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Startup incubator Pollenizer has partnered with Australia’s Cotton Research & Development Corporation (CRDC) and Fisheries Research & Development Corporation (FRDC) to host Rural.XO microhacks, a series of regional workshops.

Held during March and May, the microhacks workshops will take innovators working in the cotton and fishery industries through Pollenizer’s Startup Science program. This program sees participants taking a hand-ons approach to moulding their ideas with help from industry experts.

CRDC Executive Director, Bruce Finney, said the organisation’s partnership with Pollenizer reflects its role in helping research and develop innovative cotton technology.

“Through the Rural.XO microhacks, we’re looking to help the disruptors, the innovators, the entrepreneurs, to take their big ideas and turn them into reality,” said Finney.

Finney added that the CRDC has already invested $8.5 million towards innovating technologies within Australia’s cotton industry. According to Cotton Australia’s most recent data, Australia’s cotton crop industry holds an estimated worth of $1.3 billion.

“Our Cotton Futures program looks at the feasibilities of technologies like dissolving cotton, utilising cotton as a substrate for carbon fibre, and using cotton for 3D printing,” said Finney.

At the end of the microhack, participants will be given the chance to present their ideas to an audience of potential investors, with participants also to be given the chance to go into Pollenizer’s Sydney Incubator program.

With CRDC support, attendance to the workshop is free of charge for cotton industry applicants, who are also able to access scholarships for travel and accommodation to Sydney for the event.

“All innovators within the cotton industry with big ideas are encouraged to apply – individuals, pairs or small groups of cotton growers, researchers, consultants, and agribusiness professionals,” Finney said.

Pollenizer offers incubation and consultancy for startups across health, finance and energy, with food and space set to be tacked on later this year.

The organisation’s eXponential Organisations (XO) initiative, which Rural.XO falls under, focuses on bringing together a network of entrepreneurs, leaders, scientists and government agents to help accelerate startup ideas.

Also announced by Pollenizer is its backing of fintech company SmallStash. Following its participation in a fintech microhack in December, SmallStash will be taking part in a new Pollenizer incubator supported by financial services company Pepper Money.

SmallStash works with financial education for kids, helping parents teach their children about saving and money. Pepper Money is investing nearly $100,000 in the program to help the startup develop its idea within the incubator period.

According to Pepper Group’s Head of Innovation Dr Matthew Tinker, the incubator program diverts from traditional models; he explained that Pepper has provided the funding without yet taking a direct equity percentage in SmallStash as part of the incubator process.

“Often a company’s internal agenda can hijack the innovation process. Pepper Money wanted to disrupt this process by creating a program that allowed external, unbiased innovation.”

You can read more about Rural.XO here.

Image source: supplied.

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