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AgTech—where agriculture meets technology

26 Mar 2018 | Front page, ICT, A region on the move

Today’s agriculture presents farmers with new and ever-changing challenges, starting with fine-tuned management of land and other resources. Technology is one way to meet these challenges—and AgTech can help.

AgTech Willems

EuraTechnologies: Successful spin-off strategy

EuraTechnologies needs no introduction: a center of excellence and innovation for the IT industry, it’s the No. 1 startup incubator in France and ranks among the top ten European business accelerators. Located in Hauts-de-France, the 80,000-sq m facility and its 3,700 employees support an ecosystem of 300 companies, and has hosted 100 startups since 2009. This temple of information technology has developed a smart spin-off strategy, creating sector-specific incubators in locations ideally suited to the challenges they’re designed to meet. In 2015, EuraTechnologies inaugurated Blanchemaille, an e-commerce site, and in 2018 it’s tackling the challenges facing farmers with AgTech, a new spin-off for agritechnology.

Agtech—the agritech incubator

AgTech is in Willems—the heart of farm country, with an agricultural ecosystem of some 200 farmers plus training centers for careers in agriculture and horticulture. But the benefits of AgTech’s projects won’t be limited to solving local problems: EuraTechnologies wants the site to create European-class agritech champions. For Raouti Chehih, EuraTechnologies’ executive director, the region is “a real proving ground for experiments that can be scaled up to the international level.” The incubator is expected to grow new businesses by focusing on the needs and wants of farmers—and by using the expertise of the local farm community to test technological innovations developed by its startups.

Farms of the future

AgTech was launched for a simple reason—agritech is a fast-moving trend with profound implications for farmers. In 2017, EuraTechnologies received applications from 60 agritech startups—up from zero just two years ago. The first AgTech class of around 20 companies will kick off in May 2018. “There will be four ‘classes’ a year for agriculture-related technology projects,” says Amber Ognorn, AgTech’s project leader, “and the entrepreneurs selected for each session will have space in the incubator. […] Farmland covers 66% of the region, so it’s in our strategic interest to create technologies that make Hauts-de-France farmers more efficient and more successful. And because we’ll be able to interact with the whole community, we’ll grow our startups faster.”

Learn more about IT in Hauts-de-France

Source: EuraTechnologies

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