Fungi for fashion, non-alcoholic beverages, and tracking ethical food funded by the Innovation Connect Grant

Chief Minister Andrew Barr MLA announced 9 new innovative businesses that have received a combined funding of $270,000 from the Innovation Connect Grants (ICON). This program is a partnership between the ACT Government, delivered by the Canberra Innovation Network.

The variety of startups emerging from Canberra range from fungi that could replace animal leather in fashion, tracking where your international produce comes from, right through to producing non-alcoholic beer.

The variety and quality of ideas in this round manifests the potential of local innovators and entrepreneurs to build high-growth businesses that can further diversify our economy.”  Said Petr Adamek CEO, Canberra Innovation Network

“The ACT Government is proud to partner with the Canberra Innovation Network to support local start-ups and entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground,” said the Chief Minister Andrew Barr

“The Innovation Connect grants are another way we are supporting local businesses and local jobs and helping to diversify our economy. Canberra has a very successful innovation community and it is fantastic to see that in this current economic climate the innovative spirit is still strong. Given the difficult times we are all facing it is extremely pleasing to see such diverse ideas being generated from within our very productive innovation community.”

Ethitrade is a recipient of the recent round and are focused on helping consumers find more information and assurance on international goods they have purchased, ensuring they are sourced ethically.

“The ICON funding will allow Ethitrade to empower a wide range of small and micro enterprises, helping them to better manage their data and tell rich product stories.” Said Zoe Piper Founder and Director, Ethitrade.

As current alcohol consumption has peaked, Heaps Normal are tackling this issue by producing a non-alcoholic beer for people who enjoy a beer but want to reduce their alcohol consumption.

“The ICON Grant application process challenged us to think deeply and critically about our product and how we see it impacting the lives of our audience. The generous support from the Canberra Innovation Network crew helped us to navigate the grant requirements and refine our pitch. The process has helped us clearly communicate our broader purpose and inspired us to be even more ambitious in our vision for the future.” Said Andy Miller Founding Partner and CEO, Heaps Normal

FungiCo are developing a new method of growing fungi that will be able to replace animal leather for use in the fashion industry. The fungi can be grown using paper and food waste, making it a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative.

“The ICON grant will allow FungiCo to scale up the production of our fungi leather product, which will accelerate us towards our goal of helping create a more environmentally sustainable fashion industry.” Said Peter Wenzel Co-Founder, FungiCo

ICON provides early stage businesses an opportunity to receive matched funding between $10k-$30k and is designed to help support innovative startups working towards the development of a first prototype or working to advance an existing prototype.

Full List of Recipients

 Company Project description
Castlepoint Systems Software platform using AI to read, register and regulate records through a central portal
Ethitrade Blockchain based food provenance platform
FungiCo Mushroom Leather Sustainable fungi leather to replace animal leather in fashion
Heaps Normal Non-alcoholic craft beer using new brewing methods to achieve appealing flavours
Quantum Brilliance Room temperature quantum computing using the unique properties of diamond
SIHQ Combines an automated booking platform, video conferencing, practice management tools and data analytics
Underwater Baitsetter Device which delivers commercial baited hooks deep underwater by stealth to prevent bait loss and unnecessary bird loss.
WorldStack Image recognition software
Zen Ex Machina App that digitalises team agility process assessment and provides suggested learning paths and improvement goals

The next round of ICON is open and will close 3rd August 2020.