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8 March, 2020 - 19:08 By Tony Quested

ARC angels wing in to US to sell Cambridge AgriTech proposition

SmithsonHill, which is fashioning a world-leading AgriTech nervecentre in Cambridge, has been selling the concept to potential partners in St Louis.

The vision is for the ARC Cambridge campus to be both a soft-landing zone for international companies coming to the UK plus a potential launchpad for UK export companies such as DeltaT-Devices, Outfield Technologies, Dogtooth Robotics and Kisan Hub.

It was SmithsonHill chief Emma Fletcher’s passion which brought a US delegation to Cambridge in February 2019, uniting Agri-Tech E (then Agri-Tech East) to co-host a networking lunch with The World Trade Center, St Louis and 39 Degrees North, who have now hosted a return trip with UK AgriTech companies keen to build international bridges and explore fresh opportunities for trade. 

Fletcher said: “Having hosted a tour and networking lunch in Cambridge as part of the US delegation’s visit to the UK last year we were pleased to have been part of the reciprocal trip to St Louis, organised jointly by Agri-Tech E and The World Trade Center.

“Collaboration is important to us and the trip has been hugely helpful in bolstering our relationships with partners in the US. We will be working closely together moving forward to create soft landings for AgriTech companies trading in both markets.” 

British Consul General Alan Gogbashian said that both Missouri and the UK were at the cutting edge of the AgriTech industry.

As well as SmithsonHill and ARC, the trip included PBD Biotech, Wyld Networks, Willand Group, Russell Smith Farms, Joseph Camm Farm, Small Robot Company, Wroot Water and Agri-Tech E. 

The delegation visited plant science research facilities such as the Danforth Plant Centre, Bayer Crop Science’s global HQ and Missouri University as well as incubators including the Helix Center Biotech Incubator. There were numerous round-table discussions. 

The ARC Cambridge site is just south of Cambridge, adjacent to the newly approved Wellcome Trust expansion site at the heart of the Cambridge Life Sciences Cluster. 

At its heart will be a 30,000 sq ft innovation hub for AgriTech entrepreneurs and early-stage startups to grow their emerging businesses. ARC aims to support an estimated 4,000 jobs and increase regional GVA by £277 million a year by 2030.

It boasts an unrivalled location and transport links within the UK Innovation Corridor, the Oxford2Cambridge Arc and the Cambridge–Norwich Technology Corridor. 

The planned innovation hub will provide flexible office space, access to laboratory, workshop and crop trial space, as well as access to support for early stage AgriTech start-ups. 

The 100 hectare park also includes space for scale-up companies, global HQs and land for on-site farm trials, all within a restored parkland setting. 
Plans further include sustainability measures such as energy generation on-site and upgrades to the grid infrastructure in the wider area, whilst transport proposals are designed to solve current local issues.

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