Australia’s Monash University in Victoria hosted New Zealand (NZ) Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday to sign a new agreement designed to help five Kiwi companies develop innovative consumer goods for Australian and international markets.
This comes as part of Ardern’s five-day visit to Australia, during which she also met with Victorian Premier Dan Andrews and will attend the annual Australia New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting in Sydney from July 6 to 8.
Under the new agreement, the Monash Food Innovation (MFI) initiative and New Frontiers Innovation Program (NFIP) will partner with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) in a ten-week program to support the development of the NZ businesses.
In partnership with industry and the Victorian government, MFI was established at Monash in 2016 to support consumer goods innovation, while the NFIP’s role is to pair students with partners, as well as assist in developing solutions to real industry challenges and create consumer-tested products.
The world-class facility at Monash boasts the capacity to see product development from start to finish, including the design, consumer endorsement, and commercialisation of consumer goods.
The five Kiwi industry partners, Ecostore, Tom & Luke, The Pure Food Co, Blunt, and Midlands Nutrition, are specialists in products including eco-friendly cleaning products, healthy and natural snacks, texture-modified food for the aged care industry, and premium plant-based nutritional oils and superfoods.
Speaking at the signing of the agreement with Monash, Prime Minister Ardern said NZ businesses offer a fresh approach and are willing to challenge the status quo, which leads to innovation.
The companies will have access to a suite of consumer-tested innovative commercial ideas, proven tools and methodologies that can be utilised for future innovation initiatives, and tools for rapid testing and prototyping.
A Fully Developed Concept Ready to Market
On the conclusion of the ten-week program, the companies will have a fully developed concept of their products and marketing strategy, which will be suitable for launching in Australia or overseas.
Monash University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Prof. Rebekah Brown said the university was delighted to support New Zealand’s industry.
“This program is all about energising business with ideas from the next generation of students at Monash University. It’s one of the ways Monash is driving innovation and sustainability and supporting thriving communities,” she said.
“We’re all really excited to see what comes out of the program, and how the relationship between Monash University and New Zealand will continue to grow as part of our commitment to the region.”
Meanwhile, co-founder and director of The Pure Food Co said the ten-week program delivered by Monash will give his company an “incredible opportunity to build our pipeline and create one ready-to-go concept for the Australian market”.
“We are excited to be part of the first group of New Zealand companies in this tailored program offered through NZTE that will strengthen commercially focused innovation in our business.”
Prime Minister Ardern will end her Australia visit on Friday with a meeting of the Australia-New Zealand Leadership Forum (ANZLF), which is being held for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began and presents an opportunity for business and government leaders to meet.