Surrounded by more than 80 per cent of Canada’s farmland, the Greater Regina Area (GRA) is ‘ideally’ located in the centre of Canada’s agricultural heartland and home to the most skilled agriculture producers in the world. This sets it up for the opportunity to be the ag hub of the world.
To help support this and feed the world, Economic Development Regina (EDR) has worked closely with key industry stakeholders to develop Regina’s Agriculture and Food Innovation Strategy As part of that strategy, EDR partnered with Cultivator powered by Conexus and Emmertech to create the Agtech Accelerator.
The Agtech Accelerator program brings both agriculture and technology together to accelerate the growth of Canadian agtech startups built to solve global problems. This venture capital backed accelerator is built with founders and farmers as the foundation.
The first cohort of startups is comprised of 16 companies from across Canada and the United Kingdom (UK).
But what is an accelerator? How does a cohort differ from group? Why should you even care?
We’re going to break it down for you and delve into what it all means.
What is an Accelerator?
An accelerator is a program that helps startups find mentorship, investors, connections, and business leaders that help them become stable and grow.
Accelerator programs can last anywhere from two to six months.
The Agtech Accelerator, in particular, will last three months and kicked off March 14 in Regina. During this time they received group and one-on-one mentorship from some of the biggest players in agriculture including Farm Credit Canada, Viterra, IntraGrain, Innovate UK, Emmertech, Protein Industries Canada, and more.
At the end of the program each company will return for a demo day during Canada’s Farm Show. To help the companies develop and grow they each will receive $100,000 equity investment.
What is a cohort?
A cohort is more than a class of companies. It is a group people that are building an experience of human connections, relationships, and mentorships. This is not only true for the Canadian companies, but the UK companies as well.
“We think it’s really important that this program is not just an individual experience kind of like [solo] course that you can grab and go and do at your own leisure. We really think the magic happens when you bring good people together. half the benefit is being surrounded by fellow CEOs and founders who are going through similar challenges or opportunities or have been there before. It’s really about the quality of your peers,” explained Business Incubator Manager at the Cultivator powered by Conexus.
“Those lasting relationships are going to be really powerful for years to come.”
Why should I care and what does it mean for me and the Greater Regina Area?
Having the Agtech Accelerator in Regina creates tons of opportunities we should be excited about as a city.
“Ag is just an amazing opportunity if you look at the unfair advantage of our region … we just have such a history of agriculture success and innovation and global leadership and we felt that with the impact and the intersection of the region’s experience with ag and our experience with technology it was a great time to marry those opportunities. Both from an accelerator program [and] from the venture capital fund,” McFarlen said.
Benefits could include…
- Opportunity to have startups grow and create headquarters in the Regina
- Help accelerate innovation
- Commercialize game-changing technologies
- Build globally competitive leaders within the agtech space
- Further establish Regina as a key global centre for agtech development
- Attract further investment into the GRA
- Attract a critical mass of skilled and educated workers to the region
- Further leverage the important work if Saskatchewan's post-secondary and research institutions
- The Agtech Accelerator becomes the most in-demand, most desired, must be a part of program for agtech around the world
- Participants in the Agtech Accelerator will be elevated to a global platform where they can showcase their ideas and develop products to make farming sustainable & efficient
- Global Investors will be able to see first-hand the opportunities available in the agtech sector
“The challenge of feeding the world is not going away any time soon and this a great way to connect with it.”
Stay tuned every week as we profile each innovative startup leading up to demo day at Canada’s Farm Show in June.