Date: Jun 30, 2017

IRVINE, Calif. (June 30, 2017) – In a joint effort to accelerate the development of agricultural technologies, Wells Fargo has awarded Western Growers a $30,000 grant for the second year in a row. The grant was presented at a private luncheon at the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology during the 2017 Forbes AgTech Summit on June 29.

Last summer, Western Growers received an initial grant from Wells Fargo which was used to create scholarships for start-up companies who were looking to advance their innovations by joining the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology—an agriculture technology incubator in Salinas, Calif. Past scholarship recipients include AgVoice, Ayrstone Productivity, Food Origins, Harvesting Inc, HeavyConnect, Intelligent Wireless Networks, PastureMap, Soft Robotics and Wexus Technologies.

This year’s grant will again be used to further assist entrepreneurs in bringing their technologies from development to market. Additionally, Wells Fargo, the largest banking and lending organization in the U.S. commercial agriculture sector and a leader in environmental sustainability, will continue to lend critical sector expertise as well as leverage its Foundation to help speed up commercialization for agtech startups.

“Western Growers and the Center for Innovation and Technology are most appreciative of the generous award from the Wells Fargo Foundation to support our agtech innovation efforts,” said Hank Giclas, Western Growers’ Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning, Science & Technology. “Their support will be key in providing the resources needed to support startups innovating technological solutions to the ag industry’s most pressing issues.”

Start-up companies that are awarded a scholarship will have access to a hot desk or workstation at the Center for Innovation & Technology for one year, and will receive all the benefits of being a Western Growers’ member and resident of the Center. They will have access to routine classes, workshops and networking opportunities—all designed to provide them with the business and legal 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, which will be funded through the Western Growers Foundation, will be awarded based on financial need, utility to industry, business model and market potential, among other criteria. The 2,800 square-foot Center for Innovation & Technology currently houses 38 startups and the scholarship will support 10 additional technology companies seeking to receive a coveted spot in the incubator. The Center would not be possible without sponsors and partners such as Wells Fargo.

“Wells Fargo is proud to continue its support to Western Growers and the Center for Innovation and Technology," said Ashley Grosh, Vice President and Manager of Environmental Philanthropy for Wells Fargo. "The business support and launch pad services these entrepreneurs are receiving through this program is a critical step to ensuring these important agriculture technologies have a strategic path to the commercial market."

To apply for the scholarship or to learn more about the Center for Innovation & Technology, contact Hank Giclas at hgiclas@wga.com.

Click here to download hi-res images of Wells Fargo presenting the award to Western Growers.

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 Wells Fargo CleanTech Group:
A leader in reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions and operating sustainably, Wells Fargo has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Center for Corporate Climate Leadership, the Carbon Disclosure Project and the U.S. Green Building Council. Since 2005, Wells Fargo has provided more than $52 billion in environmental finance, supporting sustainable buildings and renewable energy projects nationwide. This includes investments in more than 300 solar projects and 47 wind projects that generate enough clean renewable energy to power hundreds of thousands of American homes each year. For more information, please visit: www.wellsfargo.com/about/csr and the Wells Fargo Environmental Forum.

Wells Fargo is committed to supporting innovation and entrepreneurs to help small businesses grow. In May 2014, the company introduced Wells Fargo Works for Small Business SM, a broad initiative to deliver resources, guidance and services to help more small businesses achieve financial success. In August 2014, Wells Fargo launched The Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator, a semiannual boot camp for young companies to help commercialize ideas and begin selling effectively into the enterprise marketplace and/or the financial services vertical.

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