing the impacts of climate variability. New ideas and innovative solutions are vital to ensure the industry can thrive amid the uncertainty.

Mother-daughter duo Dr Christine Pitt and Skye Raward established Farmers2Founders in 2018 with a vision to put producers at the centre of innovation in agriculture and help solve some of the challenges facing the sector.

They’ve also launched a women-specific program, supporting female entrepreneurs with a technology idea or solution for agriculture. TEKWOMEN Victoria, a pre-accelerator program for female entrepreneurs, is currently inviting women to apply.

Speaking to Women’s Agenda, Raward said they had pinpointed a significant gap in funding for female-led startups, despite the evidence showing the remarkable success of female entrepreneurs in the agtech sector. As Raward shares, women are uniquely placed to offer solutions to some of the most pressing issues in agriculture.

“Our accelerator program is committed to addressing this challenge with a female-led approach, featuring experienced female mentors and coaches, along with the active participation of female founders,” Raward said. 

“We understand the broader issues contributing to women’s lack of confidence in entering male-dominated fields, especially in tech and farming. Our program will not only cover the standard topics but also incorporate additional elements specifically designed to foster confidence, focusing on nuanced areas to empower women in these industries.”

Raward said Farmers2Founders has supported over 250 early-stage startups and over 90 scale-ups, seeing exceptional success with some raising investments in the millions. 

“We have noted that the most successful startups are led by a diverse team – diversity drives innovation,” she said. 

Skye Raward, co-founder of Farmers2Founders

Jessica Brunner, founder of The Bee Buddy, is one entrepreneur who has benefited from participation in the program for women.

The Bee Buddy recently launched at the Singaporean Food and Agritech Conference and is revolutionising the inspection and extraction process of beekeeping, ensuring a safer and more efficient practice. Her participation in the pre-accelerator program has been invaluable, she says. 

“The most valuable things were the network of support, both from the super experienced and knowledgeable Farmers2Founders team, as well as the amazing other entrepreneurs in the group, the opportunity to validate of my idea and understanding the commercialisation process and options, and being kept on track with tasks and timetables. I even won and R&D Grant which I hadn’t even known was available to me!” she told Women’s Agenda

Brunner said the Farmers2Founder program helped her to streamline her idea, focus on design and her minimum viable product, as well as challenge all of her exisiting business perceptions. 

Brunner says that women in agtech often don’t get given the same floor time as men, or necessarily have the time and space to focus on their project and commit to moving it forward. 

“Women in particular have a lot of balls juggling so having the mental space to be able to sit and commit is one of the biggest challenges – I definitely found Faremrs2Founders provided that for me,” she said. 

“I also feel that being selected and involved with Farmers2Founders gave me and my idea validity in others eyes. There was a sense of ‘well if she’s been selected and invested in then it must be a real project and not just some little hobby’.”

Feature Image: Jessica Brunner, founder of The Bee Buddy.


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