New Zealand programme launched to boost UK agritech SMEs’ growth

Jacinda Ardern (New Zealand Prime Minister) and Boris Johnson (UK Prime Minister) sitting and looking at each other.

Global Business Innovation Programme: New Zealand Agritech announced as part of arrangement signed by UK and New Zealand’s Prime Ministers.

Innovate UK has launched a Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP) to help UK agritech small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) pursue growth and innovation opportunities through collaboration with New Zealand peers.

The GBIP: New Zealand Agritech was announced as Boris Johnson met with New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to sign the Research, Science and Innovation Arrangement on 1 July.

Strengthening collaboration

The arrangement will strengthen the UK and New Zealand’s collaboration in research, science and innovation.

Cooperative activity under the arrangement is expected to be wide-ranging, from joint research and development (R&D) of new technologies, to visits and exchanges of scientists, and innovation missions between businesses.

Targeting international markets

The GBIP is the latest in a series targeting specific international markets and is delivered by the UK innovation agency’s business growth and scaling service Innovate UK EDGE.

It will help up to 15 innovation-focused UK businesses that will be developing solutions to common industry challenges, such as the need for more efficient and precision farming through:

  • robotics
  • satellite data.

SMEs can apply to the GBIP on the Innovate UK EDGE website and applications close on 31 August.

Gaining knowledge and insights

Each selected business will be given intensive support by a dedicated Innovate UK EDGE innovation and growth specialist before the visit starting at the end of November 2022. Selected businesses can gain market knowledge and cultural insights and at the same time hone their proposition.

The businesses will then be taken on a five-day visit that coincides with and includes a visit to Fieldays, the southern hemisphere’s largest agricultural event.

On the trip they will be introduced at pre-arranged meetings to relevant businesses, universities, labs and investors.

Capitalising on opportunities

Innovation and growth specialist support will continue after the visit. An action plan will be developed that will help the participants to grow and scale by capitalising on the opportunities that they have created.

In September 2022 Innovate UK will also support Callaghan Innovation, its equivalent in New Zealand, with the inward visit of innovation-focused New Zealand agritech businesses to the UK.

The Innovate UK and Callaghan Innovation cohorts will meet during the September visit, and additional activities will be arranged during Fieldays.

Building partnerships and collaborations

Science Minister George Freeman said:

The agreement made today will give us the chance to deepen our collaborations with New Zealand’s outstanding science and research community in a number of areas, from space, quantum and photonics, to Antarctic research and agritech.

The combination of our long-standing UK leadership in plant and animal science with New Zealand’s world class agritech ecosystem will also provide an exciting opportunity to build partnerships and collaborations, showcasing the best of UK innovation in efficient farming, and helping UK businesses grow and scale while enabling access to global markets.

International growth

David Golding, Interim Deputy Director, Global at Innovate UK said:

This GBIP is a key part of Innovate UK’s commitment to foster the international growth of innovation-focused business in the UK.

It will provide an ideal platform for UK agritech businesses to grow and scale by developing productive relationships with peers and other research, development and innovation-focused organisations in New Zealand.

And the opportunities are vast: according to Technology Investment Network, the top 22 exporting agritechs alone earn revenues of over £821 million and are growing fast. Their investment in R&D has grown 6.5% in the last year, to over £59 million.

The New Zealand government also launched its Industry Transformation Plan for the agritech sector recently.

Innovate UK encourages innovative SMEs in the UK to apply, to enable them to take the next step on their international growth and scaling journeys and enhance their appeal to investors.

Top image:  Credit: 10 Downing Street

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