(6 June, 2018) Helping local food and agribusiness operators to do business on the world stage is one of the goals of the Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN), a local not-for-profit, industry-led cluster.
In an announcement made today by Food Innovation Australia Ltd (FIAL), FAN has been awarded $900,000 over the next three years through the FIAL Cluster Programme. This first-of-its-kind programme provides matched funding to support new and existing clusters in their quest to address a common purpose they otherwise could not solve on their own.
The funding will help FAN with improving capabilities to engage with national and international markets and global supply chains.
“We’re delighted to go on this journey, guide and support the winners to solve common challenges, innovate, and grow the competitive advantage of their regions” said Peter Schutz, FIAL’s Chairman.
They were one of only four cluster organisations in Australia to receive funding in this inaugural national Cluster Programme.
“We are absolutely delighted that our submission has been successful”, General Manager, Emma Greenhatch said.
“In 2017, the food and agribusiness industry in the Sunshine Coast region was valued at $700m, which was an increase of $30m on 2016. It also directly employs around 5,000 people.
“This funding will allow us increase this to $1b by 2022 and see exports double to $130m in the same period.”
Today’s announcement was made at the TCI Oceania Clusters Event, which is being hosted on the Sunshine Coast with the full support of the Sunshine Coast Council. “The conference is looking at how regional clusters can help drive economic development, with the Food and Agribusiness Network a prime example of the benefits derived from industry sectors working collaboratively”, Cr Steve Robinson said.
Co-Founder and Chair of FAN, Jacqui Wilson-Smith said this funding will have far reaching consequences, “FAN believes it can create a sustainable, industry-led cluster model that pivots around a collaborative approach to addressing shared challenges and opportunities. This could be replicated in other regions around Australia and has the potential to become an Australian best-practice model for cluster development.”
This funding will allow FAN to expand its programs and services for its members and create a sustainable, industry-led cluster business model.
“Food businesses trying to expand into national and international markets all face similar challenges including consumer insights, distribution, marketing and understanding the sales channels. We are working with our members to find solutions that will take their business to a whole new level and help them to scale quickly.”
There are many local businesses already reaping the rewards from their collaboration with other FAN members, such as Kenilworth Dairies, Green Valley Fingerlimes, QCamel, KOKOPOD Chocolate and Montville Coffee.
These local businesses choose the Greater Sunshine Coast region as the headquarters for their business and many have moved here after identifying the region as leading the way with its supportive, collaborative and entrepreneurial business community.
“By facilitating a collective response to the challenges and opportunities industry is facing, FAN can support its members to be more future focused, to increase their operational efficiencies and to develop a culture of collaboration and innovation.”
With the new airport opening up incredible opportunities for the Greater Sunshine Coast region, this funding will ensure that FAN members are ready to take full advantage of the many opportunities that will be created to get our local produce onto the plates and into stores interstate and overseas and see our food businesses shine on the world stage like never before.
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Emma Greenhatch at Food & Agribusiness Network or email at [email protected]