2021 Innovate with nbn™ Grants Program: the winners

5-minute read
Selected from across regional Australia, we reveal the worthy winners of the 2021 Innovate with nbn™ Grants Program.
Now in its second year, the Innovate with nbn™ Grants Program aims to help regional businesses transform their ideas into game-changing achievements.

After an exciting inaugural program in 2020, we anticipated a high calibre of applications – and, suffice to say, we weren’t disappointed.

Part of nbn’s commitment to lift the digital capability of people and business across regional Australia, the Innovate with nbn™ Grants Program is run in partnership with the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) and we’re thrilled to announce this year’s winners. 
Grants of $10,000 have been awarded to innovative businesses enabled by the nbn™ network across seven categories: Agriculture, Arts, Education, Health, Indigenous Business, Tourism, and Women in Regional Business.

Plus, an overall winner – the Innovate with nbn™ Champion – also receives an additional $25,000 grant to help support the further growth of its technology-led idea.

Please join us in congratulating the winners:

Education and overall Innovate with nbn™ Champion

Bitlink

bitlink
Taking out the Education category and also declared the overall Innovate with nbn™ Champion, Bitlink is an education technology company based in Launceston, Tasmania, passionate about digital literacy.

The business, run by co-directors James Riggall and Troy Merritt two years ago, has spent two years co-designing an Internet of Things (IoT) education kit with teachers in its local area, which enables them to teach young people about IoT, including coding, electronics, design thinking and how to use sensors.

How the Innovate with nbn™ grants will be used

Awarded $10,000 as category winner, and an additional $25,000 as the overall Innovate with nbn™ Champion, Bitlink will use the grants to get its kits into regional and remote areas, with an initial focus on Flinders, King and Cape Barren Islands, as well as donate classroom sets to schools on these islands to make sure Bitlink’s visits have a lasting impact.

Agriculture

Stirlings to Coast Farmers

stirling-to-coast-farmers
Stirlings to Coast Farmers from Western Australia’s southwest helps local growers increase their productivity and profitability through digital technologies and research.

Over the past two years, Stirlings to Coast Farmers has deployed 70 weather and soil moisture monitoring devices throughout its membership zone. It’s currently working on creating a much-needed market solution where it can bring all this data, across different sensor types and brands, into one centralised platform. Here data can be visualised, stored and used for machine learning practises, including delivering highly accurate weather forecasts, right down to the farm level.

How the Innovate with nbn™ grants will be used

Stirlings to Coast Farmers will use the $10,000 grant to bring this solution to life, which could lead to the transformation of digital agriculture nationally by increasing productivity.

Arts

Pyrus Event Services

pyrus-event-services
Pyrus Event Services based in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales (NSW), is a specialised event technology consultancy, whose owner Adam Bannister believes audience diversity and inclusion should be at the heart of all events.

Its ‘Pyrus Connect’ product adds in accessibility services to virtual and hybrid events so that everyone can participate. The audience can tailor the experience to suit its own needs and stay together as part of the one group and same conversation – exactly how inclusive events should be.

How the Innovate with nbn™ grants will be used

The Innovate with nbn™ grant will help Pyrus Event Services to expand its services across regional Australia.

Health

Kylie Toynton, Speech Pathologist at Language for Life

kylie-toynton
Kylie Toynton from Gunnedah, NSW, has been a speech pathologist for more than 20 years. Due to limited availability in the bush, Kylie has seen some parents wait months for an assessment or travel up to 300 kilometres for a session. Not only does this place stress on the family, it means the child isn’t receiving the help they need when they need it.

Kylie is building a platform that provides evidence-based information on child development and strategies that parents can use. The packages come in video, audio and written format so all parents can feel capable and competent to help their child.

How the Innovate with nbn™ grants will be used

Kylie will use the Innovate with nbn™ grant to progress the next stage of Language for Life’s project. This will include adding other allied health and medical professionals from across regional Australia and offering synchronous online therapy and training packages for parents, teachers and schools.

Indigenous Business

Traditional Family Group

Started by brothers Travis and Dylan Dwyer, Traditional Family Group from Barcaldine in Queensland works to preserve and protect cultural teachings, heritage and languages.

Using a new digital space, youth and elders digitally create and produce important stories and preserve them. This project has so many opportunities and possibilities.

How the Innovate with nbn™ grants will be used

The Innovate with nbn™ grant will allow Traditional Family Group to buy new equipment to enable it to collaborate online, work with cloud-based storage, and even outsource rendering for larger projects.

Tourism

The Fold Media

The Fold Media is a small digital publisher based in Bowral, NSW, which has developed a contactless digital application that gives tourists at regional hotels, motels and holiday accommodation a unique digital concierge service.

Known as Pocket Host, the service allows people to access information about their stay – from amenities and where the TV remote control is located, to great local eateries, attractions and shopping guides. Pocket Host developer, Rebecca Guest, says it aims to connect visitors with local people, events and attractions, and ultimately drive commerce for regional businesses.

How the Innovate with nbn™ grants will be used

The $10,000 grant will support the rollout of Pocket Host across regional Australia.

Women in Regional Business

Gathar

gathar
Gathar, established by Cairns local Jodie Milkota, is a catering platform borne from a frustration we can all relate to – the love of having friends and family over for dinner, but not wanting to be stuck in the kitchen all night. Gathar creates unique dining experiences in people's homes, holiday properties and offices by enabling customers to book someone who loves to cook to come over and take over all the hard work for them.

Gathar’s innovative tech platform has enabled it to scale rapidly to locations across Australia – 25 locations so far – including a focus on regional areas. It has enabled hundreds of small businesses, independent chefs, cooks, catering companies and accommodation partners in these regional locations to scale their businesses too.

How the Innovate with nbn™ grants will be used

The Innovate with nbn™ grant will help Gathar continue to scale into new locations and bring on more regional businesses.

Thank you and congratulations

Once again, congratulations to our very worthy winners – and heartfelt thanks to everyone who took the time and care to apply for the 2021 Innovate with nbn™ Grants program.

We’d also like to thank our panel of judges, including inaugural Innovate with nbn™ Champion Jason Davis, which faced the difficult task of choosing winners from the strong pool of applications.

As our winners continue their journeys, we look forward to bringing you future updates about their businesses and exciting progress.