Head of Rural
Strutt & Parker is supporting the development of two entrepreneurial businesses which we believe will make a significant difference to farming.
We are delighted to sponsor the development of a farm safety app and a business providing a label of quality for farms in the process of becoming organic.
During the course of this academic year, we partnered the Royal Agricultural University’s (RAU) Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programme to sponsor their Grand Idea competition – for which students pitched their business plans in a Dragons’ Den-style contest – and fund the launch of a new alumni award, Grow It, for business start-ups delivered by recent graduates.
We sponsored the programme because it aligns perfectly with Strutt & Parker and the BNP Paribas Group’s commitment to making a positive impact on society and the economy through supporting entrepreneurs and young people. It nurtures innovative and enterprising talent in the rural sector and provides an exciting environment in which ambitious ideas can flourish.
Alex Dunn scooped the inaugural Grow It award with her innovative farm safety app, Farm Pack, which last year helped her win the Farmers Weekly Agricultural Student of the Year title as well as last year’s Grand Idea competition.
Alex told us: “Poor health and safety in agriculture is a deep-rooted problem that needs a solution. This app would help to protect staff and visitors by changing attitudes towards health and safety and promoting best practice. Winning RAU’s Grow It award is going to make such a difference to my business. It has given me the funds needed to develop the technology required to make a difference to agriculture.”
Alex was a very obvious winner of the Grow It award. She is an impressive young businesswoman who clearly has a bright future ahead. She is developing a very exciting business which we think will make a considerable difference to health and safety in farming. She is an ambassador for both her generation and women in agriculture.
This year’s Grand Idea winner was Constantin Huet, a third year real estate student from Switzerland. He found success with his company Pre-O, a new badge of quality for farms undergoing the lengthy transition to becoming fully organic. Pre-organic foods will be able to charge a slightly higher price than non-organic, giving the consumer greater choice and increasing financial stability for farms during the transition period. It is hoped his business will encourage farmers to convert to organic agriculture, leading to more sustainable farming.
Constantin said: “Our revolutionary business model, unlike other agricultural certification schemes, does not charge farmers. Farmers subscribe free of any charge - no strings attached. Pre-O is beneficial to the consumer who perhaps can’t pay regularly for high-end organic produce, and beneficial to the farmer who is in the 'organic-transition' period yet suffering from non-organic prices. Until now, no outright 'pre-organic' offering has existed in the food market. We are making that change.”
We believe Constantin’s business will ease and encourage the transition to organic farming for many, providing a degree of stability during the process, more choice for consumers and leading to more sustainability in farming in the long term.
We were hugely impressed by the excellence of the candidates and thoroughly enjoyed meeting some of them at the awards dinner. Sponsoring the enterprise programme has been a wonderful opportunity to support high calibre students at the outset of their careers and we look forward to watching them progress their businesses.
(Picture credits: Mikal Ludlow)