Thursday, December 7, 2023

Fieldays awards fuelled by Kiwi ingenuity

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The Fieldays Innovation Awards are a popular draw and a globally celebrated initiative.
The criteria for the awards have been adjusted this year, particularly for the Young Innovator and Growth & Scale categories.
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Research and product development are long-term investments and Fieldays has been the platform for launching innovations in New Zealand for more than 54 years. 

While most economists predict a downturn this year, if history repeats itself, the silver lining is that innovation thrives as a solution to challenging environments. 

Fieldays programme manager Steve Chappell said they predict a high calibre of entries this year. 

“We expect to see development in all areas, especially agritech, autonomous systems, software developments, robotics in manufacturing and solving worker shortages” he said. 

“Innovation in these areas usually reflects the climate we are in, and often we see companies needing to think smarter and be more efficient when times are harder. Data collection and measuring tools, management apps, and a big focus on environmental reporting are also topical currently.” 

Fieldays Innovation Awards represent the innovation life cycle in three categories: Prototype, Early-Stage, and Growth & Scale. Special recognition is also given to younger innovators, with an award for the Fieldays Young Innovator of the year award.

“The short turnaround since Fieldays 2022 means this year’s entries will really be hot of the press. We expect entries from all around the world in the food and fibre sector.”

The Fieldays Innovation Awards are an opportunity to showcase an idea or innovation, receive feedback from Fieldays visitors, and connect with potential partners, distributors, investors and the New Zealand innovation ecosystem.

Building on a similar format from 2022, the following criteria have been altered: 

• The Young Innovator Award is now for entrants 19 years and under. Fieldays wants to showcase the amazing innovations coming from school-age entrants. “So many great ideas are coming through that deserve acknowledgment, and we expect a lot of competition,” Chappell said. 

• The Growth & Scale category is now for innovations commercialised in the past four years and for sale in at least two countries, one of which must be New Zealand. 

• Entrants can now add additional information to their entry once it is accepted into the awards to ensure the judges have the most up-to-date information.

• A new rotation system will be introduced to the awards judging panel, with new judges joining the existing broad range of experts from across the innovation ecosystem.

“These changes will continue to ensure the Fieldays Innovation Hub will again be buzzing as the centre of the Innovation ecosystem at Fieldays,” Chappell said. 

Entrants can also display their innovations around Fieldays on their sites, as part of the Fieldays Innovation Trail on the Fieldays App.

Fieldays Innovation Awards are supported again by sponsors Massey University, Vodafone, Amazon Web Services, Gait International, King St. Advertising, NZME, Sprout Agritech, Blender Design, and Soda Inc. These sponsors combine to provide over $60,000 worth of cash, support and promotion, from expert advice and product design and development to marketing and media support, all designed to help the winners grow and develop their product.