Stuart Kells, adjunct professor at La Trobe Business School, and Ian Gow, professor at Melbourne University, have won the 2018 Ashurst Business Literature Prize. Stuart accepted the Prize from keynote speaker Jillian Broadbent AC, Chancellor of the University of Wollongong, at the Awards dinner at Ashurst last week in Sydney.
The Ashurst Business Literature Prize is an annual award (worth A$30,000) established to encourage and recognise the highest standards of literary commentary on Australian business and financial affairs. The Prize is Australia’s most significant award for business writing and administered by the State Library of NSW.
“Professor Gow and I are delighted to be awarded the 2018 Ashurst Prize for the ‘Big Four’. We are grateful to the panel of judges, Ashurst Australia and the State Library of New South Wales for this recognition of our research, and we also thank La Trobe University Press for bringing our work to a wide audience.”
judging panel selected The Big Four as the winner from a shortlist of five. The
shortlisted works were The Price of Fortune by Damon Kitney, Swanston: Merchant Statesman by Eleanor
Robin, Elizabeth Macarthur: A Life at the
Edge of the World by Michelle Scott Tucker and The Lives of Brian by Brian Sherman and AM Jonson.
The Big Four
Stuart and Ian’s book, The Big Four: The Curious Past and Perilous Future of the Global Accounting Monopoly, by La Trobe University Press, looks at the past, present and (uncertain) future of the four largest accounting and audit firms (KPMG, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers).
“The Big Four traces the development of accounting practice and practices from the Renaissance and the Medici Bank through the evolution of the large firms to the current day, including their engagement with China. The authors then look to the future and ask: are these firms sufficiently robust and resilient to survive the challenges that confront them going forward?”
Richard Fisher AM, chair of the judging panel (Ashurst)
Stuart Kells is Adjunct Professor in the La Trobe Business School. His history on Penguin Books, Penguin and the Lane Brothers, won the 2015 Ashurst Business Literature Prize. His book The Library, was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award (non-fiction) and the NSW Premier’s History Award (general history). - Visit Stuart Kells’ website here. - Get the book here.
In this presentation, Joe Manariti, General Manager Melbourne and Avocado Category at LaManna Premier Group (LPG), discusses the challenges of managing consumer expectations and the quality of farm management across the agribusiness value chain.
Prior to joining LPG, Joe completed his
Economics and Finance Degree at RMIT University, managed his family’s fresh
produce retail business at the Queen Victoria Market and worked 3 years in
financial planning. Joe joined LPG in 2011 in the role of Market Sales Manager
at the Footscray Market, has progressed through the organisation, and now
manages the Melbourne business. He is responsible for market sales and
operations as well as two distribution centres in Footscray and
Yarraville. Joe is also responsible for LPG’s national avocado
supply and sales program, national service provision, ripening and supply
services. In March 2016, Joe was elected Advisory Board Member of the Melbourne
Search for efficiency
Joe’s presentation offers insights to
innovation and research into diseases for different fruit and vegetable
varieties from LPG experience. LPG
is one of Australia’s largest fresh produce supply-chain companies and invests
heavily in research and development, funding new frontiers in horticulture,
packaging and cold transport and distribution. In his presentation, Joe emphasises
the need to continue to search for efficiencies, which get products to
consumers in the shortest possible time and in the best condition. In addition,
Joe stresses the importance of gathering and analysing data to understand how
the growing and harvest processes, transportation and retailers experiences
affect consumer choices.
Please enjoy Joe’s presentation.
This blog is part of the LBS Innovation Series, developed by Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice in Economics at La Trobe Business School.
Over the summer, two LBS students, Preet Kaur and Shaun Doolan, took part in SummerTech Live, a program organised by the State Government of Victoria that allows students to work on real-life projects while being mentored by Victorian businesses. Last month, during the SummerTech Live 2019 Showcase at the Victorian Government Investment Centre they presented their successful projects.
What is SummerTech Live?
SummerTech Live matches Victorian small or medium enterprises (SMEs) with digital needs to tertiary students, to solve their technology problems and support digital transformation. The business first identifies a business tech problem and is then matched with an innovative tertiary student who is assisted by an academic supervisor. For businesses it is an opportunity to accelerate technology adoption and innovation; build digital capability and improve competitiveness through accessing educational supervisors and exceptional tertiary students. It also provides the opportunity to build relationships between businesses and educational partners for future collaboration. Students get the unique opportunity to develop their job-ready skills, work on real-world issues, increase their technical skills and assist to build the business’s digital capabilities. In addition, the program operates as a paid 10-12 studentship and students receive $4,500 for their work on the program.
La Trobe University participated in Round 3 (Summer 2018/2019) with five LTU students, all working with regional business partners. Two of these students were from LBS: Business Analytics student, Preet Kaur and Agribusiness student, Shaun Doolan, who was also the first Bendigo student to be selected for the program.
Both Preet and Shaun worked with AgriNous, based in Bendigo. AgriNous was founded in 2016 and is a transnational platform that facilitates real-time processing of Livestock sales. Their application is a mix of technology, customer service and industry insights. AgriNous won the 2018 Inventor of the Year at the Bendigo Inventor Awards (BIA) (read more here) and took part in the La Trobe Accelerator Program (LTAP); a 12-week program that provides education and mentoring to a varied range of entrepreneurs, as well as support services to accelerate the success of start-ups. Besides collaborating with LTU during SummerTech Live they have continued participation with the university through La Trobe’s Work Integrated Programs – across various disciplines.
What did our students do?
Preet’s project involved dashboard design on Amazon Web Services, Quick Insights and novel data modelling. Supported by her academic supervisor Dr Kok-Leong Ong, Preet conducted data model creation and data cleansing (by matching and validating data for clients to consolidate and remove duplicate information), but she also proposed data model modifications to meet future requirements, did management reporting for AgriNous and created user group-specific dashboards for stock agents, producers, buyers and the saleyard operator.
The project that Shaun worked on, supported by academic supervisor Earl Jobbing, consisted of providing analytical and technical writing support for product management and livestock industry insights. This included the design and execution of surveys and interviews to assist with the identification of problems and solutions for the producer, buyer and stock agent, but also process mapping, user story, acceptance criteria writing and wireframing. In addition, he had to develop document and design features, dashboards and prototypes to be considered for incorporating into the product offering. Ultimately, as a result of the successful project during SummerTech Live, AgriNous offered Shaun a part-time job!
While some forms of discrimination against women and girls are diminishing, gender inequality continues to hold women back and deprives them of basic rights and opportunities. Empowering women requires addressing structural issues such as unfair social norms and attitudes as well as developing progressive legal frameworks that promote equality between women and men (SDG Knowledge Platform, 2019).
Gender equality is a fundamental and inviolable human right. Yet women around the world continue to face significant economic, social, and legal barriers to equality. Women are more likely than men to be unemployed, to be overrepresented in low wage jobs, to hold fewer managerial, entrepreneurial and leadership positions, and on average, to only make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. In 18 countries, men can legally prevent their wives from working. Women continue to bear disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care work and often experience maternity-related discrimination. Women entrepreneurs also face particular challenges to building and growing their businesses including lack of access to financing and business networks. In fact, less than 1% of spending by large businesses on suppliers is earned by women-owned businesses (UNGC, 2018).
The focus of SDG 5
The aim of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls (SDG Knowledge Platform, 2019). The targets related to SDG5 are broad and include:
Ending discrimination, violence, harmful practices against women and children.
Ensuring full and active participation in decision-making in all spheres of work.
Providing universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.
Undertaking reforms to improve women’s’ access to economic resources, ownership and control.
Improving access to enabling technology.
Strengthening policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and empowerment.
Australia is Not Winning at Achieving Gender Equality
A recent report published by the Sustainable Development Institute on Australia’s progress on the SDGs shows that progress is being made in the areas of health and education, but not in terms of gender, climate change and housing affordability. In relation to SDG 5, the research found:
Only 11 women lead ASX200 companies.
Only 32% of Australian parliamentarians are female.
Women continue to face far greater economic insecurity than men. This is particularly evident at retirement, when women’s superannuation balances are just 42% that of men’s.
The gender pay gap has barely reduced in 20 years.
The burden of unpaid domestic duties still falls predominantly to women, with only 12% of men undertaking more than 15 hours of household chores each week, compared with 33% of women. In addition, the proportion of women and girls subjected to physical, sexual and psychological violence remains unacceptably high. Domestic and family violence remains the leading cause of death and disability for women aged 18 to 44.
LTU and SDG 5
“La Trobe is committed to achieving equality of opportunity in education and employment. We strive to create and support a safe, equal and inclusive community, where staff and students of all genders have equal access to power, resources and opportunities, and are treated with dignity, respect and fairness.”
La Trobe University has several initiatives that drive gender equality, including:
Workplace Gender Equality Agency – Employer of Choice: The University was awarded a second, consecutive prestigious citation from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) as an Employer of Choice for Gender. The citation recognises LTU’s efforts to support gender equality, including the development of a Women in Research Strategy, scholarships for undergraduate women supporting gender diversity and social inclusion, introduction of flexible workplace practices, access to child care support, and our proactive stance on violence against women prevention.
Women’s Academic Promotions Support Program: The program is designed to demystify the promotion process and provide peer support through senior mentors and mentor groups, has resulted of an increase in the number of academic promotion applications received from women.
Square the ledger: In its 50th year, La Trobe partnered with the Victorian Women’s Trust to embark on a project to ‘square the ledger’by documenting and celebrating the ordinary and extraordinary lives of women who have walked the halls of the University — as students, educators, and administrators.
Male Champions of Change: LTU’s Vice Chancellor, Professor John Dewar is a gender pay equity ambassador with WGEA, a member of the Male Champions of Change and Chair of the Women’s Economic Security Committee.
The fifth video in the SDG series was produced by our CR3+ Partner Audencia Business School from Nantes, France. In the video, Dr Céline Louche explains the objective of achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. She covers the facts and figures, the targets for SDG 5, and the role that business can play. Business can focus on women in leadership, equal remuneration for women and men, diversity and equal opportunities, childcare services and benefits, workplace violence, and harassment. Dr Louche also interviews Christine Naschberger, Professor of Management and Human Resources at Audencia Business School, on gender equality in the workplace, how gender inequality manifests itself in that workplace and the importance of networking.
Please enjoy the presentation.
If you would like access to the full video to use in your teaching, please contact Dr Swati Nagpal.
Mark Stone AM is Chief Executive Officer at Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and led the VCCI Agribusiness Taskforce, comprising of agribusiness representatives, academics and industry experts. In 2017, the VCCI Agribusiness Taskforce spent six months investigating the issues and opportunities facing the agribusiness sector in Victoria.
As Chief Executive of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mark leads Victoria’s most influential business organisation. He is also a director on the Board of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), an Australia Day Ambassador and Fellow of the Williamson Leadership program. Prior to his role at VCCI, Mark spent 12 years as the Chief Executive of Tourism Victoria. Prior to that role he enjoyed a 12-year stint as Chief Executive of Parks Victoria, which employs 1200 staff and has a $4 billion asset base. In 2016, Mark was awarded an Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Taskforce – findings
In his presentation, Mark discusses why innovation in food and agriculture is important, where there is room for improvement but also industry challenges including technology adoption, understanding international consumer preferences and public funding of research and development. One of the findings of the VCCI Agribusiness Taskforce is the need for a stronger focus on innovation and quality. This includes early adoption of new technologies, stronger networks, clusters and services to support collaboration and commercialising innovation and research.
“We cannot have young people growing up without the knowledge, skills and attitudes to be productive members of our society. Our societies cannot afford it. And neither can business. Business needs a creative, skilled, innovative workforce. … And investing in education creates a generation of skilled people who will have rising incomes and demands for products and services – creating new markets and new opportunities for growth… Corporate philanthropy is critical, but we need more companies to think about how their business policies and practices can impact education priorities. You understand investment. You focus on the bottom-line. You know the dividends of education for all.”
Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Since 2000, there has been enormous progress in achieving the target of universal primary education. Enrolment in primary education in developing countries has reached 91% in 2015 and the worldwide number of children out of school has dropped by almost half. However, more than half of children and adolescents worldwide are not meeting minimum proficiency standards in reading and mathematics. Especially in sub-Saharan Africa (41%), Northern Africa and Western Asia (52%), the participation rate in early childhood and primary education is low. A report from 2016 shows that in the least developed countries, only 34% of primary schools had electricity and less than 40% were equipped with basic handwashing facilities (SDG Goals Report, 2018).
The focus of SDG 4
The aim of sustainable development goal 4 (SDG 4) is to achieve inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Achieving this reaffirms the belief that education is one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for sustainable development. This goal ensures that all girls and boys complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030. It also aims to provide equal access to affordable vocational training, to eliminate gender and wealth disparities, and achieve universal access to a quality higher education (UNDP, 2019).
While education is the focus of SDG 4, it is closely interlinked with all the other SDGs and plays a crucial role in supporting their implementation. Evidence shows that higher levels of education have a profound effect on improving health outcomes (SDG 3). Providing quality education also opens the door to future job opportunities which can help reduce inequalities (SDG 5 and 10), alleviate poverty (SDG 1), drive economic growth (SDG 8), allow individuals to access basic amenities such as nutrition and sanitation (SDG 2 and 6), and contribute to building a more peaceful society (SDG 16) (UN Global Compact, 2019).
La Trobe Business School and SDG 4
La Trobe University was founded half a century ago to broaden participation in higher education and has done so for many thousands of students who would otherwise have been excluded from the opportunities provided by a quality university education.
Aligning with targets to achieve SDG 4, La Trobe Business School and the University more broadly have significant policies and programs that encourage and support an accessible, inclusive and equitable quality education for disadvantaged and vulnerable populations including people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, first in family, out-of-home care backgrounds (care leavers), refugee children and disadvantaged children from regional and rural areas. It is also significant to note that almost 50% of La Trobe Business School students are from a first in family background.
Thus, the La Trobe University motto “Qui cherche trouve” (Whoever seeks shall find) remains as relevant today in terms of accessibility to a high-quality tertiary education.
The development of the videos on the 17 sustainable development goals, showcased in this blog series, was a collaborative effort between LBS and three other business schools from around the world, or the CR3+ network. This CR3+ partnership is another way in which LBS is demonstrating its commitment to SDG 4. Namely, building our international networks and focusing on SDG 4 on a global scale through our research, teaching and outreach activities as part of the CR3+ network.
The fourth video is created by our CR3+ partner ISAE Brazilian Business School (ISAE). The video features Maria Gloss, director of Education and Culture Sector of the Hospital Pequeno Príncipe talking about education being the “raw material of life” and what education means to children in a hospital environment. The video also features Maria Silva, secretary of education of the municipality of Curitiba, the largest city in the Brazilian state of Paraná. Maria talks about some of the 206 actions, programs and projects the municipality is involved with and their connection to SDG 4.
Employment for individuals on the autism spectrum is an increasingly important societal issue. The unemployment rate for autistic individuals of working age is 31.6 per cent, which is over three times the rate of unemployment among people with a disability, and approximately six times that among people without a disability. Therefore, in 2017, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) 2017 launched its Rise@DHHS program.
Rise@DHHS is an award-winning program created by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with autism non-profit social enterprise Specialisterne Australia, as the State Government’s first attempt to provide leadership in its own employment practices by employing people on the autism spectrum. This pilot program has been evaluated by a team of researchers from La Trobe’s Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC) and LBS. The full report can be downloaded here.
Lead author Dr Rebecca Flower, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at OTARC, noted “The traditional job interview is a common barrier for people with autism, who may communicate differently to non-autistic people. Candidates in the Rise@DHHS program were given a chance to showcase their skills in a supportive environment, as opposed to talking about them.”
The research report summarises in-depth interviews with the eight people on the autism spectrum who were hired for the pilot program, as well as surveys and focus groups with co-workers and managers. The research identified the most successful aspects of the Rise@DHHS program, including changes to the recruitment, selection, and onboarding processes. Furthermore, focus groups with existing DHHS employees indicated that the program has had a positive impact on themselves as individuals, stating they felt like they had grown personally through their involvement with the initiative and were now mindful of things like clarity in communication.
The impact of employment on individuals
Most importantly, the research demonstrates the tremendous impact that employment has for individuals with autism. Prior to working as a Rise@DHHS employee, Adam Walton had spent long periods of time either unemployed, or in short-term, casual roles. When discussing the program, he noted:
“It’s been a lifechanging experience for me, being able to have a routine and more structure in my life. I feel like I’m finally contributing to society. I don’t feel like I’m a burden.”
The researchers identified several recommendations, including that workplaces need to prioritise diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. “The findings of this research align nicely with other studies, showing that it’s really all about understanding autism, supportive management, and including people. This is a great thing, not only for individuals with autism, but for the companies employing them,” Dr Flower said.
LBS researcher and study co-author Dr Jennifer Spoor points out that “employing people with autism often requires only small changes to management practices, such as making communication clear or being flexible about sound or lighting in the workplace, which often benefits all employees.”
Funding for the research was provided by DHHS and by an Engagement Income Growth Grant from LTU's School of Psychology and Public Health. More information on the program and the research can be found in the OTARC report here. You might also like LTU News’ article Workforce success for autistic employees.
The relationship between health and sustainable development is based on the premise that human beings are entitled to a healthy and productive life, in harmony with nature. It further recognizes that the goals of sustainable development can only be achieved in the absence of a high prevalence of debilitating diseases, while recognising that health gains for the whole population requires poverty eradication.
Significant strides have been made in improving health outcomes and life expectancy, however, people are still suffering needlessly from preventable diseases, and too many are dying prematurely. Progress has been uneven, both between and within countries. There is a 31-year gap between the countries with the shortest and longest life expectancies. At least 400 million people have no basic healthcare. More than one of every three women have experienced either physical or sexual violence at some point in their life. And, did you know that every 2 seconds someone aged 30 to 70 years dies prematurely from noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or cancer? (United Nations Development Program, 2019).
The focus of SDG 3
Overcoming disease and ill health will require concerted and sustained efforts, focusing on population groups and regions that have been neglected. The specific focus of sustainable development goal 3 is on reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health; infectious disease and non-communicable diseases, and; more efficient funding and access to health systems (UN Knowledge Platform, 2019). The targets related to this SDG seek to address some key areas such as:
Maternal and new born mortality
HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, Hepatitis B and waterborne diseases
Cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease
Suicide prevention, and mental health
Road traffic injuries
Hazardous chemicals and pollution
Vaccines and medicines access
Universal health coverage
All the while strengthening the institutions, structures and workforces that deliver these outcomes.
Australia’s Voluntary National Review and SDG 3
On 15 July 2018, Australia released the Voluntary National Review (VNR), which details Australia’s implementation of the SDGs since their adoption in 2016. The report addresses how Australia is performing against each of the goals and includes case studies of activities currently undertaken to achieve them. These activities include government initiatives and efforts from business, civil society, academia and youth. Australia’s Health 2016 summarises the key findings in relation to Australia’s performance against SDG 3:
“While there are positive signs and progress on many fronts, it is clear that Australia is not healthy in every way, and some patterns and trends give cause for concern. Chronic diseases… are becoming increasingly common in Australia due to a population that is increasing and ageing, aswell as to social and lifestyle changes… Presenting a broad picture of health status can mask the fact that some groups in our community are not faring as well, including people living in rural and remote areas, the lowest socioeconomic groups, Indigenous Australians and people living with disability.”
Australia – Building a healthy ecosystem
The Australian approach to this SDG is centred around the importance of healthy ecosystems and socio-economic factors to human health. For example, the Victorian Government, and particularly Parks Victoria, has worked closely with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and its member organisations to develop an integrated approach recognising the contribution of nature and parks to overall health and wellbeing, building on a message of “Healthy Parks, Healthy People”. Similarly, Government mental health programs are complemented by broad-based community initiatives such as beyondblue and QLife, a peer-supported telephone and web-based counselling and referral service for LGBTI people.
As a country, we also continue to make strides, and are a global leader in many areas of public health and medical research. For example, through the introduction of plain packaging for tobacco products and the development of the Human Papillomavirus vaccine. Advances in technology may also assist with addressing health needs in rural and remote communities through the introduction of digital technology, including mobile health, online health records and telehealth systems.
Further, in addressing health challenges and ‘leaving no one behind’, a strategy has been introduced that focuses on reducing the gap in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, which is caused by a mix of social factors, risk factors and differences in access to appropriate health care. And in 2019, the Government announced a royal commission into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with a disability, following similar royal commissions which examined the abuse of vulnerable people, including institutional responses to child sex abuse and aged care facilities.
The third video in the SDG series starts with Professor Suzanne Young who gives a broad overview of the third sustainable development goal and its associated targets. Suzanne explains the Every Woman Every Child movement, the infectious disease points but also mentions the high number of premature deaths because of non-communicable diseases, the increase in road traffic deaths and the lack of physicians in about 40% of countries.
The second part of the video shows Dr Emma Seal, a research fellow from the Centre for Sport and Social Impact at La Trobe Business School. Emma researches the relationship between sport and sustainable development but also provides examples of the Sport for Development project funded by the Australian government, such as the Girls Empowerment through Cricket initiative. The project included girls between the ages of 12 and 18 in Papua New Guinea and consisted of cricket participation and education sessions focusing on key health issues impacting these girls.
If you would like access to the full video to use in your teaching, please contact Dr Swati Nagpal.
This blog is part of the SDG Series, a series that focuses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, in the lead up to the CR3+ Conference in October 2019.
Georgia Le Vagueresse, an LBS student studying Event Management and Marketing, sat down with Business Newsroom to talk about her successful internship at Oh It’s Perfect; a platform for party planners to find, buy and sell lifestyle and party-related products and services.
How did you get your internship?
Initially, I knew I’d have to do my own research and reach out to companies to find something unique and interesting. I was really picky on where I wanted to apply as I truly wanted an all-round experience and not simply be there to fetch a coffee for the employees I was working with.
I found Oh It’s Perfect and sent them an email asking if they had an internship available. I explained that I was studying a Bachelor of Event Management and Marketing, and within a week I got a response asking if I’d like an interview!
It is really beneficial to start looking for an internship early in your degree as it takes a while to look around and find companies. I found it better to find companies that I was interested in and email them directly, rather than looking for an advertisement on Seek for example.
What did your internship involve?
Oh It’s Perfect is an organisation that is run mostly on social media. We provide inspiration for our community of followers by reposting other people’s styled parties on the company’s Instagram page, whilst also writing up blog posts on these parties. This way people who are interested can see the process behind the party and also see the vendors who aided in styling the event. That, in turn, gets the vendors’ business. We also create our own content and style our own shoots to create our own party content to publish.
I was responsible for writing up blog posts about parties submitted to us, but also sending direct messages (DM’s) to people to see if they would like to be featured on our blog. I’d get about 4 blog posts published a week, whilst additionally partially managing the company’s Instagram account.
About a month into my internship I began writing bigger pieces, like doing the write up on our own styled shoots, and I began emailing companies that would like to be featured in our styled shoots. This included sponsors and collaborations with brands.
How did the internship enrich your student experience?
There are so many things I learned. I gained valuable knowledge in my writing skills. I heavily developed a professional persona in how I interact with other businesses, and learnt the legal requirements a business has to go through when collaborating with others. My internship revolved around the marketing side, in particular social media marketing, which has sparked more of an interest to this side of my studying, as well as wanting to pursuit additional study of social media marketing in the future.
What is your next step?
I will be continuing on with Oh It’s Perfect as the Deputy Editor while finishing up my degree in a year’s time. After that, I hope to further my studies, especially in social media marketing.
Over the last years, the agtech sector has taken off with a proliferation of agtech and foodtech accelerators and incubators across the country. Agtech will become increasingly important in driving Australia’s agricultural innovation but is the sector ready? Andrea Koch discusses how Australia can grow its own agriculture innovation ecosystem.
Andrea Koch is the Principal of Andrea Koch Agtech, an agricultural technology strategy, marketing and product development consultancy. Andrea is also a director with the National Farmers Federation Board and SproutX, Austalia’s first agtech accelerator.
Andrea holds a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and a Master of Sustainable Development and is from a fifth-generation Australian farming family. Her family background and varied career allow her to bring together farming and digital technology. She sees a future where digital technology underpins our farming sector being the most competitive and innovative in the world.
The rural versus the urban world
Australia has a unique agricultural research, development and extension system and Andrea sees a divide between what she describes as the ‘rural world’ and the ‘urban world’. On the one side there are users of on-farm technology – that is the farmers and the ‘ecosystem’ of rural suppliers, advisors and consultants. On the other side, are the investment and finance community, tech developers, urban based research institutions and the agri-political groups. These worlds are somewhat disconnected, and Andrea presents some of the changes that are required.
Please enjoy Andrea’s presentation.
This blog is part of the LBS Innovation Series, developed by Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice in Economics at La Trobe Business School.