15 start-up businesses at new £2.5m agritech hub in Cambridgeshire could create up to 45 jobs
PUBLISHED: 15:50 21 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:22 21 August 2020
Fifteen start-up agritech businesses - employing up to 45 people -will have access to new work and research facilities at Barn4, a £2.5m purpose-built facility on the outskirts of Cambridge.
The crop research organisation NIAB has been awarded the money from The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to construct a 375m2 business incubator on its Park Farm site in Histon.
Barn4 will be open to tenants from spring 2021 with start-ups and SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprise) offered laboratory, workshop and office space, meeting rooms and video-conferencing facilities.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Mayor James Palmer said: “In the wake of Covid-19 it is more vital than ever that we level up the economy of the region as we rebound and renew.
“If we are to recover quickly and fulfil on the promise of our region, we have to take risks and promote disruption in the market.
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“Agritech is one of our key growth areas.”
Simon Clarke, the minister for regional growth and local Government Simon Clarke MP said: “Investing in innovative agritech projects is at the heart of this Government’s commitment to create new, green jobs and reach our target of net-zero by 2050.
“That is why we are investing £2.5 million from the Local Growth Fund in this exciting project to create space for start-ups and small businesses in Cambridgeshire to grow and innovate, creating new jobs for the region and supporting this world-leading centre for agritech.”
The new building will be an addition to NIAB’s recently redeveloped Park Farm field research station which includes two new large research and office buildings (5,500 m2), 2,500 m2 of research glasshouses with an added 300m2 planned, 3,000m2 protected outdoor growing space and field trial plots.
NIAB’s director of commercialisation Dr Michael Gifford said that in the face of challenges such as Covid-19, Brexit, the new Agriculture Bill, climate change and food security, the UK (United Kingdom) agrifood industry is under enormous pressure to redefine its farming and food supply chains.
He said: “Cambridgeshire is fast becoming a world-leading centre for agritech .” “We are thinking about agritech in its widest sense and expect to have companies specialising in plant genetics, pest management, soil health, and AI (Artificial Intelligence) to support sustainable farming decisions, farm robotics and much more.”
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