The Radicle Inclusion Challenge is a $1.5 million initiative by Nutrien and Radicle Growth to fund early-stage agtech companies.
AgTech Biotech Plant Science

Radicle Inclusion Challenge: Igniting Innovation in Agtech

In a world where technology is rapidly reshaping the landscape of agriculture and food production, initiatives promoting innovation and inclusion are valuable and necessary. The Radicle Inclusion Challenge presented by Nutrien is a prime example of an initiative to drive innovation while fostering diversity and inclusion in the agtech sector.

Nutrien, recognized as the world’s largest crop inputs and services provider, has partnered with Radicle Growth, a company-building platform focused on nurturing early-stage ag and food start-ups, to launch the Radicle Inclusion Challenge. The primary goal of this challenge is to identify and fund promising early-stage food and agtech companies that are not only dedicated to innovation but also committed to diversity and inclusion, ultimately advancing a sustainable food value chain.

In an industry characterized by traditional practices, embracing innovative technologies ensures a more efficient, sustainable, and productive agricultural sector. However, the innovation journey can be riddled with challenges, and certain groups, including women and underrepresented minorities, often face barriers in accessing the necessary capital and resources to bring their innovative ideas to fruition. The Radicle Inclusion Challenge addresses this disparity by providing a platform for these voices to be heard and supported.

The 2023 Radicle Inclusion Challenge has attracted significant attention, with over 190 applications submitted from 40 countries across the globe. From this competitive pool, four finalists have been chosen to present their innovative solutions at a pitch day event held at the Women in Agribusiness Summit in Nashville, Tennessee, on September 28th.

These finalists include:

  1. FarmSense: Founded in 2016, FarmSense has developed groundbreaking technology that simplifies pest management for farmers. Their FlightSensor™ technology provides real-time insect counts and classifications, enabling timely crop and pest control decision-making.
  2. PheroSyn: PheroSyn focuses on sustainable “green chemistry” to produce complex insect pheromones that aid in monitoring crop pests. Providing distributors with these pheromones contributes to more effective pest management in agriculture and horticulture.
  3. Reazent: Reazent’s innovative agri-biological technology platform offers sustainable alternatives to synthetic agrochemicals. Using specific Plant Growth Promoting Bacteria strains enhances plant growth and crop protection effects, promoting more eco-friendly agricultural practices.
  4. Vitiport: Vitiport is working on developing marking pheromones that act as sprayable zero-residue products, preventing pests from laying eggs on crops. These products are designed to have minimal impact on farmers’ health and the environment.

The finalists of the Radicle Inclusion Challenge aren’t just competing for recognition; they’re vying for two significant US$750,000 investments that can provide the financial boost needed to take their innovations to the next level. In addition to the monetary support, the winners will benefit from collaboration opportunities with senior executives from Radicle Growth and Nutrien. Moreover, they’ll gain access to Radicle’s company-building platform, which can offer valuable insights, mentorship, and guidance as they navigate the complexities of growing their start-ups.

Noralee Bradley, Nutrien’s Executive Vice President for External Affairs and Chief Sustainability and Legal Officer, emphasizes that the Radicle Inclusion Challenge is a means of shedding light on the untapped potential within diverse groups in agriculture. By providing these innovators visibility and resources, the challenge aims to drive much-needed awareness about the significant contributions that often go unrecognized.

Kirk Haney, Managing Partner at Radicle Growth, points out that the challenge identifies promising entrepreneurs and contributes to data-driven market intelligence on diversity and inclusion within the agtech sector. This valuable insight can help drive systemic change and further fuel innovation in this industry.

The Radicle Inclusion Challenge presented by Nutrien is a beacon of hope and progress in agtech. By recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion in driving innovation, Nutrien and Radicle Growth are investing in individual start-ups and paving the way for a more sustainable and inclusive future for agriculture. As the challenge unfolds on September 28th at the Women in Agribusiness Summit, all eyes will be on the innovative solutions and voices reshaping the agtech landscape for the better.

Image provided by Nutrien

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