‘Never too big for your home town’
“You’re never too big for your home town”.
That’s the motto Rockhampton tech millionaire Bevan Slattery lives by.
Mr Slattery, who is now based in Brisbane with his family, returned home last week to partake in some Beef Australia 2021 activities.
He was among the panel of judges at the Pitch in the Paddock, dubbed the “Shark Tank” of agriculture technology.
Black Box Co, a software data start-up, took out the win, with a $10,000 cheque to take home.
There were nine finalists with a range of pitches from a castration knife handle, software for truck drivers, pig trap, floating water level sensor, software and apps.
“I loved it, the thing I liked about it, it was so diverse in every respect,” Mr Slattery said.
“You had businesses that were really early on in their cycle, that were at the product end and were expanding ….an incredibly safe low-cost castration device and artificial intelligence data lag that they are going to use in the beef industry … you couldn’t get more diverse.”
While there was only one winner, a number of the finalists saw direct investment from the judges.
Mr Slattery pledged to donate $12,000 to Rob Stewart’s castration knife handle product – and doesn’t expect anything in the return.
“That device, I hate to think how many people get injured by it,” Mr Slattery said.
“They both walked away with the result in the end … I’m just happy to support him.”
The founder behind many telecommunication and IT companies, Mr Slattery is a busy man.
He doesn’t participate in a lot of judging events but when he got the call up for Beef 2021, he couldn’t say no.
Former government minister Kate Jones, who now works for Mr Slattery, told him “you are never too big for your home town”.
“For me it’s not something I normally do (judging), so I was really excited to come back to my hometown,” he said.
“I was petrified to be quite honest because I knew we would be given such a diverse range of ideas.
“I thought, I hope I don’t mess this up.”
Getting the chance to speak with the finalists, judges and guests at the event, Mr Slattery said it was great to be able to connect with everyone.
His proud parents were among the crowd at the event.
“Often when I come here, it is to do things with family … but I really have enjoyed the time I have spent at Beef Week,” he said.
He has promised to come home more often.
“I am really going to start coming back for local events like this,” he said.
“Whether I have the opportunity to meet business people or entrepreneurs, where I can just be in a community of people that are just trying to make a difference.
“I am glad to be back and committed to come back for more of these kind of events.”
Beef Australia 2024 is already marked on his calendar.
“It’s so unique, Beef Week always has been,” he said.
“It’s so good for the economy and community, it’s a great vibe and I love to be involved in it and I will be back in three years’ time.”