“It's an acceleration programme for new agritech businesses (or those people with great agritech ideas) being run out of the Manawatu and we’re firmly in support of a national roll out of the programme,” says Northland Inc general manager, Business Innovation and Growth Joseph Stuart.
“We’d love to see some Northland activity included and it would be great to run a Northland specific programme eventually.
“However, right now there is a lot of benefit in Northland joining this initiative given the strong public and private sector support and the ongoing access to investment.”
‘Sprout’ is a 20 week business accelerator programme for new agritech enterprises looking to fast-track their growth. ‘Sprout’ wants to grow businesses in their hometowns and provides investment, mentoring support, business networks and remote support through a rapid business development programme running from November through to March 2016.
Each year the programme identifies eight to 10 best Agritech start-ups in New Zealand and supports them with advice and guidance, direct access to partners who may be able to provide access to global markets and access to people with complementary skill sets during the start-up phase.
It also provides $20,000 as an equity investment, access to markets and the opportunity to showcase the start-up Agritech business in front of more than 150 investors at the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Agri Business Showcase.
“The programme outline speaks for itself for entrepreneurs with a business or product idea that can be applied to either agriculture or horticulture,” Mr Stuart says.
“We’ll be looking at promoting it through our Regional Business Partner (RBP) in conjunction with Building Clever Companies (BCC) who for the past 10 years have been working alongside Agritech research organisations like Massey University, Plant and Food, Landcare and AgResearch.”
‘Sprout ‘Programme Manager, James Bell-Booth says: “Northland represents a key region in New Zealand that could benefit immensely from connecting to the ‘Sprout’ programme.”
“We are excited to be working alongside Northland Inc to offer the ‘Sprout’ programme to agritech companies in the region,” he says.
Northland Inc is currently in discussions with BCC on how to make the best use of the programme in the Northland region.