The five-month Acceleration Programme 2017 of the Agro Innovation Lab (AIL) ended yesterday evening with the Demo Days in Vienna. The six winning start-ups of this year's round of applications presented the progress made in developing their business ideas to market readiness in front of around 300 guests. The AIL is a joint innovation platform of BayWa AG and RWA Raiffeisen Ware Austria AG whose purpose is to discover innovations in the agricultural sector and actively help shape them further. 265 start-ups from 61 countries applied to take part in the Acceleration Programme 2017.
'Together with the start-ups, we have supported the further development of these innovative approaches to enable their sustainable use for agriculture and, therefore, for the benefit of our customers,' says Klaus-Josef Lutz, Chief Executive Officer of BayWa AG.
Among other things, pilot projects were launched, products made ready for series production, business plans developed, detailed market analyses prepared or cooperation agreements made with strategic partners. 'In two out of six cases we have already successfully started activity on the market,' said Lutz.
FarmHedge from Ireland, for example, is an online platform for the creation of purchasing and sales cooperatives and is expected to be available to Austrian farmers later this year.
Prominent dealers have already shown interest in the web-based platform for the sale of slow moving spare parts, BartParts, based in the Netherlands, and have already sold parts via this platform in Germany and Austria.
Together with Agra2b from Germany, which is working on an online marketplace for farmers, the AIL has prepared large scale tests and identified relevant target areas in Germany.
Drone Clouds from South Africa uses drone and satellite data in agriculture for the early detection of potential threats presented by pests, plant diseases or water supply issues. Working with the AIL has resulted in cooperation projects in South Africa and Germany.
The Chinese-Austrian cooperation LivinFarms, which focuses on mealworm breeding, designed its first pilot plant and found farmers interested in this plant. The reduction of available farmland means food and fodder production are in competition with each other. This approach claims insects may be an alternative to protein-rich fodder plants currently being cultivated.
Livestock Technologies from South Korea also took important steps forward: The start-up is now able to accurately predict calving time by means of sensor technology in a cow's rumen and provide accurate information on the state of health of individual animals.
The next step will be talks on possible cooperation partnerships and financing opportunities, in order to maintain close connections with the start-ups in the future. The application round for the Acceleration Programme 2018 starts in March. Since 2016, the Agro Innovation Lab has been inviting start-ups from the agricultural sector worldwide to apply for participation with their business idea.
Photo (Copyright Wolfography): Group photo Agro Innovation Lab with the six winner start-ups of the Acceleration Programme 2017.
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