Newswise — Start-up companies in agricultural technology, food and wine are being given a guiding hand with a new business incubator launched at the University of Adelaide’s Waite campus.

ThincLab Waite is the only incubator dedicated to startups in the agtech, food innovation and wine sectors in Adelaide. It joins the University’s stable of innovation hubs which started with ThincLab Adelaide in July 2017 and expanded with ThincLab Châlons and ThincLab Singapore.

The newly renovated space at the Waite campus gives ThincLab members access to office space and meeting rooms and helps connect them with a network of industry mentors and coaches, investors and other organisations in the sector, alongside researchers and students.

At Waite campus, the ThincLab startups are co-located with the largest concentration of expertise in the southern hemisphere in the areas of plant biotechnology, cereal breeding, sustainable agriculture, wine, horticulture and land management.

“The South Australian agtech, food and wine sector is of crucial importance to our state but faces significant challenges that will require innovative solutions,” says Professor Noel Lindsay, University of Adelaide Pro Vice-Chancellor, Entrepreneurship.

“The University of Adelaide has targeted agrifood and wine as an industry engagement priority. ThincLab Waite is a collaboration platform, bringing together students, researchers, industry and government with the shared goal of addressing the grand challenges of food security and sustainability.

“We also connect South Australian startups with the agtech and food innovation ecosystem of the world; with ThincLab Singapore well placed to promote connections to the growing focus in Singapore on food innovation and food security, and through ThincLab Châlons, based in the Grand Est Agricultural Region of France and connected to the European sector.”

ThincLab Waite to date has 18 members. Examples include:

Mister RYE is working with South Australian organic farmers to launch the first organic, plant-based and environmentally friendly drinking straw aimed at fighting plastic pollution through transforming waste into substitutes for single-use plastic.

Platfarm is an in-cab app for spatially oriented tasking and tracking for grapegrowers. Platfarm is working with small and large growers across six regions to help them have better management of work done in the tractor, aiming for smarter inputs, better soils, and higher yields.

ByGen Pty Ltd, a spin-out company from the University’s Department of Chemistry, is using agricultural waste to produce high quality and cost-effective activated carbon, suitable for applications including precious metal recovery, water purification and cosmetic production.