Facilitating Innovation: Farm491 Agricultural Enterprise Hub08-Mar-2017 Farm 491
Stimulating a Community of Innovation
Developed as a co-working environment for innovators to grow their businesses by applying technology to agriculture, the Farm491 business will be providing high-spec facilities to foster entrepreneurship, ideas generation and collaboration. It also includes 491 hectares of farmland for practical testing of ideas and members will gain exclusive access to farmers, entrepreneurs, investors and academics – as well as farming data, research, equipment and resources.
Farm491 covers over 1,000 acres of farmland and will comprise of three dynamic innovation spaces - a converted lodge for modern office space, practical workspaces in a farm barn and a state of the art technological centre. Together the three developments will form one of the UK’s most sophisticated and advanced facilities for pioneering agritech research and innovation, helping many start-up businesses flourish.
Trent Lodge was the the first part of the project to open in 2016. Whether businesses would like to use the space for ‘hot-desking’, retain a permanent work base, or utilise support and share ideas amongst industry peers, Trent Lodge offers a flexible, inclusive working environment. It can also facilitate virtual working for those who are located further afield.
Membership is based on a hierarchal system providing different levels of support or facility to suit budgets – bespoke packages can be tailored according to individual needs. A membership fee is paid each month, ranging from £50 to £300 per month – and for full fee paying students at RAU who wish to start up their own agritech business, Farm491 membership is completely free.
Angela Simkins, Farm491 Centre Director said: “The objective of Farm491 is to create a sense of creativity, imagination and pioneering innovation within the agritech industry. We want to help and support entrepreneurs trial new initiatives, test new technological solutions and offer a practical working space for the sharing of knowledge.”
Farm491 is an exciting opportunity for agritech start-ups, individuals, farmers, scientists and innovators who may be looking for a space, technical support and access to technology to test an innovation – whilst others may simply like to network and share thoughts amongst industry peers to get an idea off the ground. The space is inclusive, open to all and will become home to innovators, from all scale of sizes.
Angela concludes: “The agricultural industry is being driven by a ‘technological revolution’ with more technical equipment and intelligence being integrated into daily farming life. In order to remain efficient, competitive and for us to sustainably feed a growing global population, agriculture has to embrace technology – and Farm491 aims to facilitate that. Our aspiration is to create a vibrant community of innovators with the potential to influence and benefit the wider agricultural and food production industries.”