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Modernising Agriculture’s Supply Chain: Emma Weston Receives the 2023 NSW Pearcey Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Announcement posted by Pearcey Foundation 05 Oct 2023

Sydney, Australia - 5 October 2023 - The Pearcey Foundation today announced Emma Weston, CEO and co-founder of AgriDigital as the 2023 NSW Pearcey Entrepreneur of the Year. The award was presented at an event in Sydney last night.

"We are delighted to announce Emma Weston as the Pearcey NSW 2023 Entrepreneur of the Year," said Benjamin Chong, partner at Right Click Capital and chair of the NSW Pearcey judging committee. "Emma's groundbreaking work at AgriDigital demonstrates an unwavering commitment to innovation in agtech, showcasing exactly the kind of entrepreneurial spirit this award aims to recognise. Her achievements serve not only to advance her field but also to inspire the next generation of tech entrepreneurs. Emma embodies the forward-thinking, impactful leadership that the Pearcey Foundation values, making her an exceptional choice for this honour. I'd also like to extend heartfelt congratulations to our other esteemed finalists, who have each made significant contributions to the tech industry."

The Pearcey NSW Entrepreneur Award is presented to an outstanding individual who has "taken a risk, made a difference and is an inspiration to others" in the NSW ICT industry. The process draws on nominations from the public and the Pearcey Foundation network. Selection is made in consultation with past award recipients to ensure the continued integrity and quality of this peer-based recognition.

Emma Weston

Emma is the CEO and a co-founder of AgriDigital which launched its digital supply chain platform in 2017 bringing efficiency and transparency to global grain supply chains. Emma holds an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management, a LL.B. (Hons) and B.A. from the University of Melbourne and is a director of the Australian Government's Digital Skills Organisation Ltd, a member of Australia's National Farmers' Federation Farm Data Code Working Group and Grain Trade Australia's IT Advisory Committee, as well as an advisor to Geora Pty Ltd and Inspiring Girls Australia. Emma farms with her family in New South Wales and is motivated personally and through AgriDigital to ensure global rural communities are sustainable, that agriculture is a valued career choice and to build connection between consumers and their food.

Emma has made a significant impact on modernising the agricultural supply chain. With a background in Australian grain broking and marketing, Emma's nuanced understanding of the industry's complexities has led her to develop a technology-driven solution for the sector. Her leadership in assembling a diverse, global team has positioned AgriDigital as a crucial platform that underpins digital and capital infrastructure in agriculture.

The decision to disrupt an industry controlled by a few powerful corporations required both audacity and strategic risk-taking. Emma understood the challenges ahead and went on to build AgriDigital with the unwavering conviction that technology could level the playing field in the agricultural sector. The risk was considerable, but so was the payoff; her pioneering work has begun to decentralise the global grain trade and introduce efficiencies that have long been needed.

What sets AgriDigital apart is the multidisciplinary approach Emma has championed. Recognising that technological innovation alone wouldn't suffice, she assembled a global team consisting of farmers, coders, finance innovators, and creatives. This unique blend of expertise has allowed AgriDigital to build comprehensive solutions that are tailored to the real-world needs of agricultural businesses, making them more efficient and competitive in a tightly held market.

Emma's journey is an inspiring example of how dedicated leadership can tackle industry-wide challenges. She didn't just identify problems; she set out to solve them through a combination of technology and teamwork. Her conviction and resolve in the face of formidable industry giants have not only resulted in a successful venture but have also served as a rallying call for others to innovate and evolve the agricultural sector. Emma's work is an exemplar of impactful entrepreneurship, demonstrating that with the right team and technology, even the most entrenched industries can be disrupted for the better.

2023 NSW Pearcey Entrepreneur of the Year Award Finalists

  • Cibby Pulikkaseril, co-founder and CTO of Baraja, a start-up specialising in LiDAR technology for autonomous vehicles. With an impressive background in engineering and a knack for disruptive innovation, Cibby has been instrumental in developing a unique approach to lidar that sets Baraja apart in a crowded field, driving the company towards becoming a global leader in vehicle automation technologies.
  • Jason Hosking, CEO of HIVERY, a data analytics firm that leverages artificial intelligence to optimise retail space and inventory. Under Jason's leadership, the company has emerged as a powerhouse in the retail analytics space, delivering tailored solutions that enable businesses to maximise revenue, reduce waste, and enhance customer experience.
  • Justin Webb, co-founder of AgriWebb, an innovative agricultural software company focused on enabling sustainable farming through data-driven insights. Leveraging his background in both finance and agriculture, Justin has helped AgriWebb become a key player in digitising and optimising farm management, making it easier for farmers to make data-backed decisions that enhance productivity and sustainability.
  • Robert Yearsley, CEO and co-founder of ARIA Research, a Sydney-based start-up that is developing a form of technologically enhanced human echolocation for the visually impaired. With a career spanning 20 years in consumer technologies and businesses in Silicon Valley and Australia, Robert has pivoted his focus towards the intersection of augmented reality, assistive artificial intelligence and biosensors, making ARIA a pioneer in converting sound into vision for the blind.

"Australian technology entrepreneurs have a proud history in leading the world on innovation, so it's no surprise that this year's finalists are all working in cutting edge technology fields, including AI, augmented reality, blockchain and LiDAR," said Anthony Woodward, NSW chair, Pearcey Foundation. "Congratulations to this year's finalists, and we look forward to meeting them all before announcing our award tomorrow night."

In addition to the announcement of the 2023 NSW Pearcey Entrepreneur of the Year, the event featured a panel discussion with industry leaders on 'AI: An Entrepreneurs' Boon or Bane?' and a university pitching competition showcasing rising stars. The event was proudly supported by the ASX, ACS and Wisetech Global.

Other State Awards

Australia Capital Territory Awards will be held in Canberra on Tuesday, 17 October. Tickets can be booked at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/2023-act-pearcey-round-table-tickets-721755448977.  

Queensland Awards: the 2023 Pearcey Queensland Entrepreneur Award will be presented at an Awards Celebration Dinner in the Garden Marquee, Victoria Park Golf Complex on Tuesday, 17 October. Tickets are available at https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing/1115047.

South Australian Awards: event details are still to be advised. Nominations can be submitted at https://www.pearcey.org.au/awards/nominations/state-nomination-form

Tasmanian Awards: event details are still to be advised. Nominations can be submitted at https://www.pearcey.org.au/awards/nominations/state-nomination-form.

The recipient of the 2023 Victorian Award was Didier Elzinga, founder and CEO of Culture Amp. Details on the award are here

The 2023 Western Australian Pearcey Award was presented to Fund WA director Pia Turcinov AM as part of the 32nd WAITTA Incite Awards on Friday 4 August 2023. More information here: https://inciteawards.org.au/2023-finalists.

National Pearcey Awards

The recipients of the prestigious 2023 Pearcey National Awards - including the Pearcey Medal, Hall of Fame and National Entrepreneur Award - will be announced at an event in Sydney on Monday, 30 October 2023. Registration details are still to be finalised. 


About the Pearcey Foundation
The Pearcey Foundation Inc. is a non-profit organisation established in 1998 to raise the profile of the Australian Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry and profession. It was created in the memory of one of the greatest pioneers of the Australian ICT industry, Dr Trevor Pearcey. By celebrating the heroes in our industry, past, present and future, the Foundation is looking to attract and encourage young Australians into this most exciting of global, high technology sectors of our nation.

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