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Completed project

Scouting responses to labour challenges in Australian horticulture (AS23004)

Key research provider: Startupbootcamp Australia
Publication date: Tuesday, May 28, 2024

What was it all about?

This project identified startups across the globe with innovative technologies for addressing labour shortages in Australian horticulture. By leveraging a global search and industry-specific scouting, the project connected Australian horticulture R&D with promising solutions, fostering potential partnerships and advancement.


This project worked to identify innovative technologies and startups that could address the horticulture sector’s labour challenges by using automation or other methods to make the work more efficient.

Integrating innovative technologies into traditional horticultural practices is complex and requires adaptation and farmer education. Furthermore, ensuring the scalability and sustainability of the chosen technologies in the market presents ongoing challenges, requiring careful evaluation and support throughout the program's duration.


The project adopted a multifaceted approach with Startupbootcamp leveraging advanced scouting tools and deep domain knowledge to identify startups worldwide with relevant technologies and solutions aligned with the labour scouting challenge. The rigorous screening processes also ensured that only the most promising candidates progressed. Ongoing support and mentorship were provided to the selected companies to facilitate their adaptation and scalability in the Australian market.

The project also provided targeted training to two Hort Innovation staff, equipping them with the necessary skills to integrate innovative technologies into horticultural practice and lean startup methodologies to evaluate and potentially adopt these solutions.


The project identified two startups, Nanobubble AgriTech (water management) and TriBus (reduced input costs), with promising technologies for the horticulture sector. Additionally, a shortlist of 40 companies with labour-saving or efficiency-enhancing solutions was created, ten of which have completed due diligence data and recommended pathways to progress.

The data includes case studies or testimonials of projected labour savings of at least 15 per cent (e.g. through reduced farm scouting or harvesting labour) and/or significant efficiency savings (such as less water, lower fertiliser, or pesticide costs) through on-farm adoption of their technologies and services.

The horticulture industry has gained access to new practices and tools, enhancing productivity and efficiency, and paving the way for sustainable growth and competitiveness in the global market.