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Entrepreneurial dream comes to life

World 25.06.2024
Source: The DairyNews
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Canberra-based deep-tech start-up PPB Technology has the world food testing market in its sights.
Entrepreneurial dream comes to life
The dairy diagnostics company is going fr om strength to strength, having accessed support via the Canberra Innovation Network’s GRIFFIN Accelerator Program.

The ACT Government-funded program empowers Canberra entrepreneurs to get their start-ups moving fast.

A three-month intensive program, it pairs entrepreneurs with expert mentors to achieve sustainable business success.

PPB Technology is changing the dairy industry by developing diagnostic tests for food quality and safety.

It is established in the Australian and New Zealand dairy industry and hopes to expand its suite of diagnostic tests to include allergen tests as well.

PPB Technology has been a long-held entrepreneurial dream for founder Dr Stephen Trowell.

A biochemist, Dr Trowell moved from the UK to Canberra to complete his studies at the Australian National University (ANU). After securing a job with the CSIRO, he gained over 30 years of experience as a research scientist.

“At the very beginning of my career at the CSIRO I worked on a cotton project,” he said. “It evolved from scientific research to commercialisation, and it was an incredible experience.

“I felt deeply satisfied by taking an idea to a commercial conclusion,” he said.

“It sparked an entrepreneurial dream.”

Thirty years later, Dr Trowell reached his own tipping point.

“During my time at the CSIRO, I invented the CYBERNOSE® technology platform. That evolved to create the CYBERTONGUE®, which I felt had commercial viability.

“I chose to leave the CSIRO in 2018 and founded PPB Technology. In 2019 we were able to license the patents and trademarks from the CSIRO for the CYBERTONGUE® Technology.

“In 2019 I also secured an ICON seed grant from the ACT Government and rented an office in the Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-technology (CEAT).”

CEAT is a collaborative working space for start-ups in the agri-tech sector. It’s an initiative between the ANU and CSIRO and supported by the ACT Government’s Priority Investment Program.

“If I could have designed it from the ground up, CEAT is exactly what I would have asked for. The support from CEAT leadership and being alongside other research-based start-ups, has been conducive for innovation and growth,” he said.

Dr Trowell acknowledged the company likely would not have grown further without the support of another ACT Government-funded program, the Canberra Innovation Network’s GRIFFIN Accelerator Program.

“The support from CBRIN and the GRIFFIN Accelerator Program has been incredible. I would not be wh ere I am today without their support, mentoring program and funding,” he said.

“Being accepted to the accelerator program allowed me to look at my business from different vantage points. Having mentors Tim Hirst and Sylvia Tulloch work in the business with me for three months was instrumental. Tim's understanding as an entrepreneur himself, but also as an investor has helped me secure the all-important funding over the last two years.”

Dr Trowell initially financially backed PPB personally. With guidance from the accelerator program, he’s now secured more than $1M in capital.

When asked what’s next for PPB Technology, Dr Trowell said they’re looking to generate more capital to scale production, develop new tests and prepare to launch in the European market.

The GRIFFIN Accelerator Program is currently open and closes 7 August.

For more information visit the GRIFFIN Accelerator Program website.

July 2024
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