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Young business woman meets agricultural challenge
23 October 2015
In the drive to bring customers better outcomes and experiences innovation sits high on the ‘to do’ list of most businesses.
Westpac with BlueChilli began the Innovation Challenge in 2014 to meet such a need. The $40,000 prize is awarded to a start-up reimagining business. Aside from the cash, the winner also spends six months in BlueChilli’s accelerator program developing their business idea.
This year the focus was on innovation in Agribusiness and the award went to Ella Shannon (above) for her online job marketplace for farming businesses, AgTasker.
“Finding labour fit for casual farming jobs has always been a major problem in agriculture and it’s holding back the productivity of our industry,” says Ella.
“AgTasker helps farmers tender jobs to an extended network of short-term labour in a quick, transparent and cost effective way,” she explains.
“Farmers drive the recruitment process by reviewing profiles, and allows traditional and non-traditional agriculture recruits (for example, backpackers, university students and ‘grey nomads’) to build networks and reputation,” says Ella.
The Innovation Challenge received 130 applications from every state in Australia this year: “My sister works as a rural reporter and when the media release calling for applicants for the Innovation Challenge came across her desk, she contacted me straight away.”
In the end there were five finalists, all of who spent two weeks working on their business strategy and competition pitch with the start-up advisors at BlueChilli.
Ella’s focus was on creating her business structure.
Ella’s extensive experience in agriculture includes having worked in farming and funding. She has a degree in resource economics and plans to launch AgTasker in Moree and Griffith this summer (15/16), servicing the casual labour requirement of irrigation, fruit picking and following that, the sowing season.
“We are putting a call out for anyone who would like to be involved in the engagement process or would like to sign-up as members. Just contact AgTasker @agtasker on twitter or AgTasker on www.facebook.com/AgTasker”