•Women are driving the creation of digital technology in the food industry
•Australia’s Food industry is more valuable than mining
•Huge potential for economic growth: technology start-ups could add $100 billion to Australia’s GDP*
Hackfood 2015 Liz Kaelin, Monica Wulf, Natia English With the future of Australia’s mining industry beginning to fade, a growing community of young entrepreneurs see a very bright future for Australia’s food industry.
“We need to build off our strength in the food industry and create unique technology that modernises and grows this industry rather than worrying so much about the mining industry,” says Liz Kaelin, who was recently named one of the Australia’s Top 50 Female Entrepreneurs under 40 by StartUp Daily.
Kaelin says few Australians know the food industry is far larger than the mining industry in revenue ($237B vs.$196B. References at end).
“Australia is a world leader in food production and we’re also quick adopters of new technology. We are in the perfect position to use our knowledge of food and passion for technology to create innovations that dramatically change the food industry in the same way as Netflix changed TV and Uber changed transport,” said Kaelin.
Kaelin founded the Telstra-backed, online portal called YouChews. It connects Australia’s many small local food businesses such as cafes and market stalls with people and businesses looking for catering. Her company is just one example of how technology is improving the food industry. Others include Yelp and OzHarvest’s food collection App.
Kaelin and a group of other mostly female ‘foodies’ want to encourage young Australian food entrepreneurs to work together. That’s why they are volunteering their time to organise Australia’s first food industry ‘hackathon.’ The event, called #HackFood, is being sponsored, in part by Simplot Foods, which will soon launch a ‘food technology incubator.’ The event will be held 6-8 November at Fishburners, the well-known Sydney innovation and start-up hub.
A hackathon is a competition for programmers, designers, entrepreneurs and marketers interested in creating digital solutions to problems facing an industry or business. #HackFood will focus on seven challenges facing the food industry. Over the weekend participants will work together with mentors and develop potential solutions that will then be judged at the end by a panel of experts. The winner will then be given the opportunity to pitch their idea to a panel of investors to receive $30,000 in seed funding and be involved in the Simplot Food Innovation Program.
Unlike most hackathons which are dominated by men, #HackFood is attracting strong interest from female participants. Georgia Lienemann, a Sydney-based nutritionist and founder of the website www.stiringchange.com, is one of those attending.
“My personal mission in life is to help people make better food choices and live a longer and happier life. For the last three years I’ve run a program called What to Eat which teaches people to eat healthier and connects them with a network of local producers of high quality food. I’m attending the hackathon because we have received a lot of interest in the program from overseas. We want to move the program online so it can be used and replicated by other nutritionists and food educators around the world,” says Lienemann.
Well-known farmers’ advocate, Victorian Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie says Australia’s future depends on passionate entrepreneurs like Liz Kaelin and Georgia Lienemann. McKenzie will represent the government at #HackFood as one of the judges.
“In order to secure Australia’s economy we absolutely must encourage our young entrepreneurs to think big and create the jobs of the future. It is incredibly encouraging to see so many young women building on Australia’s credibility as a food leader and developing new technologies to help the food industry prosper in a digital economy,” said Senator McKenzie, who says the #HackFood event aligns perfectly with the Australian government’s support of innovation.
#HackFood organisers are inviting anyone interested in the food industry and in developing new technology to register online and participate in the event: www.hackfood.com.au
What: Up to 100 passionate ‘foodie-prenuers’ will pitch ideas and then spend the weekend working together to develop the best digital solutions to solve seven core challenges facing the food industry
When: 6-8 Nov (starts with 30 second pitches from entrepreneurs on Friday evening)
Where: Fishburners, Australia’s leading technology and innovation ‘hub.’ 608 Harris St, Ultimo
Info: Those interested in taking part or observing can visit: www.hackfood.com.au
Seven Challenges Facing the Food Industry to be ‘hacked’ at #HackFood
2.Getting to Market
5.Improving Agribusiness (food production)
Technology start-ups could add $100B to Australia’s GDP
Erik Denison, HackFood
Volunteer Media Relations Manager
p. 0400 996 560 e. firstname.lastname@example.org