Applications are now open for early-stage agtech and agri-food start-ups with global potential, from Ireland and internationally, to join the 2022 AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme.

It is an intensive 12-week programme, which includes dedicated business development workshops and investor readiness training, mentoring from industry experts and business advisers, guest speakers and facilitated introductions to AgTechUCD’s venture capital and business angel networks.

It is focused on promoting and accelerating the launch and scaling of start-ups and SMEs, with disruptive innovations in Ireland and Europe, in the agtech, agri-food and vet-tech sectors, as they build their innovative businesses into leading companies on the global stage.

Based at UCD Lyons Farm and part of NovaUCD, it is funded through the Regional Enterprise Development Fund administered by Enterprise Ireland.

The programme supports founding entrepreneurs as they build their businesses into leading enterprises and by providing access to incubation space and to on-farm testing for new products and services at UCD Lyons Farm.

AgTechUCD director Niamh Collins said: “This dedicated programme is tailored to address the particular needs and challenges facing start-ups in these sectors and aims to fast track the business development and leadership skills of participants and to provide them with the support and guidance needed to accelerate their start-ups.”

Partners on the AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme, include, Enterprise Ireland, AIB, The Yield Lab Europe, Devenish, Carbery, Ornua, HerdWatch, IFAC, Thrive/SVG Ventures and The Virtual Vet who are supporting the programme.

Remote sensing

Among the eight start-ups which successfully completed the 2021 programme are CropHound and ProvEye.

CropHound, based in Belfast and founded by Mark Elliott, uses remote sensors and artificial intelligence to monitor crop health, growing conditions and crop potential from planting to harvest, giving early insights and recommendations to users.

It enables farmers and growers to increase yields and decrease their costs and carbon footprint through reductions in chemical usage and unnecessary trips to check.