Nine Innovators Pitch as BioAccelerate Draws to a Close

Ben Jones
Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus

On Wednesday 5 July, nine ambitious entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to pitch to a panel of investors and industry experts at the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus. The final pitch day marked the end of the 12-week BioAccelerate programme, Wales’ first business accelerator focused on commercialising bioscience and healthcare innovations.

The programme, launched at BioWales 2018 in March, was a hands-on business accelerator helping to commercialise innovation in the bioscience and healthcare sectors across Wales. In a programme that blended workshops and one-to-one mentoring sessions, participants were given the opportunity to develop their innovations into market-ready propositions.

Dr. Rhian Hayward, Chief Executive Officer at Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus, said: “The pitches from entrepreneurs were exciting and polished. I look forward to the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus supporting these new businesses from the Mid Wales locality in their R&D endeavours.” Delivery of the programme was shared between Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus and Nurture Ventures, an investment-readiness consultancy based in Port Talbot. Jeff Bartlett, founder of Nurture Ventures, said: “There is a keen appetite for entrepreneurship and innovation in Mid Wales and the success of this accelerator is testament to that. The exciting new campus build will provide another boost for pre-startups, helping them get to their ideas off the ground.”

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, BBSRC – part of UK Research and Innovation and Aberystwyth University, the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus will offer a range of high quality facilities to support innovation, enabling commercial enterprises to grow, prosper and drive economic growth in the food and drink, bio-processing and biotechnology sectors throughout Wales and beyond.

Over the course of a packed morning, the panel – including representatives from the Development Bank of Wales and Angels Invest Wales – heard a diverse range of pitches, with innovations including an indoor vertical aeroponic farm and engineered biocarbons to mitigate against adverse and contaminated soil conditions. While investments leading from the pitches were not expected, the participants all received valuable feedback on how much investment potential their innovations or business ideas had.

One of the innovations the panel heard from was a food production system utilising the latest controlled-environment growing technology. William Stiles, co-founder at TechFarm, commented: “The BioAccelerate process has been a really beneficial experience, and has helped us to shape the vision for our business. The workshops were varied and interactive and the one-to-one mentoring sessions were very comprehensive and thorough.”

Construction on the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus development began on 2 July and aims to help companies at all stages of development in Mid Wales and beyond to realise their ambition and to grow, prosper and drive economic growth in the food and drink, bio-processing and biotechnology sectors. Office spaces and meeting rooms have been available on the site for the past year, and the business community continues to grow as more tenants move in.