Inaugural winners of the Australian Bee Tech Challenge announced


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Joining the global movement to adopt innovative technologies to safeguard bee populations around the world, AgriFutures Honey Bee and Pollination Program in partnership with the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) have announced LB AgTech, HiveKeepers and CRC for Honey Bee Products as the winners of the inaugural Bee Tech Challenge.  

Launched in April 2022, the pitch-style competition invited Australian startups and entrepreneurs to present ready-for-market products specifically designed to meet the needs of the honey bee and pollination industry in the key areas of hive health, biosecurity, hive safety, bushfire protection and preparedness.  

Applicants were assessed on their ability to provide easy to adopt technologies that offer immediate results for the 9000 commercial beekeepers operating across the country. Seven finalists were selected to present to a panel of industry leaders and 600 delegates at the 4th Australian Bee Congress which took part in Sydney earlier in the month.  

Acting CEO of AHBIC and commercial beekeeper, Danny Le Feuvre hopes all of the participating startups will go on to provide some relief to the honey and pollination sectors after three years of climatic challenges. 

“With a significant proportion of our industry still reeling from the damaging Black Summer Bushfires and recent flooding events across the Eastern sea-board, initiatives such as the Bee Tech Challenge allow us to identify innovative ways of safeguarding our businesses”, Mr Le Feuvre explained. 

“Australia’s honey and pollination industry is internationally recognised for its high quality products and national hive health practices. Our priority is to maintain this reputation by supporting beekeepers and facilitating opportunities for the sector to grow ”, he said.  

Following a week of deliberations and vote counting, the winners were announced via the AgriFutures communication channels earlier this morning. All three startups utilise remote-sensing technologies to assist beekeepers and consumers at varying stages in the supply chain.  

“Remote-sensing technologies play a key role in a broad range of industries and it’s really exciting to see how it can be adapted to strengthen our honey bee industries in such a variety of ways”, said AgriFutures Honey Bee and Pollination Program Manager Annelies McGaw.  

“Each year pollinators contribute more than $100 million to the Australian economy and play a crucial role in the productivity of our agricultural sectors. The Bee Tech Challenge is part of our ongoing commitment to foster a thriving ag-tech ecosystem to further support and increase the capacity of our primary industries”, Ms McGaw explained.  

The three winning startups will receive two complimentary tickets to the evokeAG 2023, Asia Pacific’s premier agrifood tech event taking place on 21-22 February 2023 in Adelaide where they will be granted the opportunity to meet with potential investors, industry leaders, researchers, and agribusinesses from across the region. 

AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program received a grant from the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to support the industry’s recovery following the 2019/20 bushfires. For more information about the Bee Tech Challenge, visit the AgriFutures Australia website.  

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