The centre’s aim is to accelerate innovation by providing companies with technology, product development services and research expertise to help them export more rapidly to target markets.
Its recent opening was attended by Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani’s founder and chief executive.
Ulukaya’s brand will help run a bespoke incubator programme for early-stage companies in a bid to challenge more established businesses.
“There’s never been a better time to be a food entrepreneur—in Australia or around the world,” he said.
“I love what’s happening with food start-ups here in Australia and want to share what we've learned when it comes to scaling and fighting convention, like we’ve done with our other incubator programmes.”
He added that the incubator will feature a “no-strings-attached”, grant-based programme to support entrepreneurs “so we can further fuel the food revolution”.
Each participating start-up will receive a $10,000 grant and access to a four-month programme at the innovation centre, which features three serviced industrial kitchens, a food-grade scale-up lab and a collaborative lounge.
Monash deputy vice-chancellor for enterprise Ken Sloan said “amazing things can happen” at the incubator.
“It is a fantastic example of how a collaboration involving Monash, the Victorian government and the food and agriculture industries can bring real-time innovation in such vital sectors, both for Australia and internationally,” he said.
The Incubator will be increasingly attractive to food producers and manufacturers seeking competitive market advantages through innovation, said Monash’s director of food and agriculture, Nicolas Georges.
And while there are other food incubators around the world, “the end-to-end support systems available through Monash’s cross-disciplinary scale of research expertise and research infrastructure are unique,” he added.
“It is a huge benefit for the food sector… as it becomes a hub for the food industry entrepreneurs to connect and develop the foods of the future,” Prof. Georges said.
Though nine out of 10 food lines are destined to fail, businesses can “triple or quadruple” their likely success rate and “at the very least, avoid expensive mistakes” by quickly identifying issues, Prof. Georges added.