Kelp, tiny homes and surfboards: Innovation hub’s second cohort pitch ideas
With a range of outstanding ideas, from solving home ownership issues to reportedly creating one of the world’s fastest surfboards, it is clear South Coast entrepreneurs are pushing the limits of innovation.
On Thursday, these proposals and more were laid out to the judges and large audience attending the final pitch for the Bega Valley Innovation Hub’s (BVIH) second cohort.
“We actually believe in regional Australia… that we have the ability to not only create an industry from scratch but to also support it…” Bega Valley Shire Mayor and judge Kristy McBain told the hub’s cohort.
While all pitches sounded promising the judges could choose only one winner and that was Jo Lane from Sea Health Products with her plan of starting Australia’s first golden sea kelp farm.
During her presentation, Ms Lane said said kelp was a “sustainable form of farming that provides a nutrient-dense crop” that also helps the environment by absorbing carbon dioxide.
Demand for kelp is huge, she said, as while she is currently hand-harvesting on local beaches for the seaweed sales at her business have increase by 70 per cent in two years.
While she will continue to collect her wild harvest, she plans to start a kelp farm in March, with judge and CEO at iAccelerate Omar Khalifa saying her proposal had “huge, huge potential”.
Patricia Mills from Jed Done Surfboards, which came second at the final pitch, said her husband and business partner Jed’s reverse curve flextail surfboard was the only one of its kind.
“It goes faster than anything else that’s available,” she said.
She said Mr Done had handcrafted 200 of the boards so far and sold 50.
Coming third, Leanne Atkinson of the social enterprise Road to Home presented her idea of a re-imagined landscape for those struggling to own a home by utlising tiny houses.
Launching next year, she plans to introduce people to tiny house sellers, help them meet landowners looking to rent their land by hosting tiny houses, and discuss suitable loans for buyers with banks.
Judge Stephanie Kimber from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade even said Ms Atkinson had “a model that could be sold globally”.
Also event management software Festival Director was relaunched as Events Lab, and there were presentations of the Back Pain Recovery Kit and Ginger the Frog.
The BVIH’s third cohort will start in March 2020.