Saskatchewan rallies behind the next wave of innovation in agriculture
Saskatchewan has always been known as the heart of the prairies, land of the living skies, and Canada’s breadbasket… since the announcement of the Agtech Accelerator, we have experienced firsthand how our province shows up for Agtech. It is evident that technology is fueling the future of agriculture. Producers and agribusiness work collectively to achieve new solutions and advancements in the industry. With roots in Saskatchewan, we have felt the support first-hand from our province.
“Through the Agtech Accelerator I have been fortunate enough to witness the province rally behind the next wave of innovation in agriculture. Whether its government, industry, mentors, or producers, when asked they show up without hesitation. The passion, care, and community feeling these individuals embody has been able to create an empowering and high performance environment for our founders from across Canada and the United Kingdom. Over the last several months it has become even more apparent that Saskatchewan is well positioned to move the needle in agtech innovation both nationally and internationally.” – Ami Caragata, Program Coordinator, Cultivator powered by Conexus
Agtech Accelerator Founding Partners
Cultivator powered by Conexus Credit Union knows that agriculture is a long-standing Canadian and Saskatchewan success story and the technology sector is quickly following suit. However, one of the biggest challenges in Canadian agtech is the lack of private capital. Conexus is proud to be the chosen partner with Innovation Saskatchewan to launch Emmertech, focusing on harnessing the momentum in Canadian agtech and supporting our brightest early-stage entrepreneurs.
Emmertech is a $60M venture capital fund focused on agtech and agribusiness innovation, managed and operated by Conexus Venture Capital Inc. Canadian agtech cannot grow when capital needs to come from Bay Street. This new VC fund brings together key agriculture leaders from across Canada that believe Canadian agtech will flourish in smaller ecosystems such as Saskatchewan.
Economic Development Regina (EDR) is proud to be a part of the Agtech Accelerator. As Saskatchewan’s queen city, EDR knows there is a vibrant and growing startup culture in Regina that exudes success and determination. With more than 40% of Canada’s cultivated farmland, Saskatchewan has always been a leader in agriculture, and through strategic partnerships in the Agtech Accelerator, we can ensure a bright future for Agtech in our province.
Agtech Accelerator Community
The mission of the Agtech Accelerator is to ensure founders are properly equipped to take their tech startup to the next level. Saskatchewan agribusiness and producers shared priceless information with Agtech Accelerator cohort 1 founders. Through 1:1 meetings, Saskatchewan-based mentors shared their years of experience and lessons learned in the industry. We have had the best in the business join us at the Cultivator HQ for intense ‘war room’ style debates that had founders conversing directly with experts that live and breathe agriculture daily. There were spirited dialogues that made founders think deeply about who their customer is, what their goals are, and how they are going to solve problems for the producers sitting in front of them. Each room was tailored to a specific industry and founders were selected to attend a room based on their company focus and opportunity for connection.
Murad Al-Katib (CEO and President of AGT Foods) is a clear example of the support we felt from a Saskatchewan entrepreneur. Murad shared his incredible story of becoming a first-generation immigrant to Saskatchewan, Canada, and his journey of realizing the success of pulse grains in Saskatchewan.
Agtech Accelerator Innovation Partnerships
Joining the Agtech Accelerator as an Innovation Partner, with a $300,000 commitment over three years, is Innovation Saskatchewan (IS). Innovation Saskatchewan further supports our province through the Agtech Growth Fund (AGF) and Saskatchewan Technology Startup Incentive (STSI). IS focuses the AGF and STSI on Saskatchewan startups in digital ag, software/hardware (e.g., sensors, imagery, precision ag, data stewardship), smart farm equipment (e.g., robotics, machinery, automation), food processing (enabling technologies), indoor agriculture (enabling technologies), animal health/verification technology, supply chain technology (e.g., traceability), and agricultural marketplace/fintech.
“Funding the Agtech Accelerator accelerates game-changing ag innovation, further positioning Saskatchewan as a premier destination for agtech entrepreneurs,” says Jeremy Harrison, Minister Responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan.
Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) has invested $900,000 to support the Agtech Accelerator. PrairiesCan diversifies the economy across the Canadian prairies and has specifically enabled the Agtech Accelerator to build a foundation in Saskatchewan as a global agtech hub. The Agtech Accelerator aligns and will contribute to the Western Canada Growth Strategy, including building a vibrant and inclusive economy where resource and agricultural sectors continue to grow, are cleaner and capture more value.
Agtech Accelerator Post-Secondary Partnerships
Through partnerships with Saskatchewan’s post-secondary institutions, including the University of Regina, University of Saskatchewan, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic (Sask Polytech), the Agtech Accelerator can collaborate directly with researchers and educators, and work to fill both knowledge and labor gaps in the sector. The digital agriculture movement is being created by experts and innovative producers using the latest technology and advanced techniques through collaborative partnerships.
“Post-secondary institutions are a key component to any innovative ecosystem. The University of Saskatchewan is synonymous with agriculture in Canada. We’re excited to have them as an Agtech Accelerator partner and look forward to working together to further establish Saskatchewan as a global agtech hub.” – Jordan McFarlen, Business Incubator Manager, Cultivator powered by Conexus.
“We are excited to be able to leverage the University of Regina’s outstanding research infrastructure and expertise in our new partnership. We are ready to help Agtech Accelerator clients meet the challenges they face and to help build a world-class agtech industry hub in Saskatchewan.” – Dr. Chris Yost, Associate Vice-President (Research), University of Regina
“This partnership is a natural fit for Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Our Applied Research team provides the expertise and facilities required to move Agtech Accelerator companies forward to become more productive and innovative as they test and pursue new ideas and solutions. Our exceptional digital development facilities, faculty skills and proficiencies, talented student researchers, applied research experience, and vast network of connections in the tech and agriculture sectors will be critical drivers of the innovation that will result from this leading-edge partnership.” – Dr. Larry Rosia, CEO + President of SaskPolytech
Agtech Accelerator Advisory Council
Together with our founding partners, Economic Development Regina and Emmertech, we feel fortunate to have the credibility and experience of our Agtech Accelerator Advisory Council. With many members born and raised in the province, the Advisory has been welcoming and encouraging to the cohort 1 founders. As a collective group, the Agtech Accelerator Advisory Council shares years of experience, different views in the industry, and extensive knowledge in the global business market that stems from Saskatchewan.
It is clear that through the Agtech Accelerator, we have watched Saskatchewan’s motto come to life… “from many peoples strength.” Saskatchewan is a catalyst for leading Canada’s agtech sector. Through collaborative partnerships and genuine connections, Saskatchewan has shown why the Agtech Accelerator is so special and how important it was to have the roots of this Accelerator stem from the heart of the prairies.
Agtech Accelerator – Million Acres
The movement of agtech is stretching far and wide across Canada. The launch of our Million Acres under the Agtech Accelerator brings together producers and founders by creating a network that represents a collective of one million acres around the world. From livestock pastures to arable land, our Agtech Accelerator startups will connect with farmers and ranchers from various regions, climates, and nations– with each individual providing their insights and expertise specific to them. Once you are a member of the Million Acres project, we will include you in all updates from our Agtech Accelerator program. The Cultivator team will reach out to you if there is an opportunity to make a connection with one of our startup companies looking for feedback on their business. Interested in getting involved?LEARN MORE HERE