Harper Adams University: Programme aimed at boosting agri-tech and agri-food start-ups set to return this spring

A successful ‘pre-accelerator’ programme aimed at boosting sapling agri-tech and agri-food start-ups is set to return this Spring.

Cultivate 2.0, run by Harper Adams University in partnership with Barclays Eagle Labs, follows the first successful year of the programme delivered by the partnership. This saw agri-tech and agri-food businesses from all across the UK come together for a fully-funded 10-week programme which helped them to take their work to the next level.

Since taking part in the programme last year, participants have gone on to secure sector awards for their work, forge new partnerships, refine their current business practices – and more.

Among those who took part in 2021 was Dave Kilby, Founder and CEO of innovative data app development company Coreo, whose apps are used to build tools for surveying for ecological, agricultural and educational use.

He said: “I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this programme to anyone looking for a thought provoking and supportive dive into the fundamentals of getting an agri-tech business off the ground.

“Whatever stage you’re at, from idea to MVP, there’ll be something in Cultivate that will help your business grow.”

Applications are now open, with the programme due to start on May 4 with an introductory event where Cultivate 2.0 businesses get to meet their fellow participants, their guest lecturers and more.

In addition to the support being driven by Harper Adams, participants will gain access to the facilities and services of UK-wide Eagle Labs network throughout the programme, which includes co-working and ‘makerspaces’ for rapid prototyping, with equipment including laser cutters, 3D printers and electronics stations, as well as exclusive access to community events.

Rebecca Payne, Head of the Department of Food, Land and Agri-Business at Harper Adams University, said: “The initial Cultivate programme was a fantastic success – hearing how our participating businesses were responding to the programme was a fascinating insight into each.

“We have used those insights to refine Cultivate even further for its second incarnation, and are really pleased we are able to build on the success of last year and come back with an even better programme.”

And Adam White, Barclays Head of Agriculture, added: “I’m pleased to be supporting Cultivate 2.0, in conjunction with Barclays Eagle Labs and Harper Adams University. There are opportunities for early stage businesses to take their work to the next level for UK Agriculture and Barclays expertise in the Agriculture sector positions us well to support.”

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