November 17, 2016

PRESS RELEASE: Western Growers Seeks Startups for $30,000 AgTech Scholarship

IRVINE, Calif. (November 17, 2016) – The application period opened today for Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology® (WGCIT) Scholarship Program. This is arguably the first scholarship program of its kind in that it provides the winner with residence at one of the country’s premier agtech incubators designed to assist start-up companies who are developing agricultural technologies.

“Many agtech startups would benefit from residing in the WGCIT, but not all of them are at the stage where they have the economic capacity to locate there,” said Hank Giclas, Western Growers’ senior vice president, strategic planning, science & technology. “With the help of Wells Fargo, we will be able to give start-up companies the resources they need to accelerate the development of their technologies that will be crucial in solving the ag industry’s most pressing challenges.”

The scholarship program was developed as a result of a $30,000 grant awarded to the Western Growers Foundation from Wells Fargo Bank in July to establish a scholarship fund for agtech startups. Western Growers Foundation will grant up to 10 scholarships, each worth up to $3,000. 

Each scholarship will underwrite the cost of a “hot desk” (non-reserved workstation) or defray the costs of a desk within the WGCIT for one year. Recipients will receive all the benefits of being a Western Growers’ member and resident of the Center, including access to prominent networking opportunities with leading fresh produce companies; ample exposure to agricultural-related organizations throughout California, Arizona and Colorado; training and mentorship from industry professionals, including legal, HR, insurance, financial and communications experts; routine classes and workshops designed to provide startups with the knowledge and customer connections they need to bring their technology from development to production. They will also be offered the amenities of a traditional office, including internet and phones, printers and copiers, meeting and conference rooms, and cutting-edge technology to live stream events and presentations.

Scholarships are open to any individual or company that is working on ideas or technology that will assist the fresh fruit, nut and vegetable industry to produce more food using fewer inputs and with less waste. All startups looking to apply must submit the following: 1) biographies of the management team; 2) a business plan; 3) description of the company’s desire to be in the WGCIT, technology being developed/offered and the potential benefits to the fresh produce industry; 4) proposed performance metrics to evaluate progress; and 5) a recommendation letter from a Western Growers member company. For the full scholarship requirements and additional information on how to apply, click here.

All applications must be submitted to Hank Giclas at [email protected] and received by Friday, December 30th, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. PST.

About Western Growers:
Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California and Colorado. Our members and their workers provide half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including half of America’s fresh organic produce. For generations we have provided variety and healthy choices to consumers. Connect with and learn more about Western Growers on our Twitter and Facebook

About Western Growers Foundation:
Western Growers Foundation is a movement of agriculture leaders working with educators to inspire our next generations of farmers. Western Growers Foundation is focused on delivering science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and standards-based lessons to nurture children’s natural curiosity in areas related to farming and agriculture. Since its inception in 1995, Western Growers Foundation has funded more than 1,000 school gardens in California and Arizona. The Foundation has a 90 percent success rate in keeping these gardens operating at the local level. As leader in the school garden movement, the Foundation’s mission is to plant and sustain a fruit and vegetable garden in every willing Arizona and California school.