Bright wine ideas bubble at FOMENT

FOMENT, a four-week wine and tourism tech accelerator event held in Adelaide during October, presented an array of innovative business ideas that have the potential to shape the future of the wine and tourism industries.

The innovative virtual and in-person event, created through a South Australian-based partnership between Wine Industry Suppliers Australia, Hydra Consulting and the Flinders University New Venture Institute, saw 11 companies graduate – presenting technology solutions ranging from customer engagement, AI and crop health to ecommerce solutions.

Victoria-based AirGuides, founded by Bibi Jellema and Paul Rowsthorn, delivered the winning pitch at the program’s final showcase, for a platform that creates tours for travelers, put together by storytellers. 

It was voted winner by a judging panel of experts including Flinders University’s Professor Roberta Crouch with Annabel Mugford (Barossa Grape and Wine Association), Sarah Treasure (Regional Development Australia), Paul Smith (Wine Australia), Peter Hayes (Wine Innovation Expert) and Matthew Moate (

“Before we joined FOMENT, we were worried how it’s possible to deliver a program like FOMENT virtually,” says Bibi. “We were absolutely blown away by the support from the whole FOMENT team, mentors, advisors and industry connections. All the barriers stopping us from building Food & Wine trips have been completely smashed over.”

The People’s Choice Award went to Borough Markets of South Australia, founded by Grant Baker. It received  over 80 votes counted via livestream. 

“The importance of understanding the intricacies of both the wine and tourism industry is a critical success factor in the success of our business and our go-to market strategy,” says Grant. “Along with a credible referral path to businesses that we want to work with, it informed our decision to launch the new platform during the FOMENT program.”

For the 11 participating companies, based in the UK, USA, France, Victoria and SA, the showcase celebrated four weeks of intensive learning, designed to truly integrate them into South Australia’s wine and tourism sectors, including an immersive week in the Barossa.

FOMENT’s Accelerator Program was designed to help each participating tech startup develop its business model and growth strategy, and connect each to wine and tourism sector networks. 

“The purpose of FOMENT is to increase the amount of technology available to the Australian wine and tourism sectors and increase the uptake by tourism and wine businesses,” says FOMENT Chair Darren Oemcke. “This provides two economic outcomes – competitive wine and tourism operations and the growth of Australia as a hot spot for the development and implementation of new tech.”

Flinders University’s lecturer in Innovation and Enterprise, Carla Dias Wadewitz, said FOMENT was an amazing achievement through a combination of technologies and the support of the
South Australian ecosystem.

“Our aim is to position South Australia as an international hub for wine and tourism tech start-ups to implement their most advanced and efficient technologies and also to create local jobs!” Mrs Dias Wadewitz said.

FOMENT 2020 was supported by the South Australian Government’s Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA),  Wine Australia,  Barossa Australia and the Entrepreneurship Facilitators Scheme.

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