Business programme helps budding agritech companies

A business accelerator programme is helping fledging New Zealand agritech companies get off the ground, with no shortage of innovative ideas to choose from.

Palmerston North-based Sprout Accelator works with agricultural start-ups to get their business operating sucessfully.

Sprout Business Strategy Advisor, Stu Bradbury told Magic Talk's Rural Exchange that there are two parts to the programme.

"The first six months we scout the country for New Zealand's top agritech talent, and look for people starting businesses in all forms of agritech," he said. 

The following six months is spent working with up to 10 companies to help get their business off the ground.

"Depending on where the companies are at, we help with market research, find customers, test and develop products and also help raise capital," said Mr Bradbury.

He said there was no shortage of potential businesses to work with.

"We probably have around 150 applicants over six months. We call every applicant, and find out what they are doing, then we take the top 20 to our selection panel, who then whittle it down to around 10."

The Sprout Accelerator Programme helps budding New Zealand agritech companies.
The Sprout Accelerator Programme helps budding New Zealand agritech companies. Photo credit: Supplied

Among the companies the programme is working with at the moment is Riverwatch, which uses senses placed in rivers to monotor water quality.

"This is really useful for farmers, and also the rest of the country as it monitors what is happening and how to change things to help the health of the river."

A Napier company is developing an autonomous vehicle for use in packhouses, while products for irrigation and crop-modelling are also among the start-ups.

Sprout Accelator will be taking part in one of four underground events at NZ AgriFood Week where participating companies from around the globe travel to Manawatu to workshop key areas of their business with experts and mentors

Watch Stu Bradbury's full interview, sponsored by NZ AgriFood Week, March 11th-17th.

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay and Richard Loe, 6-8am Saturday and Sunday on Magic Talk.