Agtech - the innovative drive to create a more diverse, efficient, adaptable and effective agricultural and food-production systems - has a strong cohort of female innovators helping drive it forward in the future.
One of these women is Malkah Lara Muckenschnabl - the founder of Lymbo - an app that matches agribusiness with young talent using profile-based algorithms similar to a dating app.
Lymbo could potentially solve multiple issues from labour shortages for regional employers to cost of living increases for young people living in the city.
Malkah, 25, is based in Melbourne but both her parents worked in agriculture and she's lived in regional towns across South Australia and NSW.
"Lymbo is really aimed at changing the way we recruit young people into agriculture," she said.
"It's stepping away from the traditional resumes and cover letters.
Like dating apps, Lymbo allows employers to quickly see whether potential employees have the necessary skills that need for the job.
"It's not that different from dating someone - you can have a coffee and a chat and know within 10 minutes that you don't have a connection," Malkah said.
Malkah was part of the 2023 evokeAG Future Young Leaders program.
With Lymbo in the ideas stage for about a year, Malkah said taking part in this program helped cement the thought that there was a genuine need for something like the app within the agricultural industry. She is currently in the process of finding a way to commercialisation, with the goal of having something on the market in the next six months.
"I'm happy to partner with someone and have it under their umbrella," she said.
Malkah said she was feeling very positive about the future of the agtech sector.
"It's such a prime time in the evolution of agtech, there's a lot of people wanting change," she said.
Other women making strides in the agtech space include:
- Carina Steinbakk - founder of Aevi Tech, which has released CertMate - a complete field biosecurity management platform for energy companies and farmers. CertMate simplifies the vehicle hygiene certification process and limits company liability.
- Samantha Wan - founder of Reearthy - a circular-economy business dedicated to establishing sustainable systems that minimise waste and utilise resources in a manner that fosters regeneration and long-term viability.
- Julia Laidlaw - founder of Sporadical City Mushrooms - creating the highest-quality, accessible fungi and fungi-based products to consumers and wholesalers - all from within the city centre of Melbourne.
- Jessica Brunner - founder of The Bee Buddy which was launched at the Singaporean Food and Agritech Conference - and is revolutionising the inspection and extraction process of beekeeping - ensuring a safer and more efficient practice.
TEKWOMEN Victoria, Farmers2Founders' new pre-accelerator program launching in February is inviting female entrepreneurs with a technology idea/solution for agriculture - even in its most primitive concept stages - to apply.
Farmers2Founders has an impressive alumni of female graduates, all doing incredible things in the agtech space with innovative solutions from biosecurity management to automated harvesting and robotics, animal monitoring, health and nutrition and much more.
"As a female-founded company ourselves, seeing our female graduates taking significant strides in the field is truly rewarding," Farmers2Founders co-founder and director Skye Raward said.
Farmers2Founders Hatch and Hone graduate and founder of Reearthy, Samantha Wan said her favourite takeaway from the programs was the push to dig deeper to find out more from future consumers.
"Breaking down preconceived ideas and coming away with skills and resources that can be reapplied and retested was incredibly valuable," Samantha said.
"The programs gave me a safe space to test new ground under fantastic guidance and working through new skills and tools. Being able to fully analyse viability and reaffirm plans while shaking up and rerouting others was invaluable.
"I feel that for both men and women to progress in agtech, we need more sharing and visibility of all those involved. Seeing others share their experiences, successes, failings is so valuable to inspire and persevere."
For any questions on the program, head to the website to find out more; https://www.farmers2founders.com/tekwomen-vic
TEKWOMEN Victoria is sponsored by Launch Vic and Agriculture Victoria.
Statistics on females in agtech include:
- 31pc of the agtech workforce in Australia is female
- 18pc of CEOs and 22pc of board members in tech companies are women
- Only 2.1pc of VC funding in 2022 went to female-led startups
For more agtech news, visit https://www.farmonline.com.au/machinery/agtech-revolution/