GROW 2019/20 is kindly sponsored by
Winner of the GROW Agri-Tech Business Plan Competition announced
SilviBio is developing a ‘survival capsule’ that will improve the survival of tree seedlings. Its clearly defined proposition and route to market has made its business plan the overall winner of the GROW 2020 agri-tech business plan competition. The result was announced by Calum Murray of Innovate UK, one of the judges.
Dr Belinda Clarke, Director of Agri-TechE, also announced that SilviBio had been the audiences choice. The announcement came at the end of an exciting final in which four early-stage companies pitched their business plans to the judges via Zoom.
Belinda comments: “The portfolio of organisations that were supported through the GROW programme this year were particularly strong. Although SilviBio was the overall winner all the finalists show promise.”
SilviBio innovative seed coating improves survival rates by 40% in drought conditions
The need to grow more trees is globally recognised but germination rates are often poor, particularly where seed is applied directly to the ground in new forest projects and in bareroot forest nurseries where seedlings are vulnerable to water shortage.
SilviBio has developed a seed coating for conifers, the most economically important species, that improves germination by 40 per cent where there is drought stress. innovative bio-formulation creates a survival capsule for the seedling, providing a water source and slow release nutrition. It also creates a favourable environment for the growth of beneficial microorganisms. Read more here.
GROW supporting early-stage innovation
GROW aims to encourage a pipeline of agri-tech innovation by providing support and guidance through a mentoring programme and then access to a range of prizes provided by service providers in the agri-tech cluster. This includes support for patent protection and management, space in incubators, membership of business clubs, access to training and marketing and business advice.
GROW 2019/20 is kindly sponsored by
The judges – Calum Murray, Head of Agriculture and Food at Innovate UK; Kerry Baldwin, Co-Founder of IQ Capital; Rob Alston, director at AF Group; and Andrew McLay, an Innovation Lead for Agriculture at UKRI – reviewed the business plans of all the entrants and selected four companies to go through to the final.
Calum Murray of Innovate UK, the sponsor of GROW, was very pleased with the calibre of each of the finalists: “The business plans presented by all these entrepreneurs show great potential and innovation. Having a sound business model is critically important if innovative technologies are to be successful commercially. Innovate UK is, therefore, delighted to support GROW and encourage the development of ground-breaking technologies and the cluster as a whole.”
AgFunder says providing an evidence-base is crucial in current economic climate
Louisa Burwood-Taylor, Head of Research and Media at AgFunder, was the guest speaker at the GROW final. AgFunder has recently released a report which shows that the UK was one of the most diverse and active agri-tech sectors in Europe. Louisa thought the line-up of finalists at GROW was exciting.
“All the finalists had something distinctive to offer and I am delighted that SilviBio won.
“For me, Farmz2U’s work in Nigeria stood out as very interesting; there is so much untapped opportunity across Africa to increase efficiencies but it’s incredibly challenging to get technologies into the hands of typically smallholder farmers. We have a company in our portfolio working in East Africa called Wefarm that’s successfully brought over 2 million farmers onto its platform by initially providing them with information on any mobile device; they’re now creating a marketplace to help them get access to inputs, so it just goes to show how important it is to create an innovative business model to ensure adoption.”
Given the global pandemic, Louisa predicts that funding will be harder to find in the coming months, and suggests start-ups across the globe focus on validating their technologies as much as possible to have decent results to show investors when capital markets open up again, but also to help speed adoption.
“Collaborations and partnerships with corporations or governments can be a great way to get these results and sometimes start-ups can be paid for that way, which in a tight funding environment will be important. Other than that, start-ups will have to hustle hard to get their technologies into as many farmers’ hands as possible for feedback; the more mature the agtech space becomes, the clearer it becomes that farmers will only consider technologies with a strong value proposition, and in a potential recession they will not entertain anything that’s not going to clearly impact the bottom line positively.”
The GROW 2020 finalists
SilviBio has developed a seed coating for conifers – the most economically important tree species – that improves germination by 40 per cent where there is drought stress. The company has gained the support of Forestry and Land Scotland, the government agency responsible for managing Scotland’s forests and SilviBio is to carry out field trials at its nursery. Read more.
Glaia has developed a new class of plant additives called ‘sugar dots’ that can increase photosynthetic efficiency naturally, increasing yields by up to 20 per cent. The technology, developed by a team at the University of Bristol, has a well-defined mode of action, high efficacy and is patent protected. Read more.
AgriOptimizer is offering rapid, accurate diagnosis of nutrient and health status of growing plants. It uses the plant’s molecular signature as a way to precisely determine plant health issues at an early stage and create a fertiliser with a bespoke prescription. Its AgriOptimizer service can be also used as a testing platform for new agrochemical products. Read more.
Farmz2U aims to bring traditional Nigerian farming practices into the digital age. In a pilot it succeeded in increasing yield by 20 per cent and doubling farm sales. Much of Nigeria’s agricultural data is paper-based with little exploration of historic trends to improve future practices. Farmz2U is digitising this data and combining it with data information on soil composition, weather trends, historic crop yields and animal health to provide tailored advice to farmers delivered by phone. Read more.
The support award prizes
Agro Mavens – one day of consultancy
Allia Future Business Centre – two months’ access to co-working space Appleyard Lees – IP advice and support
Appleyard Lees – IP advice and support
Barclays Eagle Lab – One month club membership
Cambridge Judge Business School – free place on the Ignite Course.
Eastern Agri-Tech Innovation Hub – 6 months’ free license
Incubyte – 12 weeks of hot-desk space and business consultation
Kendalls PR & Marketing – PR Consultation and Audit,
Mathys & Squire – IP advice and support
Norwich Research Park – Virtual tenancy of the Centrum
PwC – free two-hour sessions with a finance partner and with an R&D specialist
Redfox Executive Selection – psychometric testing for up to four people
Rothamsted Enterprises – six months’ free hot-desking
Satellite Applications Catapult – two days of technical consultancy with a leading expert in Earth Observation
Find out more about the support award prizes on the Prizes tab.
Stimulating agri-tech innovation
Agri-TechE is helping to stimulate innovation in agri-tech and to build a cluster of organisations across the value chain.
It provides a single point of access to the latest funding opportunities and is invaluable to those wanting to gain an insider view of the latest agri-tech and opportunities to meet potential investors, partners and customers.
The REAP conference with its Start-Up Showcase has been a launch-pad for many companies. Agri-TechE also hosts regular networking events on topic subjects in the industry and works with international partners to offer introductions to agri-tech hubs overseas.
GROW is the UK’s first business plan competition for agri-tech. Launched in 2015, it ran successfully again in 2016 and 2017, resulting in companies such as Farming Data. After a break of a couple years (running GROW agri-hackathons in 2018 and July 2019) we’re back with the business plan competition for 2019-2020 and we are looking forward to meeting the next batch of agri-tech entrepreneurs.
GROW 2019/20 Judges
Programme Leader, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform, Innovate UK
Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency; its sustainable agriculture and food programme aims to increase productivity while reducing environmental impacts.
Calum studied agriculture and joined ADAS as a farm business adviser covering the Brecklands. After a while in Scotland as a national agricultural specialist for the Bank of Scotland he was transferred back to East Anglia. More recently he joined Innovate UK and has been actively involved in a number of key initiatives such as “Feeding the Future – Innovation requirements for primary food production in the UK to 2030” and as a member of the working group that developed the “UK Strategy for Agricultural Technologies” launched in 2013.
Co-Founder and Managing Partner, IQ Capital
Kerry has over 20 years’ venture capital experience, starting with Venture Technologies, a $50m deep tech fund in 1997 achieving high profile exits including Autonomy (IPO), Whereonearth (Yahoo), Trustbase (SunMicrosytems) and Durlacher (IPO). She also worked with an Italian Venture Capital Fund before co-founding IQ Capital.
Kerry focuses on product, market strategy and team dynamics. She sits on several boards including BMLL, Apperio, Bloomsbury AI, KisanHub and Divido and led Sirigen’s exit (Beckton Dickinson). Kerry sits on the BVCA Venture Capital Committee and is a Fellow in Entrepreneurship at Cambridge University, Judge Business School.
MD of Silfield Ltd, and Board Director at the AF Group
Rob worked in the City for 18 years, before going back to the family business Silfield Ltd, based south of Norwich. Silfield produces wheat, barley, oilseed rape, peas and potatoes across 1700 acres. Silfield also has a Red Poll beef herd and has diversified into property management.
Rob built up years of experience in corporate finance at the likes of Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and NatWest before he managed Silfield Ltd full-time. He is also a Board Director at the AF Group.
Innovation Lead, Innovate UK
Andrew is Innovation Lead for the ISCF Transforming Food Production Challenge. He has a background in agribusiness research and B2B marketing.
Prior to joining Innovate UK, Andrew worked as a strategy consultant for Promar International, the consulting arm of Genus Plc, completing market research, strategy and validation projects across a wide range of industry sectors and countries. Andrew has also held international marketing roles for Australian agri-food organisations including Dairy Australia and Australian Pork Limited. Andrew started his career as a dairy farm advisor in Taranaki, New Zealand.
GROW 2019/20 Additional Prizes
A free day of consultancy
To support Agri-Tech East’s GROW competition, Agro Mavens is offering one winner a fee-free day of consultancy through its newly launched AgPRelude service. Aimed specifically at start-ups and early-stage companies, it’s a menu-driven, pick-and-choose communications and marketing package. Designed to help young companies build confidence in their marketing strategies, it combines expert knowledge and sector-specific creative activity with an agile, commitment-free approach to outsourcing marketing.
In addition to the prize, Agro Mavens will offer the winner 10% discount on any further work instructed within six months.
Agro Mavens is a marketing agency working exclusively with innovators in agriculture and agri-tech. It helps companies to grow market presence and connect with their customers, changing and shaping perceptions and behaviour, and effecting change to drive demand. Whether strategic consulting, brand development, content creation or technical copywriting, its client experience includes crop protection, animal health, nutrition, machinery and a variety of agri-tech applications.
Allia Future Business Centre
Two months’ access to co-working space at Allia Future Business Centre Cambridge, plus five hours of meeting room use
Allia Future Business Centres are a community for start-ups and companies that are creating solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. Their Future Business Centres provide flexible workspace, workshops and makerspaces, plus event and meeting rooms. In addition to inspiring workspace, they also offer venture support programmes and mentoring to early-stage start-ups to accelerate their success and growth.
Allia Future Business Centres are passionate about the protecting the future, so they empower those whose innovations address the UN Sustainable Development Goals, creating social and environmental change at a local or global level. Their innovation centres are strong communities where ventures feel at home and are supported so they can thrive and grow, creating job opportunities and greater positive impact.
IP advice and support
Appleyard Lees is a leading intellectual property law firm, with over 50 patent and trademark attorneys and litigators. With offices in UK innovation hotspots, including Cambridge, it is positioned to give clients expert strategic IP advice in the UK and worldwide.
Appleyard Lees’ team of patent attorneys have a deep knowledge of agri-tech related technologies, such as robotics, artificial intelligence, plant biology, agrochemicals and biological crop protection. This includes attorneys with PhD degrees in subject matters, including plant science and machine learning.
A number of our attorneys have previously worked in-house with UK companies and are particularly experienced in providing commercially relevant advice to their clients.
Its attorneys handle all IP matters, including drafting and filing patent applications, registering trade marks and advising on third party rights.
As a prize in GROW competition, Appleyard Lees is offering IP advice and support. This could be used in drawing up an IP strategy as part of your business plan, help with drafting and filing a patent, trademarking advice or research into the competitive IP landscape. For any additional work over and above the value of the prize, we will also offer a 10% discount on our fees.
One month club membership at an Eagle Lab of the winners choice
Eagle Labs are a growing national network of incubator spaces that provide business incubation, mentoring and co-working and office space for ambitious high-growth businesses as well as digital skills development and rapid prototyping through onsite digital fabrication equipment and Industry 4.0 expertise at many sites.
By cultivating a community of likeminded entrepreneurs through a providing a collaborative work environment, access to their peers and opportunities to maximise growth through digital connections, curated events and funding opportunities, Eagle Labs are able to help start-ups to grow at pace.
Eagle Labs also specialise in positively disrupting key industries by bringing together key corporate players, industry bodies, leading universities and start-ups to enable rapid innovation and investment by asking them to collaborate and currently have dedicated LawTech, HealthTech and AgriTech industry-aligned programmes.
With 25 Eagle Labs across the country and more in the pipeline, their focus is to help to connect, educate and accelerate ambitious UK businesses and entrepreneurs.
Cambridge Judge Business School
A free place on the Ignite Course.
Ignite is a five and half day course which runs every summer at Cambridge Judge Business School. The programme is a structured blend of: keynotes by faculty, practical teaching sessions with industry specialists, one-to-one clinics and mentor sessions. This is augmented by access to a rich network of experienced entrepreneurs and innovators from the Cambridge ecosystem. The experience provides participants with the tools, contacts and confidence to transform ideas into successful business projects or ventures.
The Entrepreneurship Centre at Cambridge Judge Business School aims to inspire, enable and research entrepreneurship. The Centre encompasses the full entrepreneurial journey – starting with the empowerment of aspiring entrepreneurs through to the creation and development of early-stage ventures, all the way to small and medium size enterprise growth.
Eastern Agri-Tech Innovation Hub (NIAB)
6 months’ free license at the Eastern Agri-Tech Innovation Hub
Demonstrating new processes or using the field experimentation facilities as test beds for the latest technologies all fall into the Hub’s remit. Hub users have access to research and business development support, enabling them to introduce novel products and new growing techniques, and to improve productivity and waste reduction.
The Eastern AgriGate Research Hub was set up in 2015 to address the need for growth and development in the horticultural production area in the Fenlands around Soham, and to seek ways of improving sustainable use of resources; including reducing or improving utilisation of the waste streams generated by the farming industry and supply chains.
The Hub is more than just a physical space. It offers businesses an open forum to discuss ideas, get the latest results from research, and find ways to access support and funding streams for further development.
12 weeks (three months) of hot-desk space, and an initial business consultation
Incubyte is delighted to offer the GROW competition winner 12 weeks of complementary hot-desk space located in the co-working hub of IncubyteSpace, alongside an initial business consultation with CEO Rob Precious.
Rob launched Incubyte, the business incubator, in 2017. He is now a consultant, Angel Investor and Advisor to a number of exciting technology start-ups spanning media and entertainment as well as agri-tech.
Additional benefits of the prized hot-desking include:
- Free membership to the onsite health and fitness club
- 10% discount to the onsite cafe and bistro
Incubyte provides entrepreneurs and early stage companies with a dedicated co-working environment in which they can work alongside, and network with, like-minded businesses. Mentoring programmes designed specifically for entrepreneurs working in agri-tech and other deep tech sectors make Incubyte the perfect business incubator for start-ups and scale-ups who seek professional and expert advice.
Kendalls PR & Marketing
PR Consultation and Audit to the value of £1,500
The winner of the Agri-Tech East GROW Business Plan Competition will receive a PR Consultation and Audit, to the value of £1,500. Kendalls will work with the winner to provide PR and Marketing expertise, constructing a PR strategy and plan for a 12 month period.
The prize is valid for 12 months after the day it is awarded and excludes travel expenses.
Kendalls PR & Marketing specialises in agriculture, rural affairs and associated industries, offering a fully integrated range of PR and marketing services, specialising in media relations, issues management, public relations, digital marketing and event management.
Kendalls has a wide range of clients throughout the agricultural, horticultural and land-based sectors, from environment and energy to animal health and arable. As well as looking after clients connected with food, farming and the countryside, their client base also extends to government bodies and agencies, charities, professional firms, local authorities, small businesses and multi-nationals, drawn from a wide range of disciplines.
Mathys & Squire
IP advice and support
Ranked Tier 1 by Legal 500, Mathys & Squire is a world-leading specialist Intellectual Property (IP) firm, providing Patent, Trade Mark, Design and Litigation services in all technology sectors including Life Sciences, Chemistry, IT and Engineering, as well as advising on and filing plant variety rights.
Mathys & Squire has an impressive global client base and act for large UK and multinational clients, as well as smaller start-ups, university spin-outs and technology transfer organisations. They work with a number of agricultural companies, such as Syngenta, Neudorff, Seasol, and Nufarm Australia Ltd. The team has extensive experience in this field, including PhD-level crop research experience in collaboration with multinational agricultural companies.
Norwich Research Park
Virtual tenancy at Centrum, Norwich Research Park
Norwich Research Park is delighted to offer this prize to Agri-Tech East’s GROW Business Plan Competition 2020 winners! A virtual tenancy at Norwich Research Park can help your business to communicate professionalism, establish a local presence and support early growth. This unique prize includes:
- £400 (inc VAT) towards meeting room hire in Centrum, Norwich Research Park’s award-winning hub building
- £200 (inc VAT) towards catering
- 20% discount on meeting room hire (not to be used in conjunction with £400 room hire prize)
- Your business name featured on the Centrum building’s Tenancy Board
- Prime business address on Norwich Research Park and your business details featured on the NRP website
- Mail and package receipt and reception services
- Informal client drop-off/pick-up point
From the soil to human health, Norwich Research Park’s vision is to change lives and rethink society through pioneering research and innovation, reframing the future of research.
NRP has over 3,000 scientists, researchers and clinicians working at the cutting edge of understanding human, plant and soil health, food production and synthetic biology. They are part of a unique community that includes a major university teaching hospital (the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), a leading university (the University of East Anglia) and four internationally significant research institutes: John Innes Centre, Quadram Institute, Earlham Institute and The Sainsbury Laboratory. Taken together, they form one of Europe’s largest centres for research, innovation, education and commercialisation in the food and health sector.
Free two-hour sessions with a finance partner and with an R&D specialist
PwC is offering a free two hour session with an experienced Finance partner to help the winner meet their accounting requirements, as well as a free two hour session with an R&D specialist to help optimise tax credits.
My Financepartner is PwC’s tailored accounting service for ambitious start-ups and fast growing businesses that demand more. Unlike most accountants, My Financepartner is designed to work as an extension to an existing finance team or as an alternative to hiring one at all.
In addition, PwC is offering access to Nifty R&D with 50% off the standard fee. Nifty R&D is a PwC-powered online tool that helps small businesses apply for Research & Development Tax Credits in the UK whilst having access to experience R&D claim professionals. The winner would need to register an account with PwC and answer a few simple questions for PwC to review and complete the claim.
PwC is passionate about start-ups and scale-ups. Working across artificial intelligence, life sciences and AgriTech industry sectors, its clients range from SMEs to some of the most recognised businesses in Cambridge and the South East region.
Redfox Executive Selection
Psychometric testing for up to four people
The team at Redfox Executive Selection are very pleased to offer the opportunity to deploy up to four industry leading Psychometric test reports for your team. Many HR and Development professionals increasingly rely on online conducted psychometrics to play a crucial role in identifying the best candidates or spotting top talent within your business by their use. They can be used to select outstanding talent, learn what motivates those who work in your organisation, understand the strengths and development needs of your people, and standardise your selection/development processes to make them more objective and robust.
Redfox is a Recruitment Consultancy working with key Agri-Business and Fresh Food businesses in the UK and internationally to source the highest calibre mid-management to Board level individuals across all disciplines.
Six months’ free hot-desking
Rothamsted Enterprises prize of six months’ free hot-desking allows users up to 20 hours of hot-desking space per month at the Rothamsted AgriTech Business Centre.
At the heart of agricultural research, Rothamsted Enterprises is a unique hub focused on promoting collaboration and innovation by partnering with commercial agri-tech businesses and opening up the research process.
Rothamsted Enterprises is located on the same campus as Rothamsted Research’s many scientists, so can offer tenant companies access to award-winning expertise in a range of disciplines from genomics to field ecology, and, with their extensive national and international network of collaborative organisations, Rothamsted Enterprises is the perfect partner for collaboration and innovation plans.
Satellite Applications Catapult
Two days of technical consultancy with a leading expert in Earth Observation
The Satellite Applications Catapult is offering two days of technical consultancy with a leading expert in Earth Observation. The Catapult is offering the winner consultancy around the use and exploitation of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data for agricultural applications. Consultancy can include aspects such as training around the basic of SAR, processing and analysis of the data, as well as evaluation of current processing chains and algorithms.
The Satellite Applications Catapult exists to boost UK productivity by helping organisations harness the power of satellite-based services. Their Agriculture strategy is committed to the creation and development of truly sustainable global agri-food supply chains empowered by satellite enabled solutions. With a focus on global sustainable supply chains and high value production, their vision is to unlock industry led commercialisation of satellite enabled products and services through exploiting the Catapult’s non-competitive, neutral trusted status to create strategic partnerships delivering growth and jobs to UK businesses.
A big thank you to the sponsor of GROW 2019/20
Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
The organisation drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base. It has around 300 staff, drawn mainly from business working across the UK, with a head office in Swindon.
With a strong business focus, Innovate UK drive growth by working with companies to de-risk, enable and support innovation by connecting businesses to the partners, customers and investors and funding business and research collaborations.
Since 2007 Innovate UK have committed over £1.8 billion to innovation and across all sectors, which has been matched by a similar amount in partner and business funding. Innovate UK has helped some 8,000 organisations with projects estimated to add more than £16 billion to the UK economy and create nearly 70,000 jobs.
Calum Murray, Innovate UK’s Programme Leader for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform, said of GROW: “The role of Innovate UK is to work with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy. Innovate UK is committed to supporting Agri-TechE and the cluster, and we are very happy to be supporting GROW.”
Read more about Innovate UK on their member page here.
GROW 2019/20 - The Final
The GROW Final will be the culmination of the Agri-TechE 2020 GROW Business Plan Competition. This invitation-only event on 4 June 2020 will be an opportunity to hear pitches from the shortlisted finalists that have been selected by the judges. There will also be an opportunity to hear from our generous Support Award Prize donors who will be helping the winner(s) commercialise their concept. The audience will also have the chance to vote to “invest” in their winner alongside the judges winner.
Keynote Speaker: Louisa Burwood-Taylor
Head of Media & Research at AgFunder
Louisa is Head of Media & Research for AgFunder and chief editor of its news site AFN, bringing over 10 years of financial journalism experience to the team. She has covered a range of financial products and markets during her career, from equity capital markets in Asia to structured bonds in Europe, before turning her attention to food and agriculture over six years ago. She’s also been responsible for launching two publications: an institutional investment intelligence service for the Financial Times and the first-ever title focused on agriculture investment, Agri Investor, for PEI Media.
14.15 Event start (join webinar)
14.30 Welcome and Introduction
Belinda Clarke, Director, Agri-TechE
14.40 Finalist 1 presentation
Followed by introductions to Prize Award Donors: Norwich Research Park | Agromavens | Satellite Applications Catapult | Incubyte
14.55 Finalist 2 presentation
Followed by introductions to Prize Award Donors: Barclays | Eastern Agri-Tech Innovation Hub | Appleyard Lees
15.10 Finalist 3 presentation
Followed by introductions to Prize Award Donors: Kendalls PR & Marketing | Allia Future Business Centre | Mathys & Squire
15.35 Finalist 4 presentation
Followed by introductions to Prize Award Donors: Redfox Executive Selection | Rothamsted Enterprises | Cambridge Judge Business School | PWC
15.50 Keynote address
Louisa Burwood-Taylor, Head of Media & Research, AgFunder
16.10 Judges decision and comments
16.30 Event Close
In 2018 and 2019, our GROW activities took the form of an agri-hackathon, providing industry expertise and technologies to “sprint” towards developing exciting new ideas for agriculture.
48 hours to save the world!
Changes to the UK climate will impact our ability to produce food – predictions include periods of too much or too little water, increasing average and extreme temperatures, and sea level rise.
However with the right approaches and technologies there is an opportunity to mitigate these impacts and to embrace the change.
If constraints such as water availability and soil fertility are managed, agriculture and forestry may be able to increase production with warmer weather and longer growing seasons. Offering adaptation-related goods and services may provide economic opportunities for UK businesses in global markets.
Necessity is the mother of invention – so our second Hackathon called on you to rise to the biggest challenge and think about solutions.
48 hours to feed the world!
Ideas can change the world … for the better
At our first Hackathon we gave participants a couple of days to feed the world.
Solutions emerged for improved use of big data in agriculture, unexpected innovations for vertical farming, and the winner, deployment of gaming technologies to identify weeds in the field. Several of these concepts are now being progressed.
Articles about GROW
GROW 2019/20 Terms and Conditions
- The Agri-Tech Business Plan Competition (hereafter “the Competition”) welcomes business plans describing new commercial opportunities based around new products or services to help increase the productivity, efficiency and sustainability of agricultural and horticultural production, or downstream food processing.
- In this context, “agriculture” refers to crop and livestock production and management. “Horticulture” refers to fresh produce, ornamentals, fruit, nuts, algae, herbs and seeds. Both food and non-food crops are within scope of the Competition.
- Applications should demonstrate a degree of innovation which may, for example, be either technology-based or built around new business models. They should clearly describe how they would help meet one or more of the objectives of improving productivity, efficiency or sustainability within agriculture or horticulture. Innovations based on crop bioscience or chemistry, novel engineering solutions, or ICT/systems based ideas are all within scope. Business plans relating to retail (such as farm shops, for example), or business diversification (such as tourism, equine, or repurposing of farm buildings into, for example, business units) are not in scope for this Competition.
- The innovation may have application and impact outside the UK, but the founding entrepreneur must be resident in the UK and intend founding the business within the UK.
- Plans that describe a fictitious business idea, or are based on imaginary science or technology are not eligible. They must describe a real-world innovation with which the applicant(s) have freedom-to-operate. Where know-how or intellectual property exists that underpins the proposed plan, applicants must either own, or have secured this prior to submission of the plan.
- Applicants must declare the date, amount and source of any funding (public or private) which has already been secured to develop the innovation or business. Applicants do not have to have a registered business to develop the innovation, however those that are already incorporated must clearly explain how this is expected be a new commercial entity. Plans that describe amendments or expansions to existing businesses or companies are not eligible for the Competition.
- The Competition will open on 6th November 2019. Applicants must register an expression of interest by 28th February 2020 for successful assignation of a mentor. Plans will not by accepted without prior assignation of a mentor. Closing date for submission of business plans is 15th April 2020. No plans will be accepted after that date.
- Applications should submit a Business Plan comprising no more than 12 pages (including Appendices) to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Postal entries will not be accepted unless with the express written permission of a representative of Agri-TechE. No additional information will be accepted, but contact details of the lead applicant must be provided as a condition of entry. A template for submissions has not been provided; part of the judging process will be clarity of the plans and the information the applicant(s) choose to include.
- Plans will be sifted by an expert panel comprising key stakeholders from the agri-tech, investment and business communities. A short-listed group of finalists will be invited to deliver a presentation of no more than 10 minutes (plus up to an additional 10 minutes for Judges’ questions) to a panel of Judges, from whom the winner(s) will be selected. The Judges’ decision is final and no further correspondence will be entered into, unless with the express agreement of individual Judge(s) and applicants(s). The Final will be held on 4th June 2020.
- Non-disclosure agreements will not be entered into by the mentors, judges, Support Award Prize donors, or employees of Agri-TechE. Applicants submit their ideas and plans under the explicit understanding of this.
- Any publicity surrounding the winner(s) will be discussed and agreed between the winner(s), Agri-TechE and/or representatives of both parties where appropriate to prevent inappropriate disclosures.
- Applicants may submit more than one business plan, but each winning plan can receive only one cash prize and up to three Support Award Prizes in total.
- Winner(s) will receive a cash prize as well as further Support Award Prizes to develop their business plan into commercial reality.
- One first-prize winner receive a cash prize and will have the choice of up to three Support Award Prizes. Further prizes will be distributed only at the discretion of Agri-TechE and the Support Award donors.
- Support Award Prizes may include, but are not limited to, additional mentoring/coaching, access to investors, provision of short-term business accommodation to help start the company, and ongoing support to network within the business ecosystem.
- Support Award Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash or equivalent liquid funds.
- Support Award Prizes must be used within 12 months of the date of announcement; any Support Award Prizes not used after this time may be forfeited.
- The Support Award Prizes are provided at the absolute discretion of the donors. Agri-TechE and its representatives accept no responsibility or liability for the Support Award Prizes, the nature of the Support Award Prizes provided by the donor, or any consequences resulting from the selection and delivery of the Support Award Prizes.