As the year comes to a close, here at Farm491 we wanted to share with you some exciting highlights from the year, and also plans for 2019.
During the summer, Sarah, Luke and Neave joined Verity as a full Farm491 team, all taking on new roles and responsibilities. With a full team in force, we have really been able to focus on offering the best benefits to our members.
Our members BBQ in the summer kicked things off nicely, and since then we have continued to ensure full engagement for our members, from the opportunity to pitch in front of farmers for feedback, to co-exhibiting at shows with us, as well as networking events and pitch-ready bootcamps. The successes of our support to our members has been evident, not only in feedback we are receiving but also highlighted in the fact that our member base has grown 77% since July. It is clear that the Farm491 network is growing nationally and it is great to see so many varied AgriTech businesses partnering with us.
Our business support has also helped to raise over £3 million through investment and grants, as well as create 21 new jobs.
Our Inspiring AgriTech Innovation (IAI) Programme started with our first bootcamp in March. We have had 59 applications to attend our bootcamps, which has included applications from 31 different counties. 25% of applicants have heard about our free to attend bootcamps through word of mouth, again highlighting the positive feedback we have been receiving.
Our engagement with RAU students is growing and we are now in the process of setting up an AgriTech society, which will ensure further engagement with students and hopefully see some new AgriTech business ideas come forward!
The year ended with us hosting and co-sponsoring Farmer’s Guardian’s Agri Innovation Den competition, where over 50% of the finalists were our very own members! Congratulations to all of you and we hope you have had some positive conversations following the event.
So what are our 2019 plans? Of course, we want to see even more AgriTech companies receiving our support, and we also want to provide the best possible benefits for our members. Currently in the pipeline are investor days, more farmer workshops, and a host of AgriTech focused events for AgriTech Season in collaboration with The RAU. We have five IAI bootcamps planned for next year, and we may even be taking them on the road!
More details of these events will follow, so please keep an eye out on our social media channels, as well as our events list on our website. We have also been working on expanding and strengthening our strategic partnerships, so we hope to see these come to fruition early next year and again provide further benefits for our members.
Thanks to all of our members, service providers, and everyone else who has supported us this year – we can’t wait to share 2019 with you all!