Call for Worcestershire businesses to diversify into agri-tech

An innovative new project aiming to promote entrepreneurship and support Worcestershire’s agri-tech sector is set to launch its development programme next month at Pershore College.

GrowAgri Worcestershire, a £2m joint initiative between the college and the European Regional Development Fund, is tasked with supporting the development of technologies for use in the horticultural and agricultural industries.

The project is being led by the Worcestershire LEP-funded Agri-Tech Research Centre based at the college and will deliver tailored business support through a range of seminars, workshops, technical demonstrations and bespoke consultancy.

The initiative aims to support business growth, increased productivity and the introduction of new products, processes and services and is open to all small to medium-sized Worcestershire businesses.

Agricultural technologies are classed as any innovation that makes horticulture or agriculture more efficient, productive and profitable. They can be derived from science, technology, engineering or social innovation – alone or in combination. The resulting innovation can be a product or service, chemical or material, hardware or software.

Leader of the agri-tech programme at Pershore College, Professor Roy Kennedy, said: “Growers and farmers face a set of issues more challenging than at any other time in our history. Climate change, ever-shrinking biodiversity and powerful market forces dominate farming methods. It is a time of challenge but also of great opportunity.

“We therefore invite Worcestershire businesses to Pershore’s Agri-tech Research Centre to be trained in innovative technologies and work on projects to help develop solutions to the many challenges facing the agriculture and horticulture sector.”

Interested parties are invited to attend a business breakfast launch event at Pershore College on Wednesday 13 November at 7.30am where they will be able to hear more about the programme and the introductory set of seminars scheduled for late winter 2019 and spring 2020.

GrowAgri Project Manager, Mark Harwood-Browne said: “This project will be of particular interest to engineers, food technologists, agronomists, systems analysts or anyone who develops technologies that could be transferable across different industrial sectors.

“However, it is also a unique opportunity for Worcestershire enterprises not familiar with the sector to establish key contacts and get an introduction to horticulture and agriculture.”

The project also has grants available to support capital purchases that will enable an enterprise to develop technologies, or move their business into the agri-tech sector.

To book on the business breakfast or for more information about the GrowAgri Worcestershire project, visit the College website, email growagri@wcg.ac.uk or call Project Manager Mark Harwood-Browne on 0300 135 7179.