• (Left to right) Previous Grow Coastal participants, Montville Coffee, GM Sean McGowan and director Kevin Fraikin.
    (Left to right) Previous Grow Coastal participants, Montville Coffee, GM Sean McGowan and director Kevin Fraikin.

Queensland’s Food & Agribusiness Network (FAN) says its latest pathway program, Grow National, will help food, beverage and agri businesses wanting to scale their production and distribution, and gain greater market access.

Grow National follows FAN’s recent regional food innovation accelerator program Grow Coastal, which expands under the new banner of Grow National.

FAN CEO Nicole McNaughton said a much larger need was identified for FAN members in being able to take businesses to the next stage with distribution pathways, new product development and investment attraction.

“As a result of our research and the feedback we received from the Grow Coastal program, we are delighted offer Grow National, that will cater for start-ups and scale ups, leveraging a place-based approach to drive innovation and growth.

“The overall program consists of a one-day ‘fundamentals’ workshop for businesses in the start-up phase and a 10-week intensive program designed for established food, beverage and agri businesses who are looking to scale their distribution, production and market access,” said McNaughton.

FAN, based on the Sunshine Coast, said South East Queensland was quickly gaining a national and international reputation as a dynamic location for new food and agribusiness investment in Australia.

Recent figures estimate the food and agri business industry on the Sunshine Coast alone is valued at just over $1 billion.

The results from the Grow Coastal Food Innovation Program, which ran for three years from 2017 to 2019, resulted in:

  • 37 local business and 54 co-founders (70 per cent female) assisted;
  • 51 new jobs (147 per cent growth) created;
  • $2.935m in new capital invested;
  • revenue growth of 21 per cent, and 
  • customer growth of 121 per cent.

FAN said it intends to ensure as many of its members can leverage opportunities available via the ‘Buy Queensland 2032’ procurement for 2032 Brisbane Olympics, and Australia’s first collaborative F&B manufacturing facility, Turbine, set to be built on the Sunshine Coast.

The program will cater to around 45 participants in the first year and is supported by the Advance Queensland initiative – Accelerating Female Founders Program. Grow National is also supported by the Turbine Precinct, Regional Development Australia Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast Council, Moreton Bay Council and Noosa Council.

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