Woolworths has invested $4 million into small business accelerator Seedlab Australia to help start-ups become retail ready. It expects to work with up to 700 businesses over the next two years.
Seedlab has a team of experts who work with start-ups and small producers of food, beverage, home, and personal care products to be retail ready through the assistance of experts in all key areas of a business life cycle – start, scale and grow.
Woolworths director of buying Paul Harker said investments into small businesses was important to maintain a successful food and beverage industry in Australia.
“Seedlab Australia will support pioneering businesses to grow and navigate what it takes to be retail ready and help us bring innovative new locally-made products to our customers,” said Harker.
The program will recognise producers that have potential to scale in high growth categories such as artisan foods, health and wellness, along with sustainable products. Businesses ready for retail distribution will have the opportunity to directly pitch to the Woolworths buying team.
Seedlab founder Dr Hazel MacTavish-West said they were thrilled to partner with Woolworths.
“We’re passionate about helping Australian producers plant the seeds for long term success and we’re excited to work with business owners across the country. It’s wonderful to see Australia’s largest supermarket invest in the industry pipeline to create opportunities for Australian food and drink businesses through our program,” said MacTavish-West.
There will be training live, online, and tailored teachings for participants, who will also have the opportunity to network and engage in workshops.
Seedlabs Australia started as a pilot program for Tasmanian start-ups and emerging businesses in 2020. It worked with more than 100 food businesses, with many securing supply deals.
Andy and Matt Jackman started Red Cow Organics nine years ago, through the Tasmanian pilot. Mentoring from MacTavish-West resulted in significant growth and its Persian Fetta becoming the face of the brand.
The registration form is available here.