Innovation Insights showcases growth of agri-tech cluster
submitted 1 year, 8 months ago by holdsworth

Just four years after it launched at the agricultural show, Agri-Tech East is hosting a new ‘Innovation Insights’ event at Cereals 2018. Around 30 of its member organisations from across the value-chain will be giving two-minute elevator pitches, providing a snapshot of how the diverse cluster has developed.
Director Dr Belinda Clarke comments: “Agri-Tech East was established with the recognition that to create true innovation you need to provide novel solutions to industry problems. By bringing scientists and technologists from different fields together with potential end-users and industry experts we have facilitated the rapid growth of a thriving agri-tech sector.
“Our membership is now national and international and we are particularly delighted to see so many early stage companies and young entrepreneurs attracting the interest and support of the farming community.”
Antony Yousefian is the Director UK of the international smart sensing company 30MHz, which now supports a number of clients in the sector; however his knowledge of farming was initially very limited.
“Agriculture is not like any of other industry; it is incredible how Agri-Tech East has really enabled our understanding and helped us to navigate the vast agriculture world. Innovation and the will to innovate is in abundance in UK agriculture, though sometimes it needs someone to light the match. This is what Agri-Tech East does best and we are proud to be a member.”
Angshujyoti Das, founder and CEO of Express Weather, came into contact with Agri-Tech East when Dr Clarke presented at a conference at Hyderabad. It designs and implements weather stations.
He says: “Our Farmneed app is running successfully among Indian horticulture growers. We see a good opportunity for such a bespoke data and content delivery engine for the European and African markets where agriculture is facing tremendous risk from climate change. We were in search of an opportunity to understand more deeply and collaborate with the ecosystem, so meeting with Agri-Tech East during mid 2017 came like a fortune. We are participating in ‘Cereals’ with open mind and eyes.”
It is particularly rewarding that younger entrepreneurs are seeing agri-tech as an exciting sector. Olombria was set up after a successful student project, and is developing an ‘alternative pollinator’ for the fruit industry.
Co-founder and CEO Tashia Tucker comments: “We first got involved during the REAP conference last year and then joined as a ‘Seedling’ level membership. The support we have been given has been invaluable. It has helped us accelerate our knowledge of key organisations relevant to our work, and the diverse events that we have attended so far have introduced us to some key partners, expanded our understanding of different funding mechanisms as well as facilitated media exposure that has allowed us to reach a wider audience.
“We are looking forward to taking part in the Innovation Insights event during Cereals 2018 and the opportunity to discuss our work with the other attendees.”
Pascale Martin of start-up Agronomex participated in the GROW agri-tech business plan competition, which provides mentoring and support for entrepreneurs with a strong business concept. Pascale was one of the finalists in 2017 and pitched to potential investors and partners her plan for an online B2B fruit and vegetables marketplace.
She says this was the springboard she needed: “Agri-Tech East has been very supportive, providing feedback and making introductions. Additionally, through the events organised over the year, it has created a unique ecosystem that has facilitated communication between the different actors of the industry, which is extremely important for a young company like ours.”
There will be an opportunity to hear from a wide range of members at the Innovation Insights marquee on Day 1 of Cereals, Wednesday 13th June, from 3 - 5 pm.
Find out more at www.agritech-east.co.uk

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