Women in Agri-Tech

During the last two weeks of Term Two, Eva, Hannah, and I entered the Women in Agri-Tech competition. This competition aimed to address a problem in agriculture, come up with a solution and create a Shark Tank styled pitch to present to a panel of judges.

The issue we addressed was the management of overgrown hooves. The main reason to trim hooves is to give animals an even, comfortable walking surface, clean out dirt and debris caught in their feet to prevent infection. This is currently done by a method known as paring, which is time-consuming and causes animals stress.

Our first step was to figure out how to manage this issue better, so we developed a product to decrease the frequency of paring and minimise the build-up of foot bacteria. 

A factor that stood out to us was the impact our product would have on environmentally, so after some research, we decided to use recycled plastic. We would ensure it would be lightweight, hardwearing, and cost-effective, with the surface coated with a heavy-duty non-slip product creating a rough surface to wear down hooves. Another factor we looked at was manure build-up, which, if overlooked, would create more issues. The solution was to use slats, which allowed manure to fall between and collect underneath, reducing the build-up of bacteria and the likelihood of foot diseases such as foot rot.

After writing a pitch, our next task was to design and build a prototype. Thank you to Cooper and the Canteen ladies for helping us! Then, we filmed and edited the pitch and sent it off.

About a month later, we received an email congratulating us on second place! We won $1500 and an invitation to an online Bootcamp to further our product and learn skills – we wish we could’ve done it in Brisbane, though! Over nine days and three sessions, we learned how to pitch better, put ourselves out there, ask people for things we wouldn’t usually be entitled to, and build on our communication skills. Our Host and speaker was Daniel Johnsen, an American man who created ‘Lolly,’ which allowed parents to prerecord stories for their kids. He started the session with a story about his Air B’N’B, and just by asking the owner, he spent $1920 for eight weeks instead of $6000.

The main points we took away were:

  • Use your age, gender, and experience to your advantage when talking to people! People will be more likely to give up their time for a high school student.
  • Ask for things you wouldn’t otherwise get, whether that’s a drawing on your pizza box or a discount
  • Now is the best time to start your business, you have plenty of time to learn, make mistakes, and network.