Agtech Accelerator kick-off week recap
Agtech Accelerator Cohort 1 kick-off week is officially in the rearview mirror and what a week it was — full of connection, learning, and excitement. What started as a vision, has turned into Canada’s first venture-backed Agtech Accelerator, bringing together some of the top agtech companies from across Canada and the United Kingdom.
Over the course of 5 days in Regina, we had…
- 19 founders visit from 14 companies across Canada + the United Kingdom
- 10 guest speakers
- 54 mentors
- 142 mentor connections
- 225+ community connections
In addition to these amazing networks, we showcased the city of Regina and hosted our guests with a memorable experience each day…
We began our kick-off week by welcoming founders to the Hotel Saskatchewan with a thoughtfully selected gift package containing Saskatchewan-made products. The Hotel Saskatchewan would be the founder’s home away from home for the next 5 days. The historic hotel was originally built in 1927 and is located in the heart of downtown with close access to the Cultivator HQ. This hotel is an iconic attraction of Regina so we emphasized our first greetings with the founders by hosting them in the Royal Suite with the renowned pizza from Copper Kettle!
Monday was tailored towards sharing welcomes + wisdom from the Agtech Accelerator program! After taking part in introductions, the founders were sent to Mosaic Stadium for their ‘pre-season’ training! In an atmosphere that breeds high-performance athletes, we wanted to inspire the founders and motivate them through a collaborative lunch followed by breakout sessions with mentors in the Thrive Wealth Suites. Craig Reynolds, CEO + President of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and Kent Paul, CFO of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, lead two phenomenal tours of the Mosaic Stadium giving founders exclusive access to some of the team’s most sacred spaces, including the team dressing room.
As the tours concluded, guests were led to the AGT Lounge where they were treated to a ‘Sask Supper’ with some of the community’s most influential leaders in the business/ag world. This dinner, sponsored by Regina Exhibition Association Limited and Canada’s Farm Show, was an opportunity to gather partners and supporters of the Agtech Accelerator through a formal dinner with greetings from the Honourable Jeremy Harrison, Mayor Sandra Masters, Tim Reid, and more.
Tuesday brought a full day of informative programming lead at the Cultivator HQ. Following a day of learning and mentorship, founders were invited to Crave Kitchen + Wine Bar for a gourmet dinner that fostered closer connections between the advisory members, mentors, and founders. Following dinner, founders swapped their dress shoes for something more casual before traveling to the Caledonian Curling Club for an on-ice experience. Over half of our founders had never tried curling before, so this was an entirely new activity for them. We had Mat Ring, a member of Team Steve-Howard, show us the ‘ins-and-outs’ (literally) of the curling techniques and rules of the game. On the sidelines, we introduced founders to the pairing of beer and clamato juice – also, surprisingly a first for many!! We didn’t realize how Saskatchewan-based this beer trend is.
Founders were ready to be front and center for the media Wednesday! After an informative session with Glacier Farm Media and Discovery Farm, the founders were prepared to step in front of the local news as they pitched their companies and answered multiple interview questions. Founders were then tasked to work with Aspen Films as they built out an interview and storyboard for their company video that will be presented to them at the end of the Accelerator.
‘Founders Feast’ has always been a key component of the startup culture. We wanted to incorporate this element to the Accelerator by hosting the founders through an exclusive evening that would allow for conversations between the founders only– with a unique twist!! The founders started the night at Bushwakkers Brewpub for a delicious meal (many tried their famous fish + chips) and samplers of the pub’s most beloved Dungarvon Irish Red Ale. With our first stop taking longer than anticipated, some founders went back to Hotel SK for a restful night, while others carried on to the second tour destination: Rebellion Brewery. This stop was favorable by many as the group was catered to with the best service! The owner of the Rebellion, Mark Heise, visited each table with samples of the brewery’s popular Lentil Beer and shared his history with the company and information about the brewing business. After sipping hops… some founders were keen to see what Hotel Sask had to offer at their Circa 27 Lounge. To encapsulate the rich hotel history, the bartenders created a signature sipping menu with specialty cocktails crafted and served in smoked canisters.
Thursday challenged founders to confront industry experts through specific roundtable decisions in the morning and foster connections in 1:1 meetings in the afternoon. These industry sessions opened our doors at Cultivator to welcome new faces into our space. The world of agriculture is well connected and networks are always overlapping in the sector. In order to take advantage of the experts in attendance and bring together the tech and agriculture communities with Canada’s top Agtech startups, we facilitated a community social event at the Hotel Saskatchewan dining room – making it extra special with SK-themed beverages, poutine cups, and gastropub meal items. Before pitching their companies to the audience, founders gathered in an exclusive ‘prohibition room’ where they toasted to the kick-off week with expertly curated old fashions and saskatoon berry mojitos.
With the first week of the Accelerator coming to a close, founders wrapped things up with an intimate goal-setting circle that will lay a precedent for what each founder wants to take away from the Accelerator in future months and the benefits they want to gain for their companies.
Stay posted for a full rundown on the Agtech Accelerator mentorship and speaker connections, as we will share an in-depth look at the level of expertise that was provided to founders March 14-18th. Story coming soon!