RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – The AgTech Innovation Alliance, an agricultural innovation network spearheaded by California-based nonprofit AgStart, has won a $150,000 Small Business Administration award that includes funds to boost North Carolina’s growing ag tech industry.
The North Carolina Biotechnology Center is participating as one of the alliance’s eight regional partners in receiving the award. NCBiotech – the only partner on the East Coast – will receive $10,000 over two years to support and promote innovation in crop science, animal health, food tech and precision agriculture.
“The nearly 200 ag tech companies in North Carolina are providing world-class innovation in plant, animal and food sciences,” said Paul Ulanch, senior director of focused initiatives at NCBiotech. “We’re grateful for the support and recognition through this SBA award, which will help advance our ag tech programs, and for our partnership with AgStart.”
To date, NCBiotech has awarded almost 450 ag tech grants worth a total of $21.4 million, as well as 40 ag tech loans totaling $3.2 million.
AgStart, a Woodland, Calif., nonprofit that supports agricultural entrepreneurs, invited NCBiotech to participate in the award application. AgStart and NCBiotech previously collaborated on a national ag tech forum series.
SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund sponsored the awards through its annual competition open to organizations that support innovative startups and high-growth small businesses. The AgTech Innovation Alliance was one of 10 award recipients in the competition’s category for domestic manufacturing and production.
“American agriculture is globally competitive, and an important part of the economy of many states, particularly in rural communities,” AgStart President John Selep said in a statement. “Technology innovation is essential to keep American agriculture competitive, and much of this innovation is emerging from innovative startups.”
(C) N.C. Biotech Center