The power of flour 

Second-generation banana-grower Rob Watkins can clearly remember his business sliding door moment, after watching one too many cyclones devastate his plantations.

The North Queenslander had an idea to gather the enormous volume of unwanted green bananas damaged by a cyclone, and develop a world-first, gluten free banana flour.

Ten years on, Natural Evolution is now a lot more than that, and the ongoing support of the Entrepreneurs’ Programme, has allowed the company to find partners and give back to the community.

Based in Walkamin, west of Cairns, Rob and his wife Krista have invested heavily in a facility that is now producing a much wider range of Aussie superfoods, for not just humans.

“We needed to figure out how to get these waste products into a form that people and animals’ lives could benefit from, and that big gap in the middle, the innovation space, is something we are really, really good at.” said Krista.

Natural Evolution is now at a point of exploring exciting new markets, including Europe, and a $31,000 grant in 2018 focused the strategy around building brand and developing products.

We’re trying to show in agriculture, that you don’t just have to be a farmer. We want to be the processor, the sales guy, the marketers, and we found strong value in that with the Entrepreneurs’ Programme...
— Rob Watkins,  Founder and Director, Natural Evolution

The Watkins’ credit the expertise and support from the program’s facilitator - Mario Martini - as a key part of their business planning. Mario says it’s his job to maximise the innovation potential of their ideas.

“[The Entrepreneurs’ Programme] is a port of call to have that conversation around ideas. Facilitators like myself, all around the country, have these conversations every day. Where that leads is really the next step.” said Mario

With a growing staff of almost 20 fulltime employees, Natural Evolution is continue to solidly build markets in China and Japan, and continues to set the superfood agenda using innovation, and lots and lots of green bananas.

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