Hartpury University is getting behind small and medium-sized enterprises in Gloucestershire to help grow the agricultural industry.
In partnership with Barclays Eagle Labs, the university is giving members free access to its Tech Box Park just outside Gloucester.
Funded by the UK government's Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, the collaboration means 20 businesses will be able access the resources at the university's site through fully-funded memberships that normally cost £2,500.
The six-month programme of support is designed to boost high-potential businesses across the south west region while developing Hartpury's established agri-tech community.
The memberships will help founders of smaller firms that are showing traction. Access to the support will help them to scale-up their products or services, in a bid to fast track their commercial success within the agri-tech, food tech and green tech industries.
Some of the benefits of the memberships include the ability to test and trial at Hartpury's commercial farm; one-to-one coaching opportunities; mentoring and support from business experts and scale-up specialists; as well as access to events dedicated to fostering collaboration and innovation between businesses.
Hartpury's Tech Box Park has proven to be a valuable space for innovation, having supported more than 30 business ventures in the years it's been active — including facilitating the creation of a test bed for trailing hemp derivatives in animal bedding for a social enterprise, and testing 100 per cent plant-based compostable packaging on hay bales.
Director of Barclays Eagle Labs, Amanda Allen, said: 'Using the funding from the Digital Growth Grant from the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology we think Hartpury University is an ideal partner for us.
'This match-funding will help them continue their proven track record in supporting local start-ups at The Tech Box Park.'
Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, Saqib Bhatti, added: 'Regional start-ups are a vital cog in boosting the UK economy, creating better-paid jobs and opportunity right across the country.
'This partnership will ensure even more businesses can access the invaluable support the Hartpury Tech Box Park membership provides, helping them realise their enormous potential.'
The scheme is accepting applications until Wednesday 31 January 2024.