Melbourne, 24 July, 2017 — SproutX, Australia’s national agtech innovation hub has partnered with Stone & Chalk to create a hub focused on ‘Agri Fintech’ — a technology sector that brings together two of the world’s largest industries.
The announcement signals the start of a new program, to explore how fintech innovation can assist in solving major issues in the global agricultural sector. With 40 percent of the world’s labour force engaged in agriculture, it is the world’s largest sector of employment with international opportunities for fintech entrepreneurs.
As part of the initiative, SproutX will house the dedicated Agri-Fintech hub at its co-working space in the Melbourne CBD.
“There is a huge but often overlooked connection between agriculture and financial services, and savvy startups are starting to take notice. This partnership is a fantastic opportunity for both organisations to leverage their respective areas of competitive advantage, to create a world-first hub specialised in Agri-Fintech,” said Andrew Lai, SproutX Accelerator Director.
David Davies, the CEO of leading Agri-Fintech company AgriLedger, believes it’s the right time for the focus. “In the developed world, farmers are some of the top users of financial services with not only lending and insurance, but also market and trading platforms. In the developing world there are over a billion small subsistence farmers; most of the unbanked population in the world. That is the greatest untapped opportunity for fintech, bringing services to those billion farmers.”
The partnership marks the first step towards expanding the wider fintech movement to regional Australia. SproutX will give the fintech community unprecedented access to the agriculture space, utilising the extensive rural network of corporate partner, Findex — Australia’s largest privately-owned accountancy and financial advisory firm.
“We’re proud to be backing the Agri Fintech movement through our team of pioneers at SproutX. Regional Australia is the lifeblood of our business, and this partnership will enable us to bring fintech to the regions, further enabling financial inclusion across the country” said Spiro Paule, Chief Executive Officer, Findex.
SproutX will give Stone & Chalk access to 60 workstations, which will see fintech injected into the agtech space by stimulating a cross pollination of ideas and technology.
“The tech game is changing at such a rapid pace that we’re already seeing top Fintech startups develop new innovative solutions that solve key problems faced in primary industries such as in the Agricultural sector. It’s this insight which makes our partnership with SproutX really exciting” says Alex Scandurra, CEO of Stone & Chalk.
“Together with SproutX we hope to bring together the best our organisations have to offer to help solve the existing and future challenges our farmers face. We are going to do that by helping them collaborate commercially with some of the best startups in Australia and in doing so help Australia lead the world in this new niche of Agri-Fintech.”
This partnership comes at an exciting time for SproutX, following the successful launch of the first agtech accelerator program in Australia earlier this month. The program funds and mentors agriculture-specific startups with a focus on establishing distribution through exclusive partnerships with Ruralco and Findex.