An app for wine festival attendees and a blockchain platform that tracks a grape from vineyard to bottle were among fascinating innovations shared at a unique event that celebrated the success of South Australia’s first wine and tourism accelerator program.
Seven participants in the pilot FOMENT Wine and Tourism Technology Accelerator program were announced three weeks ago by Minister Tim Whetstone, and presented at a graduation event on 28 November attended by representatives from Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA), winemakers, winegrowers and tourism and technology experts.
The FOMENT program upskilled participants’ entrepreneurial capacity through six ‘bootcamp’ sessions held over three intense weeks at Flinders University Tonsley.
Hosted by partners delivering the unique program – Flinders University’s New Venture Institute (NVI), Hydra Consulting and Wine Industry Suppliers Australia (WISA) – the event saw each company present on the challenges and solutions they realised through their FOMENT experience.
Professor Clare Pollock, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) at Flinders University, said the strategic program combined the distinctive strengths of the partners, fusing innovation and digital technologies to power further growth of SA’s rich wine and tourism sector.
“FOMENT’s value relies on delivering powerful and relevant sessions in Wine and Tourism Tech, but also on its network of over 25 mentors and 7 board advisors, who all bring their knowledge and networks to enhance new business opportunities,” she said.
Professor Pollock said the program aligns with Flinders University’s capabilities in the wine and tourism industries and ongoing commitment to engaging with South Australian industry.
The first of a kind initiative is framing Australia’s wine and tourism tech revolution, delivering industry connections, market validation, global scaling and Industry 4.0 processes.
Dr. Darren Oemcke, co-founder of Hydra Consulting, highlighted its importance to Australia’s wine and tourism tech industries: “FOMENT works with our great tourism businesses and our great wine businesses – we want these enabling technologies to be endemic to Australia so that we’re more efficient, we’re more successful and we’re more engaged with consumers than anywhere else in the world.”
The inaugural FOMENT program was made possible through seed funding provided by PIRSA.
Central to its effectiveness is an expert advisory board – as noted by Minister Whetstone “This is about giving them (the participants) an opportunity to accelerate their business thinking and test disruptive ideas in a fast-paced intensive environment, with expert support and advice on hand.”
Christian York of ROVER Journey was among the graduates and reflected on the timeliness of FOMENT for his Chinese Influencer platform, which has facilitated the sales of thousands of bottles of Australian wine to China.
“It (FOMENT) really sharpened our tools so when we went into a recent investor meeting we had everything they would want to see. We really nailed what we believe was a great pitch – hopefully we’ll have some announcements in coming weeks!”
Following a successful primary round, FOMENT hopes to run again in 2020 building on participant feedback. Find out more at: www.nviflinders.com.au/foment-pilot/
FOMENT expert advisory board members:
- Professor Roberta Crouch, Lecturer in Business Management in the College of Business, Governance and Laws at Flinders University
- Annabel Mugford, Strategic Projects Advisor at Food South Australia
- Ben Kerry, Branch Manager Morgans Financial Limited
- Matthew Moate, CEO of WISA – Wine Industry Suppliers Australia Inc
- Ron van Buuren, Co-founder of Hydra Consulting
- Gemma West, Program Manager of Treasury Wine Estates
- Paul Smith, Senior R&D at Wine Australia
FOMENT participating companies:
- ZionTech (SA/ACT): This ‘Grape to Glass’ platform uses blockchain to track the history of the grape through to its transformation into a bottle of wine.
- ROVER Journey (SA): A Chinese micro-influencer marketplace, helping Australian businesses reach Chinese consumers by engaging local brand advocates.
- Twenty Five Doors (NSW/VIC): This team partners with cellar doors for better wine tourism experiences using a digital map and marketplace to help them connect with qualified consumers.
- Dionysus (NSW): A journaling app that helps wine festival goers purchases the bottles they tried, and loved, once they’re home.
- Taglog (SA): An integrated platform with field devices for data logging, capturing the work process as it occurs, including a time and GPS stamp.
- Consilium/GAIA (SA): A cloud-based, automated solution for vineyard identification and mapping at any scale.
- Cellr (WA): Cellr is a connected packaging solution for anti-counterfeit and direct-to-consumer marketing in the wine, spirits and beverage industries.
South Australia is the undisputed wine capital of the nation, with 50 per cent of all Australian wine made from our grapes and 80 per cent of all premium wine coming from the state.
The value of South Australia’s wine exports has hit $1.79 billion, meaning it has more than doubled in the past eight years. The state’s wine industry is a pillar of strength for the South Australian economy, with latest data showing its revenue has risen to more than $2 billion.