As the world slowly emerges from COVID-19 and grapples with continuing issues in the labour market, supply chains and geopolitics, economic bright spots have emerged—and Saskatchewan is uniquely positioned to capitalize on those opportunities. Saskatchewan’s tech sector is going from strength to strength, with innovative founders establishing companies that garner both attention and cash from within the province and across North America. Cultivator powered by Conexus (Cultivator) has proudly played a role in this growth, along with Conexus Venture Capital Inc. and its agtech-focused fund, Emmertech, helping to build a vibrant, dynamic and modern economic driver for the province and the country.
Now, the moment has arrived to take on the world.
Across the pond
With the launch of AGTECH ACCELERATOR program last June and a partnership with Innovate UK in November 2021—plus Saskatchewan’s reputation as an agribusiness powerhouse—it’s time to unleash our agtech expertise to buyers and investors from around the globe.
A team of representatives from Cultivator, Emmertech, Economic Development Regina (EDR), Saskatchewan Trade & Export Partnership (STEP) along with founders made a trip across the Atlantic to the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit in London, UK this September. The welcome to the United Kingdom was a warm one.
“The launch of the AGTECH ACCELERATOR set the stage for our rise in international business, and the partnership with Innovate UK opened even more doors,” says Jordan McFarlen, Incubator Manager at Cultivator. “With that early heavy lifting done, we’re well-positioned to collaborate on the international stage. While in London, we learned that Saskatchewan is well-known for agtech and many people want to do business with us.”
The summit and meetings at Canada House through the High Commission of Canada, built many new connections for AGTECH ACCELERATOR startups in the United Kingdom as well as into Europe, New Zealand and the United States. “We learned many places have the issues our startups are working on—things like reducing emissions and improving sustainability. With the early cohort 1 success, including $9.84 million in revenue generated and $21.9 million in private capital raised by companies, our agtech sector is just scratching the surface of the opportunities available and we can’t wait to see what happens next,” says McFarlen.
Step it up
STEP, the champion for Saskatchewan’s export industry as well as the Market Expansion in-residence partner at Cultivator, was also encouraged by the opportunities presented in London. “We know the importance of connecting our agtech industry with those partners and networks abroad,” says Jeff Cooper, Senior Director, Manufacturing & Technology at STEP.
STEP is the province’s export promotion agency and offers services to Saskatchewan companies looking to develop markets outside of province. “Our province has an excellent reputation on the world stage as a stable and secure place to take part in business offering high-quality goods and services,” says Cooper. “We have always been innovators with lots of good ideas. Now, we have a new edge in agtech to take to the world.”
Andrew Doan, Trade Specialist, Manufacturing & Technology at STEP, works directly with Cultivator companies looking to expand their market presence outside Saskatchewan. “Like Cultivator, we’re here to help Saskatchewan businesses grow on the world stage and we work with tech startups to make that happen,” says Doan. “Cultivator is here to help build the companies, and we’re here to help take them to the world.”
Just the beginning
In just one trade mission, Cultivator, Emmertech, EDR, STEP and tech founders have had a glimpse at the possibilities, and they seem endless. Now, it’s time to take that scrappy entrepreneurial spirit, solid well-earned reputation, innovative thinking, and head out into the world waiting anxiously to do business with us.