Innovative agriculture has the potential to contribute to the development of a sustainable economy, which is why the digitalisation of the sector is becoming an urgent need to boost business. Although agricultural innovation brings many benefits and a number of actions and tools are already in place, there are many barriers to exploring its full potential. In this regard, in order to connect agriculture with innovative solutions, Technovator in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Tekwill project is launching the “AgTech Innovation Lab” – a program that supports the acceleration of the process of agriculture digitalisation, by combining digital tools in the agricultural sector, in order to increase efficiency and increase the competitiveness of the sector. The “AgTech Innovation Laboratory” will be implemented between November 2021 and April 2022.
The Laboratory of Innovation in Agriculture is to take place between December 2021 and April 2022, online. The program aims to bring together about 100 participants from two fields, both technology and agriculture, with the involvement of over 30 national and international mentors and experts, who will help accelerate innovation in agriculture and the food industry by combining IT tools in the agricultural sector, in order to increase efficiency and increase competitiveness.
The “AgTech Innovation Lab” has taken place in five stages: Defining Challenges, Identifying Participants, Team Building, Hackathon and AgTech Accelerator.
Defining challenges. In order to ensure innovative solutions to be applied in the industry, we have identified partners who will participate in the program with the challenges of the niches they belong to, as well as with the presentation of the necessary expertise for product development during the 4 months. Among the representatives who has displayed their challenges are: Ganea Group, FAO, Vladimir Balaban, Institute of Microbiology and Biotechnology, Kvazar-Micro.
Identification of participants. The program was open to IT participants, agricultural experts, entrepreneurs, marketing experts and other enthusiasts who want to contribute to the implementation of new technologies in agriculture.
Formation of the teams has taken place before the Hackathon, through an online platform. The selected people had formed teams, communicated in groups and defined their business development ideas. Teams already created can also participate.
AgTech Hackathon. The event was runed for three days, during which agricultural experts, information technology specialists and representatives of the agricultural industry was identified solutions to the proposed challenges and to develop products in this regard. Innovative ideas must be commercially viable, sectoral, and sustainable, integrate IT technologies, encourage collaboration and seek to solve one of the problems facing farmers.
AgTech Accelerator. For 12 weeks, Hackathon finalists had access to an educational platform with videos and tests that address the main topics of developing a startup: business modules, customer identification, market analysis and preparation to support pitches in front of potential partners. The participating teams in the accelerator has the opportunity to collaborate with 2-3 private companies in the agricultural industry, in order to test the products of the program, by identifying potential customers and their real needs.
Technovator is a platform through which talents can develop their potential to create important things and have a positive impact on society. Technovator’s mission is to expand the frontiers of innovation, facilitate technological development and provide decisive competitive advantages for the economy and society, and ensure the prosperity and sustainability of emerging markets. The platform focuses on the development of FinTech, HealthTech, AgTech, PowerTech and CleanTech verticals.
“AgTech Innovation Lab” is implemented by Technovator, with the support of the United States Agency for International Development USAID and Sweden, within the Tekwill project and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with “Startup Moldova” and Agrobiznes.md portal.