Agtech, analytics and AI are among the technologies being used by start-up companies from the UK, Chile, India, Canada and the US, taking part in Ireland’s first accelerator programme for aquaculture.
The three-month programme is aimed at up-scaling early-stage entrepreneurs with aquaculture innovations, and offers mentorship from global experts in aquaculture, technology, finance and marketing disciplines, along with access to investors.
Managed by Hatch, organisers of the world’s first aquaculture programme (Bergin, June 2018), this programme is supported by BIM under the European Maritime Fisheries Fund programme.
Bringing people together from diverse backgrounds and perspectives to see how they can start a new business is inspiring, remarked Jim O’Toole, BIM chief executive:
“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.”
Finding new ways to compete on the global market was critical, he added.
“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.”
Carsten Krome, Hatch chief executive said that while the aquaculture sector was niche, it still had problems to solve:
“The amount of feed needed to produce a kilogram 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 business by getting access to early stage risk capital.”
Wayne Murphy, Hatch chief operating officer believes the sector needs to start attracting more talent – not just aquaculture talent but technical talent to help solve problems in the industry.
“Hatch seeks to act as a catalyst to drive more innovation,” he said.
Accelerator start-ups on the Cork-based programme: