RAU’s Farm491 joins others to form new Gloucestershire Agri-Tech Partnership

The Royal Agricultural University’s agri-tech incubator Farm491 has joined up with key organisations throughout the county to form The Gloucestershire Agri-Tech Partnership, a new collaborative group to promote growth and innovation in the agri-tech sector.

As the world grapples with the challenges from climate change, as well as increasingly strained supply chains and food security, innovation in the agri-tech sector is key to providing solutions to these issues.

Gloucestershire has the largest, and fastest growing, network of high growth small and medium sized agri-tech enterprises in the UK and one of the largest concentrations of agricultural education. The sector in Gloucestershire was valued at almost £1.5 billion pre-Covid and supports more than 50,000 jobs in the county’s wider economy.

Alongside Farm491, the founding members of the group are food science and technology consultancy Campden BRI, Hartpury University and College’s Agriculture Agri-tech Centre and Tech Box Park, and the University of Gloucestershire’s Countryside & Community Research Group (CCRI).

Sarah Carr, Head of Farm491, said; “Forming this group has already been so valuable in sharing ideas and resources. We have some exciting plans in the pipeline which will further add to the county’s offering of business support to Agri-Tech businesses.”

As well as supporting businesses in the country by identifying key opportunities and challenges to innovation and growth, the group’s main goal is to collaborate and showcase the sector’s unique and bespoke capabilities to start-ups and high growth businesses across the globe, attracting new technology-driven businesses into the area.

The ability for companies to test their new products and services on demonstration farms and various incubators, alongside bespoke support in developing business plans, accessing finance, and linking to prospective investors and customers, provides a solid platform for businesses to innovate and grow. 

The Group, which meets on a bi-monthly basis, has been set up by Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership GFirst LEP and will work alongside the county’s cyber platform CYNAM to support activities related to cyber security, a key issue in an increasingly digital world.

Dev Chakraborty, Deputy Chief Executive of GFirst LEP, said: “It’s fantastic that Gloucestershire’s centres of excellence in agri-tech are working together to showcase to the world what we can offer; attracting exciting growing firms to the county and supporting the expansion of firms already here.”