In February 2020, a group of British agri-tech (or agtech as it is known in the U.S.) innovators packed their bags and headed to the Ag Coast of America for 5 days of non-stop immersion in the leading U.S. agtech/agri-tech ecosystem – Missouri.
“Collaboration was the word of the mission, with a packed agenda, meeting scientists, businesses, incubators, accelerators and policy-makers,” wrote Dr. Belinda Clarke, Director of Agri-TechE, the UK’s leading membership organization for agri-tech, bringing together farmers researchers and tech developers to accelerate innovation. “At every stage it was clear that collaboration was seen as the way to help build on the already strong agri-tech foundations in the greater St Louis region, and complement those in the UK.”
Home to the world’s largest concentration of plant science PhDs, the first transgenic plant, and one of the oldest Botanical Gardens in the U.S., Missouri is building a collaborative relationship with counterparts across the United Kingdom. This trade mission followed previous missions to the UK over the previous year, and a mission to Missouri led by the UK Government’s Department of International Trade (DIT) and Science and Innovation Network (SIN).
The 2020 mission was the launch of the Missouri Agri-Tech Connect Programme, which was developed and funded by the World Trade Center St. Louis, Agri-TechE, Missouri Partnership, and the British Government. Designed to bring these two world-leading agri-tech ecosystems closer together, the focus was on collaboration. Mutual investment, business expansions, job creation, innovation development, research partnerships, and sharing best practices were all a part of this latest mission.
The British Government, supported by their Hon. Consul to Missouri Mark Sutherland (who also serves as the CMO of Missouri Partnership), is actively involved in building agri-tech connections and broader business connectivity across the state of Missouri. This latest interaction built on previous work done across the UK and Missouri by many people.
British Consul General Alan Gogbashian, who joined the 2020 mission in Missouri, stated, “I believe future collaboration between the Missouri and UK agri-tech ecosystems has the potential to be exceptional and remarkable and I am keen to do all I can to support it.” Following his involvement in the mission, Consul General Gogbashian spoke to the full Missouri House of Representatives and met with Governor Parson and Lt. Governor Kehoe.
“The potential for agri-tech collaboration between business, research and policy-makers in the UK and Missouri is, indeed ‘exceptional and remarkable,’” Dr. Clarke wrote, quoting Consul General Gogbashian. “Let’s make it a reality.”
Missouri’s delegation will be in the UK this summer surrounding the St. Louis Cardinals major league baseball game in London, working to further increase collaboration across the Pond in partnership with London Tech Week, British American Business (BAB), the British Government, the U.S. Embassy, and many others. Find out more about the special relationship between the United Kingdom and Missouri here.