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Innovation, whether it’s a new idea or improving something established, is a crucial part of Manawatu’s backbone. That’s why we are proud to partner with Building Clever Companies (BCC) and Microsoft to present the second AgTech Hackathon in Manawatu. 

The AgTech Hackathon is a unique event that connects farmers, IT experts and software developers to solve on-farm problems through the development of new software and technology, over the space of a few days.  

This year’s focus will be on a problem statement linked to water and each group, who’ll have access to mentors, will be required to come up with a useable software solution from March 3 to 5, 2018.  

However, the innovation doesn’t stop once the Hackathon is over. One of the teams from last year, Eff-Go, is now in the technical development stage of their idea and they are exploring setting up a commercial business. They are working with a team of scientists and engineers to look at producing technical drawings, model the theory and designing a prototype.  

This kind of outcome and cross-sector collaboration is at the core of CEDA’s existence and why we see value in supporting the event.  

The team at BCC caught up with Damian Buckley, a member of Eff-Go, about his experience at last year’s Hackathon.  

What did you expect going into AgTech Hackathon 2017?  

We expected to be able to focus for a weekend on fleshing out an existing idea into a first tangible plan, without disturbance and interruption from the outside world! We expected BCC to provide a creative, energised environment in which we could play freely. We also believed that BCC would provide a support structure by setting expectations, giving participants guidance and encouraging momentum.  

What was your AgTech Hackathon experience like in comparison to your expectation? 

We were very happy with the experience. We responded to the challenges laid out before us by BCC mentors. We enjoyed working with focus on our project and also contributing to the regular updates we were expected to give to the Hackathon cohort. We enjoyed being immersed in the energised environment. 

What was the best part of the Hackathon for you? 

The access to farmers and business mentors who were invited to attend and talk to us. We could discuss the business opportunity with potential customers, test hypotheses and gain feedback in confidence. 

What was your key takeaway from your AgTech Hackathon experience?  

We got great value from the interactions with the guest farmers. The feedback on our idea was invaluable, one of them is a business partner now! 

This interview originally appeared on  


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