DPIRD Curtin Ignition scholarships continue to support grains industry innovations

DPIRD's Alex Douglas congratulates recipients Louise Edmonds and Bronwyn Kemp on receiving a Curtin Ignition 2019 Scholarship from the department to attend the business innovation program run by Curtin University's Business School.
DPIRD's Alex Douglas congratulates recipients Louise Edmonds and Bronwyn Kemp on receiving a Curtin Ignition 2019 Scholarship from the department to attend the business innovation program run by Curtin University's Business School.

A Wheatbelt carbon farming entrepreneur has attended the recent Curtin Ignition innovation accelerator program, courtesy of a scholarship from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

This is the fourth year the scholarships have been awarded to attend the prestigious program run by the Curtin Business School, as part of a commitment to encourage innovation and business opportunities in the grains industry.

Bronnie Kemp intends to use the experience to help scale up her business, which uses software to adapt portable spectrometry equipment to undertake instant, in-field soil and tissue analysis to aid crop profitability.

"I've really enjoyed the course, particularly the networking opportunities and feedback received from like-minded, passionate entrepreneurs," Ms Kemp said.

"It's helped me to better understand how to optimise my business and take the next step toward making my techniques available to the Australian agricultural industry."

Louise Edmonds will use her experience at Curtin Ignition to progress her plans for a commercial pilot to overcome barriers to the development of the carbon farming market in WA agricultural systems.

"It has been a great opportunity to put some of my business assumptions and ideas through the mill and past some seasoned entrepreneurs and investors," she said.

"I'm really excited about the future and implementing what I've learned from the course to run a four year training program in regenerative management for about 60 farmers from across the Wheatbelt to prove the capacity of WA soils to store carbon."

The women join an expanding alumni of previous recipients who have pursued business opportunities in the grains industry, including ag-tech innovations, new grains-based food creations and a bioconversion system.

Department research officer Alex Douglas said the department's investment in the Curtin Ignition program scholarships had helped to encourage alternative business opportunities in the WA grains industry.

"This year's recipients reflect a growing dependence on data-driven crop improvements in the commercial sector, as well as a growing interest in carbon farming opportunities," Ms Douglas said.

"These are exciting, emerging areas of the grains industry and I look forward to seeing how these new concepts develop and influence the broader grains value chain."

For more information about previous scholarships and the department's grains research visit agric.wa.gov.au