The University of Lincoln, UK, in partnership with Barclays Eagle Labs, is launching its second virtual accelerator programme. It is designed to help early-stage businesses drive innovation and growth in the UK’s agriculture sector – this time with the additional focus on businesses engaged in Net-Zero specialisms.

The fully funded programme consists of a series of half-day workshops over a 10-week period. The sessions will focus on building business competencies, such as developing a business plan, financial planning, and identifying new market opportunities.

Workshops are presented virtually in a blended methodology of webinars, videos and directed group exercises by educators and trainers chosen for their subject matter or sector expertise.

Each business will also have access to tailored support and resources, such as an assigned specialist mentor and a series of unique masterclasses centred around the start-up’s challenges and goals.

The accelerator closes with a “Programme Pitch Finale” – a live demonstration in front of an audience. Each beneficiary will pitch their business to a panel to compete for a range of prizes, including £10,000.

Enrolled businesses may also benefit from the cutting-edge facilities and various services at the new Barclays Eagle Lab Farm – based at the University of Lincoln’s Riseholme campus. They will also gain access to the UK-wide Eagle Labs network and exclusive community events.

The accelerator was greatly successful in 2021, when twelve diverse and innovative agricultural businesses were selected for the programme. The winning pitch was from Alan Hughes of Farming Solutions, with his innovative creep feeder for cattle.

Runners up included Casey Woodward from AgriSound, a business which uses acoustic monitoring of bees to improve crop pollination, and Will Dunn from Ag-Drive, who developed a paperless system for managing on-farm contractors.

Simon Pearson, Director of the Lincoln Institute of Agri-Food Technology, said: “Last year’s accelerator programme saw some fantastic small businesses go from strength to strength through the support provided by expert business advisors and the technical advances in Agri-Tech.

“At the Lincoln Institute of Agri-Food Technology, we are delighted to be able to host another cohort in collaboration with Barclays Eagle Lab and Greenborough, with the added bonus of Net-Zero initiatives this year.”

Adam White, Barclays Head of Agriculture, said: “I’m pleased to be supporting the accelerator programme for a second year, in conjunction with Barclays Eagle Labs and the University of Lincoln. There are opportunities for early-stage businesses to support efficiency and net zero gains across UK Agriculture and Barclays expertise in the Agriculture sector positions us well to support.”

Applications are now open to entrepreneurs with a promising business plan or early stage (0-3 years) businesses in these two dynamic and important sectors with the desire to grow.

Click here for further course details.