Centre for Research & Enterprise
Events Diary

Tuesday 23rd May 2017

WHERE WOULD YOU PUT YOUR MONEY? PUNTERS' CHOICE FOR AGRI-ENTREPRENEURS

National GROW agri-tech business plan competition demonstrates peer-to-peer funding

Finalists of the prestigious UK-wide GROW agri-tech business plan competition will have to win the backing of an audience and secure virtual peer-to-peer funding at the event in June. GROW enables budding entrepreneurs with innovative ideas within the agricultural sector to turn their ideas into business plans – the winner receiving funding to take their business plan to the next stage. The process of pitching to the audience is an exciting twist to this year’s competition which sees corporate financier and farm managing director, Robert Alston, guide the finalists through the event. Robert is chairman of AF Finance Limited, an agricultural pooled collective investment scheme that provides cash flow management for farmers. He is also MD of his family’s farming business, Silfield Limited.

“I’m looking forward to GROW this year; it excites me to see something that could be the ‘next big thing’ in the industry, challenging the status quo,” said Robert.

The final of GROW 2017 will feature pitches from early-stage agri-entrepreneurs, drawn from across the UK, looking for their first break into the industry. Pitches include new digital platforms to improve access to market for niche producers, improved techniques and tools for soil analysis, and innovative cultivation systems for urban farming. Robert will provide his expert insight into the current climate for agri-tech investment. Before returning to manage the family farm in Norfolk full-time, he worked in the City for 18 years, at Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan. “There is a lot of interest in agri-tech and a huge wall of money looking for investment,” said Robert. “Everyone understands agri-tech is essential, but no one quite knows where to put their money – it’s such a broad topic.” The winner will be selected by a judging panel, but the audience of seasoned investors, potential partners, farmers and advisers will also have an opportunity to vote.

For Robert, the team is as important as the idea. He said: “I am encouraged by people who really understand the industry, can get on with it and make it happen. Often business plans and markets change, so have you got the right people that can make it work? “You have to be able to adapt quickly in this market and get something out there and prove it. And it must be addressing a problem that is real for farmers now.”

Dr Belinda Clarke, Director of Agri-Tech East comments: “Everyone is warmly invited to the final of GROW, to hear competitive pitches from agri-entrepreneurs across the UK. Our finalists will not only try to win over our panel of judges, but also a voting audience.”

The final of the GROW agri-tech business plan competition will take place on 19 June at Agrii’s Throws Farm Technology Centre, Stebbing, with support from Innovate UK. The event is free but registration is necessary: click here to register your attendance.

 

Wednesday 7th September 2016

RoCRE is delighted to be sponsoring the Start-Up Showcase at REAP 2016

REAP (Realising our Economic Agricultral Potential) is taking place on 9 November at the Wellcome Genome Campus . "Improving yields is about finding and dealing with limiting factors. Some farmers have increased yields by 50-100% and it wasn’t by doing more of what they had already been doing,” says REAP keynote speaker Gary Zimmer, a charismatic biological farmer and president of Midwestern BioAg. Leading farmers and scientists will be joined by technologists from Bayer, BT, Fujitsu, Lockheed Martin and PA Consulting to discuss the potential of disruptive innovations to revolutionise the industry and boost the agri-economy.

 The conference will feature panel sessions, emerging agri-tech research, a technical exhibition, and showcase the hottest start-ups. More details are available on the REAP website.

 

Friday 12th August

Agri-Tech Business Incubation Open Day, Friday 9th September  from 11am to 3pm

Are you a start-up Agri-Tech business? Do you want to be an integral part of a globally important community? The world renowned Rothamsted Research Campus has a limited number of incubation spaces for start-up AgriTech companies. Located just 30 minutes from London, and with access to over 400 hectares of field trial sites, this is a unique opportunity to join our vibrant, growing community. Meet with onsite companies and research scientists, along with tours of both office and lab incubation facilities. You will also visit the exciting Lawes Open Innovation Hub and the see some of the scientific services that are available to you as a start-up including the unique Soil and Seed Sample Archive, BioImaging, Controlled Growth Environments and the Analytical Services. You will also enjoy a complementary lunch and afternoon cream tea, freshly prepared by our kitchen team at the international Rothamsted Conference Centre.   

Flexible office space is available from just £90 per month. Details of special rates for lab space will be available on the day.

 Places are strictly limited so to reserve your place now. Please click here.

 

Tuesday 17th May 2016

 A Sense of Place - Geomatics Meets Soil Management

The recent launch of the new Sentinel satellites, part of the European Union’s Copernicus Earth observation programme, has the potential to help farmers take precision agriculture to a new level, along with a host of other land monitoring uses. Sentinel data will create a major opportunity for service providers, and can be applied within agri-tech. Sentinel is part of the Copernicus Earth observation programme, which includes six families of satellites, each with a different focus, and thousands of sensors in land, sea and air to help monitor Earth. This satellite network provides data sources that could be used for precision farming, disease prediction or drought warning. The Agri-Tech East Special Interest Group meeting “A Sense of Place - Geomatics Meets Soil Management” on 17th May will provide technology developers with an opportunity to meet farmers and growers and understand better how to bring a geo-spatial focus to information gathering. There will also be discussion of how data from different sources could be integrated and what users would require from this.

Find out more at www.agritech-east.co.uk/events

 

Tuesday 7th June

LabX: Excellence in Laboratory Equipment, Creation and Sample Storage

• 40+ sessions, from 12 universities and research institutes + exhibitors.
• Very low cost tickets for university, research institutes and other lab users
• Best practice, case studies and innovation in sample storage and management; equipment (autoclaves, chillers, cryo and freezers, dryers, growth chambers, imaging, pipetting and more), chemicals, energy efficiency and more.
• Core facilities/sharing - what works and future developments.
• Specialised design - for easily reconfigurable innovation space, and for controlled/high heatload environments.
• Specialist lab updates - security regs, procurement frameworks, costing methods.
• Technical Careers/CPD - Imperial’s new initiative + professional body updates.
• Tours of Rothamsted imaging, innovation, plant growth & sample storage facilities

For more details, please visit http://www.effectivelab.org.uk/rothamsted

Have a look at the forthcoming events on the Rothamsted Research website.

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