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Harper Adams University programme to support new farming

A ‘pre-accelerator’ programme which has boosted agritech and agri-food start-ups across the UK is set to welcome its latest entrants this spring.

Cultivate, run by Harper Adams University in partnership with Barclays Eagle Labs, is returning after its success over the past two years.

It supports companies who are ready to take the next step in their business journey, by helping owners focus on key aspects of their business model which might be holding them back, how to fund growth, as well as their own vision and mindset.

Environmental responsibility is a central theme in the programme and delegates will learn how to use tools such as Life Cycle Analysis.

The programme offers participants two options – Cultivate Start programme in the autumn, for businesses at the very beginning of their journey, and Cultivate Thrive starting in May, for those that are already trading.

Previous participants have paid tribute to the impact that Cultivate has had upon their business.

Among them is Professor Graham Bonwick, Director of Agrifoodx, which works to develop agri-food waste by-products into environmentally sustainable, high-value biomaterials in their own right.

He said: “The programme helped provide us with some useful tools to examine our business aims and objectives.

“It was also very useful to engage with other businesses and learn about their successes and their issues and how they addressed them.

“Since taking part in the programme, we have tried to simplify the technical content in presentations and increase the focus on the potential benefits to customers and the financial returns for investors. We have been struck by the need to improve our visibility and make greater use of the internet, but above all look to invest in a dedicated sales and marketing professional to help grow the business."

Applications for the 10-week Cultivate Thrive sessions are now open, with the programme due to start on April 26 with an introductory event.

Rebecca Payne, Head of the Department of Food, Land and Agri-Business at Harper Adams University, said: “With the backing of Barclays, I’m delighted to see the Cultivate programme thriving – and helping business across the UK in the process.

“We are working with many UK agri-food and agritech innovators, helping them to ensure that they are getting the very best out of their business – so if you are looking to take that next step yourself, please get in touch now.”

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