Irish AgTech start-up Agricultural Magnetics, t/a MagGrow, has won two Awards at the 2016 Innovation Arena Awards, held at the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Tullamore, Co. Offaly.

The company won the Sustainable Agriculture Start-up Award and the Best Competitive Pitch Award. The 2016 Innovation Arena Awards recognise innovative agri-tech capability and new product development in the agriculture sector.

The winners of the Gold Medal Awards, sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Irish Farmers Journal and the National Ploughing Association (NPA), were announced by Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

MagGrow is a pioneering magnetic spraying technology which reduces drift by up to 80% while at the same time delivering superior coverage by using fine droplets, a key challenge of conventional drift reduction technologies.

The company, founded in 2013 by Gary Wickham, Derek Wickham and David Moore, is headquartered at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, and currently employs a staff of 12 people.

Gary Wickham, CEO MagGrow said, “We are truly delighted to have won the Sustainable Agriculture Start-up Award and the Best Competitive Pitch Award at the 2016 National Ploughing Championships. It is a great testimony to the dedication of the MagGrow team in the development of our ground-breaking technology that has significant transformational benefits for the arable and horticultural sectors.”

He added, “The world’s population is estimated to grow to over 9 billion by 2050 so the demand for food and water will increase dramatically but by using current farming methods we will simply not meet this demand. We have to find better and more sustainable ways to grow and this is where MagGrow fits in.”

Denis Duggan, Enterprise Ireland said, “Enterprise Ireland has added a significant international dimension to the Innovation Arena this year with inward buyer visits from more than 15 countries including the US, Canada, Australia, China, Germany, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Poland, South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia. The Innovation Arena is a strong reflection of the great possibilities that lie in the agricultural sector and we look forward to working with the Award winners as they start, innovate and scale their businesses, growing exports and creating jobs at home in Ireland.”

A record 195 applications to exhibit at the 2016 Innovation Arena were received with 68 exhibitors selected, all of whom are finalists in the Awards competition. Of these, eight are spin-out research projects, 12 are established companies and 48 are new start-up entrepreneurial led exhibits.

The total prize fund for this year’s Award winners is in excess of €70,000. This includes a top prize worth over €15,000 to the overall winner which was won by Eurotec Designs, winner of the Agri-Engineering Start-Up category Award.

Earlier this year MagGrow was named winner of the 2016 Thrive Accelerator Sustainability Award, at the 2nd annual Forbes AgTech Summit held in Salinas, California.

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