Crucial support for the Victorian food industry

Tuesday, 06 February, 2007


Victoria's small to medium food manufacturers can now access the expertise and technical innovations they need to grow their businesses, following the launch of the $1.4 million Food SME Technology Transfer Program (FoodTech).

FoodTech is a government-funded consultancy program to help small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and regionally-based food manufacturers in Victoria identify, use and manage innovative technology that helps improve their business.

Areas of assistance will include identifying market opportunities, finding funding assistance for innovation activity, identifying appropriate processing or packaging technologies, assessing the business case for new technology, implementing new technology, and identifying staffing and training needs.

"The program will provide crucial access to opportunities that would otherwise not be available to these businesses," Food Science Australia CEO, Anthos Yannakou said.

"Changing consumer buying habits and an increasingly globalised food industry require Victoria's SMEs to grasp every opportunity to test, evaluate and implement new technologies to remain competitive and expand their market potential."

"Over the next 18 months, the program will increase economic activity by food SMEs by providing access to a range of new technology transfer services delivered through a single, integrated collaborative access point," Lloyd Higginbotham, the FoodTech program director at Food Science Australia, said.

Food Science Australia, a joint venture of CSIRO and the Victorian government, will coordinate the program with input from the Australian Institute for Commercialisation's (AIC) TechFast Program, IXC Australia, Regional Development Victoria, and the Department of Primary Industries Victoria.

The pilot initiative will improve understanding of what works in successful technology transfer to SMEs, and test which aspects of the different programs provides best support to food SMEs.

"FoodTech will help Victorian companies find and adopt new technologies developed in Australia's research organisations using an alternative approach to stimulate demand," Dr Rowan Gilmore, CEO of the AIC, said.

Further information is available at www.foodscience.csiro.au/foodtech/.

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