Writer: Adriana M. Chavez, 575-646-1957, firstname.lastname@example.org
Leaders and entrepreneurs in the world of agricultural technology will join promising agtech startups to discuss ideas to help promote and develop agtech investments in New Mexico, as well as the global state of agriculture, at the inaugural AgSprint Assembly, which will take place Aug. 10 at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces.
AgSprint Assembly features exceptionally productive ag-market leaders who will talk about demands from the frontlines, translating ideas from vision to reality and the future of agtech investment. Zetdi Sloan, director of Arrowhead Technology Incubator, said the event represents the coming together of various contributors to the agtech ecosystem.
“The event is designed to bring together key players across the agriculture value chain – growers, suppliers and funders – that will lead to opportunities, strategic alliances and targeted support,” Sloan said. “This event is for thought leaders and innovators who share a desire for advancing New Mexico’s position in the agtech ecosystem.”
Rolando Flores, dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at NMSU, said agriculture is becoming increasingly important as the world’s population grows.
“Agriculture is a very important industry to New Mexico, the U.S. and the world; succinctly put, it produces the food that we consume,” Flores said. “Nowadays more than ever, the interaction of the food producers and entrepreneurs is very relevant to be able to produce the food needed to feed the increasing world population with the appropriate and sustainable technologies that would continue the success of U.S. agriculture.”
The AgSprint Assembly event will give startup companies participating in the AgSprint accelerator program the opportunity to pitch their products and services, and engage with their corporate and funding peers in a one-on-one format. According to AgFunder.com, $3.63 billion was invested in agtech globally. While agtech startups in California, New York and Massachusetts accounted for 73 percent of investment in the U.S. last year, New Mexico received very little agtech investment funding, according to research by AgFunder.com.
“Tomorrow’s agriculture depends on the technological innovations of today,” said New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte. “The AgSprint Assembly provides an exciting opportunity to showcase emerging technologies for agriculture and food production.”
NMSU alumna Vonnie Estes, one of the leading female executives in the biotech industry, will be the event’s keynote speaker. The Biotechnology Innovation Organization will recognize Estes with its Rosalind Franklin Award for Leadership in Industrial Biotechnology at the 2017 BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in Canada later this month.
Cheryl Clements, founder and CEO of PieShell, will also be a featured speaker at AgSprint Assembly. PieShell is a business that fulfills the need for a crowdfunding platform for food-based entrepreneurs.
The Arrowhead Technology Incubator launched AgSprint, a five-month venture builder program designed to support innovation in agriculture, earlier this year. AgSprint acts as a facilitator, connecting agricultural entrepreneurs to financing, demonstration and validation partners, academic faculty, corporate partners and more.
Presentation topics include investor insights, what helps and hinders producers’ adoption of new technologies, and lessons from New Mexico agtech startup stars on successes and failures. AgSprint Assembly is also featuring an Open Mic event where entrepreneurs can pitch their ideas to investors, corporations and community ecosystem builders who will help support business development.
For more information on AgSprint Assembly, and to apply to participate in the Open Mic session, visit http://arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/agassembly/.