THE Nationals’ Member for Riverina and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has praised the work of a national Innovation hub based in Wagga Wagga in securing a $500,000 Federal Government grant under the Incubator Support Initiative. 

The grant for Bridge Hub will help Australian agriculture and food businesses identify, test and commercialise new ideas to create business opportunities and jobs. 

The agrifood tech innovation hub will also provide a global platform for Australian start-ups through its close partnerships with Israeli researchers. 

Wagga Wagga’s Dianna Somerville is community manager of Bridge Hub, which was launched last month by Blue River Group co-founders Craig Shapiro and Grant Fuzi, with former Israel Trade Commissioner in Australia, Ethy Levy, a co-founder. 

Mrs Levy is Bridge Hub’s Israel chief executive officer. 

“I have great faith in their ability to bring this project to fruition,” Mr McCormack said. 

“They are people who make things happen.” 

Mrs Levy welcomed the grant. 

“The funding will allow Bridge Hub to dedicate additional resources to accelerate its work with both agrifood tech start-ups in Australia and the building of deeper connections with world-leading agrifood tech nations, such as Israel,” Mrs Levy said. 

The Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, said the Federal Government recognised the crucial role incubators and innovative start-ups played in the economy and in creating high value jobs, contributing to increased productivity and bringing new products and services to market.

Ken Grimson