WeTech wins Aquaculture Innovation Challenge

Published on
July 1, 2019

Judges announced that WeTech has won 2019 Aquaculture Innovation Challenge (AIC) – a competition designed to encourage innovation in Indonesia’s shrimp aquaculture sector. 

WeTech won the award for their development of a solar-powered aeration device, and takes home a cash and in-kind prize worth USD 100,000 (EUR 88,148). The runner up is Seable, which created an automatic shrimp feeder for hatcheries, which won a USD 10,000 (EUR 8,814) which was sponsored by the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA). 

Both the teams will also be given a financial package that will allow them to send members to the Global Outlook for Aquaculture Leadership (GOAL) 2019 in Chennai, India, in October 2019. There, the representatives will pitch their innovations to leaders in the aquaculture industry. 

The AIC is organized by the Seafood Trade Intelligence Portal (STIP), Solaridad Network, Fresh Studio, and Bogor Agricultural University, with support by the GAA, Hatch Blue, and the Walton Family Foundation. In April, 17 applications were chosen to move forward in the competition, which were then further whittled down to five finalists in early June. 

WeTech’s solar-powered aeration device was chosen by judges for its mix of both social and environmental benefits. 

“I’ve improved my business model presentation and my distribution model [during the boot camp].” WeTech's Kamran Mahmudov said. “Before coming here, I didn't know that Indonesian farms are huge. Now I know the market and I know the environment ... [And want to learn] what kind of changes we can make to adapt to the Indonesian market. We know that there’s big room for improvement so I think the accelerator program will help us improve our implementation strategies. We want to come back to Indonesia to do market research.”

Seable’s automatic shrimp feeder was chosen by judges as it is a “great way to make the first stage of shrimp farming more profitable.”

“All five finalists bring something special to the table. They’re bright and innovative and have solutions to common problems in aquaculture. And after several days in this immersive experience, they’re now armed with the confidence they need to take their businesses to the next level,” said James Wright, editorial manager at the Global Aquaculture Alliance, one of the AIC sponsor organizations.

Throughout the competition, coaches helped the finalists improve their pitch to investors, leading to “huge transformations,” according to a release from the AIC. 

“The progress has been amazing. It’s very impressive these companies have come in a short period of time from a rough idea to commercializing their businesses toward a sharp focus on their business model and the exact needs and next steps that they have to take,” Tom Prins of Aqua-Spark said.

Photo courtesy of Aquaculture Innovation Challenge

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