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Gloucestershire Business News

Agritech collaboration promises innovation boost to sector

A county agritech innovation centre is joining force with a centre in Hertfordshire to help members drive growth in the agriculture sector.

Farm491, an agritech business incubator based at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) in Cirencester, is partnering with Rothamsted Enterprises, based 100 miles away in Harpenden, which specialise in AgriTech innovation and research.

The mutually beneficial arrangement promises to accelerate potential agricultural innovations by providing entrepreneurs with cutting edge resources and information. With a projected global population of 10 billion predicted by 2050, advancements in agritech are key to both finding food supply chain solutions for a growing population and maintaining a healthy planet.

Farm491 will be dedicating mentoring time and one-to-one support around scalable agrifood business issues from their entrepreneur in residence, Luke Halsey, and outreach manager, Sarah Carr. They will also give Rothamsted members access to key stakeholder networks, such as farmers, industry experts and investors, plus access to their insightful workshops.

In return, Farm491 members can use services at Rothamsted Enterprises, which includes state-of-the-art facilities, world-leading scientists, a vibrant calendar of events and seminars, 800 acres of experimental farmland, glasshouses and controlled growth environments, microscopy and analytical chemistry team.

Sarah Carr, outreach manager at Farm491, said: "After meeting some of the fantastic innovative tenants that are part of the Rothamsted Enterprise ecosystem, it made complete sense to partner and create a more cohesive approach to tackling the many barriers that agri-entrepreneurs face when trying to scale in the agrifood sector."

The new partnership aims to enable agritech and agrifood start-up businesses from both institutes to prosper, with a wider range of resources available to them.

Asmaa Shariff, head of client services and innovation programmes at Rothamsted Enterprises, said: "We're really excited to have joined forces with Farm491 to offer even more support to our tenants. Luke and Sarah's extensive experience in agritech start-ups and scale-ups, as well as their contacts around the UK and internationally, will open up many more opportunities to our community of agritech SMEs."

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