GROW is the UK’s first agri-tech business plan competition. It aims to support entrepreneurs get their innovations from business concept to a business plan that can attract potential partners and funders.
Alex Dinsdale of Agri-TechE is coordinating this year’s competition which has just closed its applications. He is excited about the calibre of the entrants and says: “We’ve got some great individuals in the competition this year, from students looking to leverage their research and technical expertise, to entrepreneurial farmers who have spotted a niche in the market, and business-focussed scientists seeking to help improve the bottom line of farming.
“We’re really looking forward to learning more about them and their exciting business plans in another few weeks.”
Agri-TechE’s GROW business plan competition presents a fabulous opportunity for early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs to get ahead.
Alex continues: “GROW provides a great opportunity to showcase not only the individual entrepreneurial talent within our sector, but also to help reinforce the breadth of opportunities in agriculture, and the fact that it is such a dynamic and inspiring place to work.”
The competition itself has made a number of valuable, direct contributions to the agri-tech field. Finalists from previous years, which include, for example, FarmingData and SmartBell, have been able to use the business support packages offered by the competition to help them develop their plans into collaborative projects and early-stage businesses.
Alex explains: ” The competition gives young or start-up businesses – or more established businesses with an innovative and entrepreneurial concept – an opportunity for profile, recognition and the chance to learn from and network with established businesses already operating in the sector.
“The agri-tech cluster is a supportive environment for developing a business and competition participants receive valuable insight from an established business mentor. Further support is available from incubators across the region.”
The GROW prizes – all generously donated by Agri-TechE members – include patent and IP advice, help with gaining new market insights, choosing and building the right team, incubator and lab space as well as PR, finance and accounting support.
“It’s currently too early to say whether or not the workshop on 18th May and the final on 4th June will be physical or virtual events. While our obvious preference would be to meet face-to-face, we’re working on contingency plans to hold these events online, and details of this will be circulated in due course. However, we’re not going to let COVID-19 get in the way of this fantastic opportunity for business our sector and we’re really looking forward to meeting the next batch of agri-tech entrepreneurs, ” Alex says.
Entrants to the competition have already been linked up with their mentors, established players from within the sector, and they are busy putting together their business plans with advice from their mentors.
Closing date for submission of these plans, to firstname.lastname@example.org, is the 15th of April, and the business plans themselves should comprise no more than 12 pages (including Appendices). Upon receipt of the finished business plans, they will be put to a judging panel of experts who will short-list those to go through to the final.
Workshop – In preparation for the judging panel, finalists will attend a workshop on 18th May ( format to be confirmed) to gain advice on creating a compelling presentation.
The final will take place on 4th June 2020. Following an individual interview with the judging panel, finalists will each make a ten-minute presentation to an audience of industry experts, which will be followed by a Q&A. The winner(s) will be announced on the same day.