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University College Dublin Launches New Accelerator Programme for AgTech and FoodTech Start-Ups

University College Dublin (UCD), through the AgTechUCD Innovation Centre, have announced the launch of a new accelerator programme dedicated to early-stage AgTech and FoodTech start-up companies.

The AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme, commencing this September, is an intensive 12-week programme (2 mornings per week online), which includes dedicated business development workshops and investor readiness training, mentoring from AgTech and FoodTech experts and business advisors, guest speakers and facilitated introductions to AgTechUCD’s venture capital and business angel networks.

AgTechUCD, based at UCD Lyons Farm and part of NovaUCD, is focused on accelerating the launch and scaling of AgTech and FoodTech start-ups in Ireland and has been funded through the Regional Enterprise Development Fund administered by Enterprise Ireland.

AgTechUCD supports founding entrepreneurs as they build their innovative businesses into leading enterprises, though the AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme, and by providing access to incubation space and to on-farm testing for new products and services at UCD Lyons Farm.

The AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme concludes in early-December when all participating start-ups will pitch their businesses to a panel of investors with the opportunity to be awarded prize funding in a number of award categories.

Partners on the AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme, include; AIB, The Yield Lab Europe, Bimeda, Devenish, Carberry, Origin Enterprises, Ornua and HerdWatch who are providing financial and mentoring support.  Additional mentoring support will be provided by Greencore, Kubota, Diarymaster, the Virtual Vet, Finistere, Macra Na Feirme and Atlantic Bridge.  Participating start-ups will have access to specific supports from AWS Activation, Catalyze, Deloitte and FR Kelly.

“In addition to helping participating start-ups with their commercial development, the programme will also shine a spotlight on the start-ups, enabling them to increase their visibility and attract new customers and investors and to develop new partnerships”, said Niamh Collins, Manager, AgTechUCD Innovation Centre. 

She added, “The programme team has built strong relationships with strategic players in the ag and food tech sector in Europe and in the US, which will help the start-up founders to launch their products or services into new territories. We now look forward to working with our first cohort on our inaugural AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme.”

James Maloney, Senior Regional Development Executive, Enterprise Ireland, said, “This programme really is the best kickstart for all start-ups in the Agri and Food Tech sectors. Ireland has and will always play a key part in shaping the future of food and science globally. Enterprise Ireland are delighted to support this key initiative through the AgTechUCD Innovation Centre.”

Nicky Deasy, Managing Partner, The Yield Lab Europe, said, “As one of Europe’s largest seed stage specialist Agri-food Tech venture capital funds, we look forward to finding the best and brightest Irish startups, and supporting them to achieve international success, from this important early-stage programme.”

“The Irish Agri-food sector, at all levels, is an integral part of the Irish economy and indeed our own business here in AIB”, said Denis Dudley, AIB Head of Business Banking, Branch Network.

He added, “We in AIB are delighted to partner with AgTechUCD and other key industry partners to help provide the platform for ingenuity and opportunity to prosper, delivering dividend not only to individual businesses, but the Irish Agri-Food sector as a whole as we negotiate the realm of change in the months and years ahead. We in AIB remain committed to supporting sustainable business start-ups and our Business Advisor team in all of our branches nationwide are very happy to discuss what options are available and how we can support you along the way.” 

For further information on the programme and to apply visit https://www.ucd.ie/innovation/agtechucd-agccelerator-programme/

Feature image courtesy of NovaUCD

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