Queen’s University partners with SVG Ventures for the inaugural THRIVE Europe Challenge
Queen’s University partners with SVG Ventures for the inaugural THRIVE Europe Challenge

Queen’s University has become the first UK university to partner with the leading global Agrifood Venture and Innovation Platform.

Silicon Valley-based SVG Ventures have recently launched the THRIVE Europe Challenge programme to seek out the most innovative agrifood tech startups across the continent who are solving some of the critical challenges facing the global agriculture industry.

Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Edwin Poots MLA who will take over as First Minister of Northern Ireland said, “I am delighted that an internationally renowned company such as SVG Ventures has joined with Queen’s University, Belfast, as co-marketing partners of the THRIVE Global Initiative Europe Challenge. I would encourage entrepreneurs from Northern Ireland to consider entering the Challenge, to accelerate the development of an innovation ecosystem here, as outlined in DAERA’s new Innovation strategy.”

The inaugural THRIVE Europe Challenge is a programme for early-stage European AgTech and FoodTech startups and is part of THRIVE’s Global Initiative. This initiative launched with the USDA in 2020 aims to recognise and promote early-stage startup innovators that positively impact different regions of the world. The Europe Challenge will be the fourth in the series and follows regional Challenges already held in Canada, Australia and Africa.

The Challenge is closely aligned with the European Green Deal which seeks to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 while doubling down on achieving the UN SDG’s. The Green Deal’s Farm to Fork Strategy will be central to achieving these goals.

Paul Donachy, Head of Innovation Programmes at Queen’s commented, “We’re delighted to be the first UK university to partner with SVG Ventures on the THRIVE Europe Challenge. Queen’s has an extremely strong reputation in challenge-led innovations in the agritech and foodtech sectors. Our innovation programmes including Innovate UK ICURe, EIT Food Seedbed, and most recently DigiSpark have launched countless early-stage ventures advancing innovations in food and agriculture technologies, making us well positioned to be a leading partner on the THRIVE Europe Challenge.”

Queen’s is ranked 1st in the UK as the most entrepreneurial university in 2020 and the THRIVE Europe Challenge will strengthen connections between the University and US-based partners including leading corporations in Silicon Valley.

“Our vision is to advance the future of food and agriculture through innovation and we achieve this by partnering with leading research institutions that are focused on commercialization,” said John Hartnett, Founder & CEO of SVG Ventures | THRIVE. “We look forward to working with Queen’s as we expand our THRIVE platform across Europe.”

The THRIVE Europe Challenge will support hundreds of founders over the coming months in advance of the finals on October 7th with applications closing on July 2nd.  The winner will receive the THRIVE Europe Challenge Award, recognition by SVG Ventures | THRIVE, and an invitation to pitch at the THRIVE VIII Accelerator Finals. Selected companies receive investment and the opportunity to pitch at THRIVE | Forbes Demo Day 2022 in Salinas, CA, USA. They will also get automatic acceptance as an XTC Finalist and attend a THRIVE Silicon Valley Startup Bootcamp in the summer of 2022.

About SVG Ventures | THRIVE

SVG Ventures | THRIVE is the leading global Agrifood investment and innovation platform headquartered in Silicon Valley, and comprised of top agriculture, food & technology corporations, universities, and investors. With a community of over 5,000 startups from 100 countries, the THRIVE platform invests, accelerates, and creates unparalleled access for entrepreneurs to scale globally to solve the biggest challenges facing the food and agriculture industries. SVG’s existing global partners include Media Partner Forbes and leading government, agriculture, and technology corporations such as Corteva, Driscoll’s, FCC, Kubota, Land O’Lakes, Trimble, Taylor Farms, Valmont, Yamaha Motor Ventures and Wilbur-Ellis.

Crunchbase recognizes SVG Ventures as the most active AgTech investor in the world with a portfolio count of 40 investments in the space.


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