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Business incubators and accelerators: 2 game changers for ag tech innovators

2.5 min read

Worldwide agricultural technology investment hit an all-time high of US$4.9 billion in 2019. And that momentum is continuing to build.

But start-ups and entrepreneurs need training, mentorship, financial support and networking opportunities to get new products to market. Much of that support is available through services provided by accelerators and incubators.

Incubators tend to develop disruptive new ideas by focusing the innovation. If you’ve been thinking of a new way of doing things for a while but aren’t sure where to take your idea, start here.

Accelerators support early-stage growth and scale-up of an innovation, typically for just a few months. Their purpose is — as their name suggests — to accelerate development through intense focus and learning. The start-up moves forward at a rapid pace, accomplishing very quickly what would normally take years.

Incubators and accelerators are game changers for innovators and entrepreneurs [and] for the industries that ultimately realize positive impacts from access to tech innovation.

Both incubators and accelerators are game changers for innovators and entrepreneurs – providing a strong start, even helping set up demo days or launches. They are also game changers for the industries that ultimately realize positive impacts from access to tech innovation. Most accelerators will support a wide range of technologies applicable to many sectors.

Greentronics is a small precision technology company in Elmira, Ont., that has developed tools to help potato growers automate record-keeping, virtually eliminating complicated manual entries.

Another Ontario company developed CropTracker management software for fruit and vegetable growers, now used internationally. Brian Rideout has used the system since its infancy on his family’s farm near Blenheim, Ont. It gives him the full history of a basket of peaches, from when trees were pruned and what they were sprayed with to when fruit was stored, trucked and sold. That information is critical to his national food safety certification, now required by most produce buyers.

“The real-time record-keeping makes management more efficient, and every year we’re finding new ways to use it,” he says.

Both companies were supported by Bioenterprise Corporation, an Ontario-based organization that’s now Canada’s only national agri-food focused accelerator.  “Canada’s agriculture and agri-food innovation ecosystem is highly fragmented and under-funded, and it’s long been our vision to create an environment that is more collaborative, more co-operative and more national,” says CEO Dave Smardon.

That vision caught the attention of FCC and prompted their support for an expansion of Bioenterprise’s accelerator services with a focus on mentorship, networking and training opportunities.

If you’re entrepreneurial, inventive or innovative, reaching out to an incubator or accelerator may be the step you need to take to realize your dream and achieve commercial success.

From an AgriSuccess article by Lilian Schaer.

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