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The Women in Innovation Agri-Tech Global Business Innovation Programme

Female entrepreneurs at event

A report on a progressive international growth opportunity for Women in Innovation in The Netherlands

A delegation of twelve businesses visited the Netherlands for the Global Business Innovation Programme for Women in Innovation Agri-Tech recently, after a thorough selection process. We saw businesses from diverse sectors developing tech solutions from vertical farming, dairy farming solutions, building robot technology, research and development, and food preservation.

Helen Sweeney, National Contact Point at Innovate UK and the Global Innovation Lead Agri-Food said “The Women in Innovation Agri-Tech delegates were a pleasure to work with. Their enthusiasm and support for each other to further their understanding and pursue business opportunities was very encouraging.

Feedback received from the visits indicated a great appreciation about how well prepared they were for their meetings. Many positive leads for future collaborations have been created from this pro-active group. A very positive GBIP experience.” 

Netherlands visit for the future of farming 

The Netherlands, a small but extremely resourceful country has become an agricultural giant by showcasing what the future of farming could look like.

Before the visit, delegates were assigned their very own innovation & growth specialist to help them get ready for the market. By attending a pre-activity briefing, they built the knowledge and understanding to maximise the impact of the visit.

Innovation & Growth Specialist, Domile Andruskeviciute said “I was extremely honoured and happy to support this wonderful group of Women for the Women in Innovation, Global Business Innovation Programme with the Netherlands on Agri-Tech. The visit was a great success with many new relationships formed, which will help these innovative businesses grow and develop in the sector.“

During the five days, the delegation had a chance to explore innovation opportunities with the Netherlands first-hand. They visited prestigious institutions and met with key companies, research organisations, and were matched with potential collaborators, partners and investors.

The small and densely populated country, is the globe’s second largest exporter of food by value, and a frontrunner in the alternative protein sector contributing to global solutions for food sustainability and security.  

The importance for Women in Innovation

The opportunity to connect with the top UK female entrepreneurs in the Agri-Tech sector was welcomed in the Netherlands. 

Innovate UK's Women in Innovation programme, which the participants were drawn from, empowers pioneering women entrepreneurs to develop innovations, by offering a tailored package of support and creating a vibrant community of women role models to share knowledge, challenges and best practices. 

Emily Nott, Head of Diversity and Inclusion Programmes at Innovate UK said “We have an incredible opportunity to make a difference and strengthen the ties between the Netherlands and the UK through women entrepreneurs within the Agri-Tech sector. Our vision is for the UK to be a superpower in innovation by 2030. The Women in Innovation Programme continues to play a crucial role in delivering against this vision, supporting high-potential women business leaders working to address global challenges such as the food crises. Women are underrepresented in innovation and we need more women working in Agri-Tech, these women are inspirational role models for future generations”.

A learning curve 

The programme opened many doors internationally and with investors for the delegation, giving participants the opportunity to benefit from insights and connections during visits to the famous Wageningen University & Research Centre in Food Valley and exclusive tours of the World Horti Center and LELY. 

One of the delegation, Dr. Sarah Gaunt Director at SPG Innovation stated “The GBIP trip to the Netherlands was an invaluable experience for our business to scope out potential opportunities within the country. These included making connections with companies working in the plant-based sector, University academics and investors. These connections are vital for a young company such as ours which is scoping out how to launch internationally. The team we travelled with was a great group of women doing some amazing work in Agri-Tech and the connections made within the consortium were almost as useful as the external ones.”

The delegation also visited Greentech, a global horticulture technology event and had the pleasure of being hosted by the British Deputy Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands at the networking dinner. They benefitted from the opportunity to see and learn about the latest technologies, expand networks and meet with British Trade delegates.

 

The team we travelled with was a great group of women doing some amazing work in Agri-Tech and the connections made within the consortium were almost as useful as the external ones.”

Dr. Sarah Gaunt Director, SPG Innovation