So after some Googling and a few intro emails, I lined up a visit to the New Caledonian Government’s team in charge of innovation.
They were really welcoming and explained that their government is taking innovation seriously, working closely with the University of New Caledonia. They are concentrating on what they have on their doorstep that distinguishes them, and have split this into three.
- The marine cluster started in 2012, covering aquaculture, microalgae, a prawn-specific centre and a research centre. Among other things they are trying to work out how to exploit fish waste!
- The land cluster started in 2013, covering apiculture (bees) and tropical root research as well as sustainable farming techniques and water management.
- The innovation cluster started in 2014, and aims to put all this (and more) together in a commercial way.
I did try to use my “another glass of red wine please” French but basically they were all way better in English than I was in French so language was no problem. Their startup scene is in its early infancy and obviously their market is smaller than Australia’s in all regards, but just as we are smaller than the US, it hasn’t stopped either of us seeing the importance of innovation and giving it a damn good try.