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Peter Wren-Hilton

New Zealand prepares to take large delegation of agritech companies to evokeAG

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Updated 17 February: With less than 24 hours to go, almost 90 kiwis have now registered to attend the evokeAG conference. This is the largest single delegation of kiwi agritech delegates headed offshore for a major conference.

In less than two weeks, 60+ representatives from New Zealand’s agritech sector will have arrived in Melbourne for the inaugural evokeAG conference.

The conference has been organised by AgriFutures Australia, yet it has a strong trans-Tasman flavour. When John Harvey, AgriFutures Managing Director visited New Zealand in the middle of last year, the benefits of broadening the conference’s appeal became apparent. Today, the conference features several New Zealand speakers, with three early stage kiwi agritech companies pitching for investment capital from a number of global venture firms in the aptly named ‘Pitch Tent’ session.

The good news is that NZ Inc. will also be in town.

The New Zealand delegation is being supported by Callaghan Innovation, NZTE & MBIE. It’s great to see government agencies coming together to add real weight to the opportunity. Representatives from both MPI and NZVIF are also participating in the programme.

As part of the delegation’s preparation, Callaghan Innovation is hosting a one-day workshop next Tuesday. It will provide delegates with insights and thinking from some of New Zealand’s agritech business leaders who have already made the journey across the Tasman. A similar one-day workshop held last August prior to the 2018 Silicon Valley AgTech Immersion Program proved to be an invaluable opportunity to prepare the delegation for their time in the US.

To provide more value to the kiwis traveling to Melbourne, a new Agritech Immersion Program has been established with the support of Invest Victoria. This will see NZ delegates taking part in farm visits as well as meeting different local agritech players in the two days around the conference. Special mention and thanks to Simon Yarrow at Callaghan Innovation and Angela Traill from NZTE who have coordinated this programme.

I am fortunate to have sat on the evokeAG conference steering committee since the middle of last year. Working with the event organisers & other steering committee members has provided me with a personal insight into some of the real opportunity that increased collaboration with the Australian agritech ecosystem can bring.

Agritech New Zealand is proud to be associated with the evokeAG conference. You will be able to find us in the NZ Corporate Lounge, adjacent to main conference hall at the Royal Exhibition Building. During the two-day event (19 & 20 February), we will be posting regular updates via this website and on our social media platforms. It’s going to be a fascinating week and one which will lift the profile of some of New Zealand’s most exciting and promising agritech companies.

Building bridges and helping scale our emerging agritech ecosystem in international markets is a core part of Agritech New Zealand’s DNA. evokeAG is the first major highlight of an exciting program of events for New Zealand’s agritech sector in 2019. We hope to meet you there.

Peter Wren-Hilton Peter is Executive Director of Agritech New Zealand and founder of Wharf42 in Tauranga. Peter helps organise major agritech conferences in New Zealand and offshore and connects early stage New Zealand agritech companies with international markets.