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Celtic Connections: Agritech.Wales visits Ireland

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M-SParc leads collaborative AgriTech Focused trade mission to Ireland. 

Ireland are leading the way globally in AgriTech innovation, and with the backdrop of the historical Shared Collaboration Statement & Joint Action Plan between both nations, and in the month were Ireland and Wales celebrate their patron saints, what better time to visit the Emerald Isle to learn, collaborate and foster trade connections.

First on the agenda was a visit to Lyons Farm on Thursday (14/03), situated within the University College Dublin (UCD) campus. Led by Leo McGrath, Gary Ryan, and Tom Flanagan, this innovation center serves as a catalyst for startups and SMEs in the agricultural technology sector, both locally and internationally.

A standout initiative at Lyons Farm is the Agccelerator Programme, a 12-week accelerator programme for early-stage startups in Ireland and Europe, in the AgTech, FoodTech and VetTech sectors. The Agccelerator has incubated several successful companies over its three-year tenure. The visiting group had the opportunity to learn from companies like Moonsyst, pioneers in smart monitoring systems for cattle, and Agri Data Analytics, tackling agricultural carbon emissions through innovative measurement techniques.

One of the notable outcomes of our visit was the initiation of discussions between Lyons Farm and M-SParc, facilitated by Chris Woods of Bangor University. Despite lacking prior connections, these discussions opened avenues for collaboration, promising mutual benefits for both institutions.

Simon Factor, Head of New Ventures and Investments @ NovaUCD, welcoming Wales Agritech to UCD.

Having worked extensively on agriculture and food projects like ‘Tech Tyfu’ and ‘Larder Cymru’, I can confidently say that this trip has proven immensely valuable for collaboration in the field. It’s been a worthwhile journey that enriches the vision of all involved.

– David Wylie, Food Lead for Menter Mon

The journey continued to Nova University College Dublin, where we encountered another vibrant innovation ecosystem. Lois Shaw, M-SParc’s Business Support Manager, shared a presentation highlighting the university’s shared goals with M-SParc, and emphasising the positive impact of Anglesey’s Freeport status on innovation. Our tenant companies, including Aerialworx, 42able.AI, and Capventis showcased their work, providing a glimpse into the diverse range of innovation within M-SParc’s ecosystem.

Tom Burke, M-SParc’s Digital Innovation Manager, outlined our ambitious expansion plans, including a new building dedicated to the energy sector. His vision for collaborative innovation aims to transcend borders, fostering creativity and development across various sectors in ranging countries.

We are looking forward to doing more in this area with the recent news about the AgriTech ‘launchpad’ in mid and north Wales. I am proud to join M-SParc and the AgriTech cluster on this trip to share information about collaboration opportunities with Dublin University.

– Gwion Williams, Senior Innovation Manager for Welsh Government

Kerry Cohen introduced us to Big Ideas Wales, focusing on empowering young entrepreneurs aged 16-25. By providing pre-startup support and mentorship, Big Ideas Wales aims to cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship and retain Welsh talent within the region.

Chris Woods highlighted Bangor University’s significant contributions to research. As a leading research institution, Bangor University’s commitment to societal impact and sustainable development has positioned it as a key player in Wales’s innovation landscape.

I do not have an agricultural background, but this trip has been a very valuable one for me to be able to learn how Ireland works together with the University in Dublin to support the sector through entrepreneurship and innovation. I am excited to take all the new ideas with me to my own work!

– Kerry Cohen, Community Engagement Team Lead for Business Wales

M-SParc and its wider ecosystem’s trade mission to Ireland for the Agritech collaboration was an insightful experience, showcasing the power of fostering these relationships in driving innovation in the agritech sector. From Lyons Farm’s practical approach, to Nova UCD’s dynamic ecosystem; these initiatives underscore Ireland’s dedication to shaping the future of agriculture through technology and collaboration.

 

It was great to be able to take members of our Agritech cluster, some of our tenants and officers from our eco system over to Dublin on this visit. Funded through the Cymru Ystwyth programme; the aim of our visit was to foster relations, connect our Agritech cluster with the cluster in Dublin, and showcase Wales as a country to invest in, and I’m sure we achieved this goal. I look forward to picking up any opportunities after this visit.

– Lois Shaw, Business Support & Project Development Manager, M-SParc

Collaboration, inspiration and connections are what the Agritech.Wales cluster aims to deliver. Businesses in Wales who are interested in AgriTech are encouraged to sign up to the cluster by contacting M-SParc Digital Innovation Manager Tom Burke by emailing tom@m-sparc.com. You can also learn more about the cluster by visiting the Agritech.Wales website.

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Tom Burke

Digital Innovation Manager

tom@m-sparc.com

Tom used to work at the KFC in his hometown of Colwyn Bay before it mysteriously burned down. He then spent several years “on the lam” in East Germany, where he worked as an animator in Berlin. When the wall fell, Tom came home.

He enjoys climbing and hates ice-skating.