Excitement Builds as Enterprise Hub Prepares for Launch in July

After overwhelming interest, Farm491, a unique incubation space that will facilitate innovation for agritech start-ups, is set to open its doors at the start of July – with demand for its office space already gaining momentum.

With plans to create 55 new agritech companies and over 200 new employees over the next 5 years, Farm491 is an exciting proposition that aims to inspire and stimulate innovation in agritech. Whether you’re straight out of agricultural university with a genius idea you’d like to trial, or perhaps you need a dedicated space with access to cutting edge technology, or you’d like practical space for testing a new piece of equipment or technology – Farm491 is open to all. The space will become home to a vibrant community of innovators, from all scale of sizes.

In its entirety, the 1,000m square space will offer an affordable and flexible co-working environment for entrepreneurs and like-minded people – as well as 491 hectares of Cotswolds farmland to support members in research, development and practical testing of ideas. Members will also have access to the RAU’s extensive support and knowledge network that includes farmers, entrepreneurs, investors and academics – as well as farming data, research, equipment and resources.

A Vibrant Community of Innovation:

Farm491 will consist of three dynamic innovation spaces: a converted lodge for modern office space, practical workspaces in a farm barn at Harnhill and a state of the art, bespoke technological centre. Together the three developments will form one of the UK’s most sophisticated and advanced facilities for pioneering agritech research and innovation – helping many start-ups to get going on their road to success. Trent Lodge is the first phase of the development; now complete, furbished and ready for opening in July, the lodge will be able to accommodate up to 30 businesses. The farm barn will open later this year and the technology centre is planned to open in 2017.

Angela Simkins, Farm491 Centre Director said: “The objective of Farm491 is to create a sense of creativity, imagination and pioneering innovation within the agritech industry. We want to help and support entrepreneurs trial new initiatives, to test new technological solutions and offer a practical space for the sharing of knowledge. With technological advancement, agriculture is being driven by a ‘technological revolution’ with more high-tech equipment and intelligence being integrated into daily farming life. Farm491 recognises the need for farming to capitalise on technology in order to sustainably feed a growing global population.”

In a battle to increase supply chain efficiency, boost productivity and reduce wastage, technology has been implemented to change the way farmers, retailers and suppliers manage and monitor data and use this data to make production decisions. We already have GPS steering systems in machinery, robotic milking parlours, cow heat detection devices, smart phones and electronic tagging. Technology is all encompassing and has a vital place in farming – and will only become more powerful as farmers embrace its valuable presence.

Angela concludes: “We’re delighted to be opening the doors of Trent Lodge – the first phase of the Farm491 development. This modern office space can accommodate up to 30 businesses – and we are looking forward to welcoming businesses from early July. This open space will enable start-ups to communicate, converse and share ideas and critique about new business ideas and concepts.”