Agtech, analytics, and AI are among some of the technologies being used by start-ups from the U.K, Chile, India, Canada, and the US who arrived in Cork yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 18 September) to begin Ireland’s first Accelerator programme for aquaculture.
Speaking at the launch, Jim O’Toole, CEO of Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) , welcomed the teams and said:
“Bringing people together from a diverse range of backgrounds and perspectives, to look at how they can start a new business in aquaculture is something I draw great energy from. In Ireland we have a history of trying to develop innovation. The things we now take as standards in the industry were once innovations. The pioneering work that took place in aquaculture in Ireland in the 1980s, in the development of salmon production was a new and exciting technology of its time, and something that we now take as standard.”
The Accelerator is being managed by Hatch, who ran the world’s first Accelerator for Aquaculture in Bergen, Norway in June. This latest Cork based programme is being supported by BIM, under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
Carsten Krome, CEO Hatch said:
“The aquaculture sector is niche, and yet this is an industry that has a lot of problems to solve. The amount of feed needed to produce a kg of seafood is the lowest in fish, that means it’s the lowest impact livestock you can grow. Our main motivation for starting Hatch was to select top teams and connect those teams with expertise in funding to help them scale their businesses by getting access to early stage risk capital.”
In kicking off the event Wayne Murphy Hatch COO said, “the sector needs to start attracting more talent, not just aquaculture talent but technical talent to help solve the problems within the industry and Hatch seeks to act as a catalyst to drive more innovation into the industry.”
Jim O’Toole also spoke of the need to identify new ways for the Irish seafood sector to compete in the global market place and said:
“Innovation takes many different forms. We have seen significant innovation in our shellfish industry, where businesses have been transformed from selling into continental European markets over to Asian markets, requiring innovation in servicing new markets, new logistics and new ways of production.”
The intensive, three month programme is aimed at upscaling early-stage entrepreneurs with aquaculture innovations, and includes mentorship from a global team of experts from disciplines including aquaculture, technology, finance and marketing, and access to investors.