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Gloucestershire Business News

Inspiring AgriTech Innovation Bootcamp "an absolute triumph"

The first Inspiring AgriTech Innovation (IAI) bootcamp took place on March 15th and 16th at the Farm491 Trent Lodge site and attendees have praised it as an absolute triumph.

The bootcamp allowed them to reevaluate ideas, channel their focus, ambition and of course make valuable contacts that will support the development of their business propositions for the wider agritech sector.

The IAI programme, set-up by the Royal Agricultural University's (RAU) agritech incubation hub Farm491 at Cirencester, co-funded by RAU and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), concentrates on a series of free bootcamp sessions to facilitate the development of a new wave of agritech entrepreneurs.

Aspiring individuals, early stage start-ups and SME's are all invited to register interest for the sessions to gain valuable learning and support from industry experts. After submitting business proposals, applicants are assessed and selected for this highly valuable mentoring initiative that will really help get their business off the ground and scaled for success.

The first bootcamp saw eight delegates with a range of business ideas and a series of bootcamp dates have been scheduled for throughout the year. The next two-day course will take place on the 10th and 11th May, 2018.

Attendee Wayne Cumming said the bootcamp was 'totally worthwhile' providing 'realistic and useful' information that provided him with exciting and much clearer clarity to develop his business. Alex Stephens, another delegate, said the course was 'brilliant and highly recommended'. He added that since returning home and looking back over the bootcamp experience, he has completely re-structured his thinking. IAI has given him a better outlook on innovation and above all, refreshed him as an entrepreneur.

The IAI start-up bootcamp was structured around a flow of interactive seminars and workshops. After introductions from Farm491 Programme Manager, Ali Hadavizadeh (pictured top with a delegate)) , Dr Hugh Martin (Principal Lecturer in Agricultural Science at Royal Agricultural University) kicked off the day with 'what is agritech and why is it important'.

Agritech global trends were addressed by Dr Karen Rial-Lovera (Lecturer in Agricultural Engineering at RAU) before Rod Horrocks (University of Gloucestershire) discussed motivation and ideation, sharing guidance on how to think entrepreneurially.

During interactive activities delegates presented their business propositions back to the group, touching on motivation, idea, impact and sustainability. In a later session Rod also looked at the value proposition and being an innovator; how to size the market, seek an opportunity and identify users (beneficiaries), customers and stakeholders.

Farm491 Service Providers were invited to provide short talks on how they support entrepreneurs including Gavin Allen, founder of Glideology. He shared his lessons learned and experience on his own entrepreneurial journey.

Delegate, Guy Middleton said; "I would 110% recommend for anyone with an idea they want to get off the ground. After the 2 days I left the conference full of confidence and understanding of where to start and where to turn next with my idea."

Sharon Smith of Horse Logic joined the bootcamp to take some time away from the day to day issues to step back and review her business proposition. She says she now feels 'better equipped to get through a difficult transition period.'

Day two of the bootcamp saw more engaging and inspiring topics discussed, from management, leadership and metrics to business structures and finance fundamentals. Guest Speaker for the day was Dr David Bozward, Principle Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at the RAU.

During the final session of the program Ali Hadavizadeh and Matt Penneycard, Farm491 Investor in Resident (lower picture) , jointly presented options on company structures, funding routes and types of support available from Farm491. Delegates concluded the bootcamp with short presentations back to the group.

Ali Hadavizadeh, Farm491 Programme Manager concluded; "We had a total of eight entrepreneurs with a diverse range of ideas attending and at the end they went away feeling challenged and energised in their resolve to progress their ideas to a long term sustainable business. My thanks and congratulations to all the participants as well as contributors"

Farm491 has already received applications from some amazing entrepreneurs, all signed up for bootcamp #2 scheduled to take place on 10th & 11th May. The hub is still eager to take fresh applications so potential candidates with an agritech idea should be encouraged to register now.

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