This network and workshop is funded by the ASEAN Australia council and aims to to explore the business systems (foods, logistics and technologies) that will enable the ‘disruptor companies’ to service customers in a smart city environment.

The aim is to address these three challenges, how to:

  1. Optimise logistics: Food clusters that optimise value adding, just in time distribution and consolidation centres and access pathways including labelling and access protocols;
  2. Accelerate innovation: Innovative functional foods – including health and wellness products that address the health and lifestyle issues in our region;
  3. Incorporate technology: New technologies, from digital smart phone apps that enable traceability, transparency and education to block chains that provide the platform for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to track their products.

Food clusters and logistics combined with technology are critical to enable small and medium enterprises to increase trade between Australia and ASEAN countries.  Fast food chains and multi-national supermarkets have developed their own networks, but they are exclusive and there are many barriers to entry for SMEs who wish to grow their food export products and services that include technology, logistics and market access technology. There are also local, national and regional governance barriers.

Australia and some ASEAN countries, e.g. Thailand, are now focusing on developing foods that will enhance the wellness of their population and growing exports of high value ‘functional and wellness’ foods and services. Much of this innovation will come from the SME sector in collaboration with industry and universities. These innovations will enable SME’s to grow exports, providing the risks are understood and reduced. Therefore, this project seeks to establish a network to help these companies to trade across the region.

The inaugural knowledge and innovation workshop will focus on linking universities from Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia who have expertise in logistics, bioscience, health and wellbeing food products and technology with Australian and ASEAN businesses and government agencies.

To develop knowledge exchange and innovation between Australia and ASEAN countries, a key aspect of the project is to launch an annual knowledge exchange forum and to establish a social media platform.

The knowledge exchange and innovation program will foster meaningful and long-term people-to-people links between leading professional businesses, industry and universities in Australia and ASEAN countries. The program will create a stronger understanding of the issues relating to health focused food products, processes and services.

Workshop aims and scope

This network will foster meaningful and long-term people-to-people links between leading professional businesses, industry and universities in Australia and ASEAN countries. The network will create a stronger understanding of the issues relating to health focused food products, processes and services.

In line with the Australia Now Theme, the inaugural meeting will define foods, logistics and technology problems and opportunities, particularly as they relate to the youth market active within a city environment.

Emphasis will be on private sector presentations, current and future disrupters:

  • Small and medium enterprises working in the region;
  • Change agents within the private sector;
  • The voice of the consumer;
  • Market research on youth and smart cities.

Workshop objectives and outputs

  • Terms of reference for the network
  • Operating principles for the network (including membership and structure)
  • 2 page summary on barriers/opportunities
  • A ministerial briefing summarising the workshop
  • Action Plan