2023 Innovation Showcase Pitcher Profile: Maddalena Easterbrook

The 2023 Innovation Showcase is Canberra Innovation Network’s biggest event of the year! It offers a unique opportunity to recognise the amazing individuals in the innovation and startup ecosystem, highlighting their successes and inspiring even bigger goals for the new year!

At this year’s Innovation Showcase, Canberra startups will go head-to-head in a high-intensity pitching competition judged by YOU.

So, who will be part of this epic lineup?

Introducing Maddalena from Future Swirl.

What impact do you see your innovation having when shaping the future?

I founded Future Swirl out of great concern for climate change. Many argue that it is the biggest threat facing humanity and one of the challenges we must overcome is figuring out a way to feed a growing population on a warming planet. Oats require significantly less water and land compared to farming cows for dairy, and it is my main motivation to create delicious dairy-alternative desserts that prove you can indulge without costing the planet. As Future Swirl grows, I am excited to refine our food technology processes and set new benchmarks for what plant-based products can achieve.

What has been the high of the year for you?

Completing our staff support service (after lots of research and testing) which uses gamified task management to motivate employees to drive change throughout hospitality.

What is one innovation that has shaped your future?

Plant-based milks are obviously a huge innovation that has shaped my future. Many don’t realise that plant-based milks, especially soy milk, have been around for hundreds of years but only became known in the West in the last century. Comparatively, oat milk is quite a recent innovation. It was invented in 1994, a year before I was born, by the founders of Oatly in Sweden. But I have a clear marker of when oat milk became mainstream in Canberra, and that was at the beginning of 2020. I had traveled over to California right before the pandemic and was delighted to discover that many cafes offered oat milk when it was almost impossible to find in Canberra at the time. Since then, it has exploded in popularity and more people than ever before are swapping cow’s milk for oat milk or another plant-based alternative. The food technology that is being developed within the plant-based food industry is exceptional and I am excited to see further improvement in plant-based products as demand continues to grow.

Want to learn more about Maddalena and Future Swirl? Watch her pitch at the Innovation Showcase on Wednesday, 6 December 2023. Register now!