Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Fieldays: Research help needed for small players

Small innovative companies need access to funding and research facilities, Quin Environmentals director Dr Bert Quin says.

A panel of chief executives discussed the key to delivering innovations and the challenges involved at the Agribusiness Innovation and Growth 2013 event on Tuesday night, on the eve of Fieldays.

Big agricultural companies dominated the market and made it difficult for little companies in NZ to get the necessary ties with crown research institutes and universities to compete for money and resources, Quin said.

“I would like to see the situation change over time to make it easier for smaller companies to get access at a reasonable price to research. I think there is a big challenge there.”

BBC Technologies chief executive Geoff Furniss agreed he had found it difficult to work with universities on helping develop his automated fruit processing technology.

“We’ve tried a number of times to work with universities and sometimes found them a little bit complicated to try and get things organised.”

CytonomeST chief executive Dr John Sharpe said students are a fantastic and often available resource and encouraged companies to contact universities to ask for help with research.

Sharpe, who is also chief executive of an early-stage Waikato company developing sensor technologies with global applications, said NZ needed to keep working on its innovative number 8 wire edge to remain competitive in the global market.

“We’ve got a fabulous innovation system that exists in NZ.

“We need to be careful we don’t lose the innovative edge we’ve had over the years.”

NZers needed to think really creatively, not just about innovative products but also business practices and models.

NZ needs to come up with novel solutions to developing businesses and think on a bigger scale, Sharpe said.

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