Startup Business International absolutely loves to see students involved in the Entrepreneurial Learning in Action Program working towards finding solutions in their local communities. Our Education and Program Director, Leigh Morgan, visited Mackay North High School students to find out what their region had to offer in the Agricultural space.

Mackay North High School Students

Students presented their work in agriculture at Mackay North High School on Wednesday 28 May 2021. Modern farming uses high-tech water management and new machinery which the students are able to use and demonstrate to visitors.

“These students have an incredible system for raising red claw crayfish so that they understand how the multimillion-dollar Aquaculture Industry works,” said Leigh Morgan, Education and Program Director for the AgriFutures project.

Agriculture student, Ceejay Lee, explained that the class has recently tilled the soil in preparation for planting  crops, again using modern machinery. Janine Jarett, Agricultural Studies teacher, added that the students study a wide variety innovative technology which can be used to grow crops in Mackay’s climate in a sustainable way.

AgriFutures supports schools through the Entrepreneurial Learning in Action program which encourages students to see the opportunities in running a business in agriculture. “One of the things I love about Ag. students is that they see a problem and come up with an innovative solution. That’s the type of critical thinking that moves a business forward towards an environmentally sustainable future,” Ms Morgan said.

“The opportunities for Australians in the global food production system are huge and these students have the advantage. They’re showing what is possible when
we put our innovative ideas into action.” Thirteen students are participating in the
Entrepreneurial Learning in Action program. These students are looking at issues in their local area and coming up with brilliant business ideas to solve these

The students are not only interested in developing innovative technological solutions in sugar cane farming, but also aquaculture, mushrooms and water-smart hydroponic lettuce.

Local Industry Inspires Students by Showcasing Tech and Business Opportunities

The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries hosted a great line-up of experts for the AgTech workshop on Wednesday 28 May. Matt West, scientist and general manager of Australian Prawn farms, has agreed to be a mentor for ag. students at Mackay North High School. He is very keen to encourage local students to consider pursuing careers in aquaculture at his facility just south of Mackay. The opportunities for businesses that cater to Aquaculture are enormous, with the industry growing rapidly in recent years.

CEO of Canegrowers, Kerry Latter, is interested in supporting ag students to study micro-credentials in entrepreneurship. Canegrowers recently investigated running a micro-credential in Pricing your Product when taking produce to mills or markets. Mr Latter is keen to encourage students to pursue business opportunities in the sugar industry, Australia’s second largest export crop, after wheat, with a total annual revenue of almost $2 billion.

Sean Cranny, Innovation Engagement Lead at Queensland Department of Tourism and Innovation, is currently pursuing grant funding for students to connect with local mentors. He would like to work closely with Startup.Business education going forward.

Local Entrepreneur Mentors Students

The local Farmers’ market was already underway at 7am on Wednesday 28 May with a bustling crowd. Young Mackay farmer, Samara Galloway, is demonstrating
her entrepreneurial mindset with a new local product, oyster mushrooms. Ms Galloway founded Whitsunday Mushrooms when the Great Barrier Reef became closed to international visitors, putting her tourism career on hold during Covid lockdowns.

Restaurant owners are thrilled that she is supplying fresh local produce that they used to ship from interstate. The opportunities are growing and Ms Galloway sees a big future for her business. Samara has agreed to be a mentor for the Entrepreneurial Learning in Action program, supported by Agrifutures, to teach students about sustainable, regenerative agriculture and urban farming business practices.