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Olds College joins effort to create global agricultural tech hub

College working with tech incubators to help promote innovation

Olds College and Technology is taking part in an initiative to establish a global agricultural tech hub in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The college has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with AGTECH ACCELERATOR, a venture-backed accelerator program that provides Canadian agtech startups with access to capital, programming, connections, and mentorship needed to help them.

“This partnership reflects our joint commitment to advancing the industry and building a sustainable future for Canadian agriculture,” said Todd Ormann, Olds College vice president development.

“By combining our agricultural expertise and infrastructure with AGTECH ACCELERATOR’s capabilities in agtech startups, incubation, and acceleration, we aim to drive innovation within the Canadian ag industry.”

The accelerator was founded by Regina-based Cultivator powered by Connexus, which bills itself as Canada’s first credit union-led tech incubator. Also providing support is Emmertech, a venture capital fund focused on agtech and agribusiness and Economic Development Regina.

Since launching in 2019, Cultivator has incubated and provided resources, mentorship, and space to more than 100 startups.

The MOU sets a comprehensive framework for collaboration, with a primary focus on developing a process and platform for sharing information on agtech startups, providing learning opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs in the agriculture sector, and delivering entrepreneurial programs tailored to agricultural students, says a news release announcing the partnership.

This partnership will help develop the next generation of agtech innovators by creating learning opportunities and entrepreneurial programs for agricultural students who wish to pursue the development of agtech startups.

“With Olds College’s reputation for high-tech, agriculture education and innovative applied research, we are excited to join forces to shape the future of agriculture and continue building a global agriculture tech hub in the prairies,” said Jordan McFarlen, incubator manager for Cultivator powered by Conexus.

“This partnership will ignite a new wave of agtech talent and foster groundbreaking solutions to the pressing challenges facing modern agriculture”

This partnership follows an expansion into Saskatchewan of the Olds College Smart Farm – a state-of-the-art facility that has grown to include 3,600 acres of farmland, infrastructure, and experienced staff in agtech research and development.

“The establishment of the global agricultural tech hub is a momentous step towards fostering innovation and sustainability in the Canadian agriculture industry,” says the news release. “This partnership between AGTECH ACCELERATOR and Olds College highlights the significance of collaboration in driving progress and creating a brighter future for the industry.”

Those selected to be a part of the AGTECH ACCELERATOR’s yearly cohort will benefit from a three-month virtual and in-person accelerator program that provides Canadian agtech startups with access to capital, programming, connections, and mentorship.

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Paul Cowley

About the Author: Paul Cowley

Paul grew up in Brampton, Ont. and began his journalism career in 1990 at the Alaska Highway News in Fort. St. John, B.C.
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